Death of veteran journalist Chulawansa Sirilal | Sunday Observer

Death of veteran journalist Chulawansa Sirilal

Veteran journalist Chulawansa Sirilal died after brief illness on Saturday. He was 68-years old and coincidentally, his birthday fell on Saturday.

Chulawansa was also a leading media and democratic activist.

He campaigned for safeguarding democracy and freedom in Sri Lanka.

He played a key role in journalists’ struggles to safeguard the freedom of the press and safety of the journalists whenever the media freedom came under threats during different regimes over the last few decades.

His role as the Convener of the Free Media Movement during a very challenging period for the media freedom in Sri Lanka has been highly appreciated.

Chulawansa began his journalism career from Aththa newspaper published by the Communist Party of Sri Lanka in the 1970s and thereafter, served in Lankadeepa, Yukthiya and Ravaya newspapers.

As an activist, he played a key role to change the UNP government in 1994 and following the government change, he was offered the post of Media Secretary to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. But he served in that post only for a brief period and again went back to his preferred career.

This time, when the media came under severe threat, he joined hands with the United National Party and worked to protect media freedom and the safety of the media personnel.

Born in Kelaniya, Chulawansa studied at the Gamini Maha Vidyalaya, Sedwatta. He later moved to Wickremesinghepura, Battaramulla. Despite his illnesses, Chulawansa continued to work as a journalist freelancing for several media organisations. By the time of his death, he was serving as the editor of the Lankapress News Agency.

Chulawansa had a vast experience as a Parliament and political correspondent. He was always ready to help other journalists and was keen to share his experience with the budding journalists.

He is survived by his wife Kanthi, daughter Charmie Bamunusingha Arachchi Attanayaka who is a medical doctor domiciled in Canada and son Ranga Sirilal who serves as senior journalist at the Reuters news agency in Sri Lanka.

His remains are lying at 19/2 A, 1st Lane, Wickremesinghepura, Battaramulla.

The funeral will be on Monday 5.30 pm at the Borella crematorium.