For over two decades I have worked as a journalist and editor with international experience managing newspaper content and operations. As an editor, I have developed the skills and am an expert in managerial and leadership which includes editing, communication skills, excellent writing skills, good organization, editorial insight and vision. My special expertise as a journalist has been in investigative reporting, with emphasis on human rights, political and economic conflict and corruption.
My background includes interacting with local and regional government officials and politicians at the highest level, diplomats, and business leaders. I am familiar with reporting from conflict zones in Sri Lanka. Having covered the ethnic conflict extensively from battle zones in the North and East of Sri Lanka for over two decades. On numerous occasions, I have been a guest speaker at International forums invited to give my opinion on issues of media freedom in Sri Lanka.
In 2006 I was contracted by the World Bank to author a book titled ‘The Consequences of Another War in Sri Lanka’. The book was published and sold in bookshops in Sri Lanka and used for the purposes of research by the World Bank.
In 2004 I was hired by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to produce three television documentaries with a focus on domestic violence against women, internally displaced persons, and sexual harassment.
As Editor-in-Chief of ‘The Sunday Leader’ newspaper in Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2012 I determined content for each and every issue. I developed and researched new story ideas. I wrote editorial, investigative, political articles and columns for publication. Assisted in performing research on reports and developed advertorials for departments. I managed all aspects of production such as preparing editorial and providing customer services. I scheduled a budget for publication and ensured compliance to same. I coordinated with publisher and developed editorial calendar and developed strategies for generating revenue. I participated in various trade shows and conferences as required.
I lived in Sri Lanka for more than four decades during which time I worked actively as a journalist and editor for 25 years. I believe it is extremely important to have not only accurate but also up-to-date information regarding risk factors for Sri Lankan asylum seekers. Where possible, I try and use as much information as possible from on-the-record interviews.
In 2012, I was forced to leave Sri Lanka and seek political asylum in the USA following a series of threats to my life, which included my being hounded by Sri Lanka’s then Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. I left when my lawyers informed me that my passport was to be impounded and I was facing a jail term with relation to legal action brought against me by Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a politically motivated law suit where he went on record on Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry website calling attorney’s appearing on my behalf “terrorists”. The incident resulted in the International Bar Association issuing a formal statement insisting Mr. Rajapaksa withdraw his comments. I was also being followed home by unidentifiable men, on motorbikes in what appeared to be a repeat of incidents, which led to the assassination of my colleague and former Editor-in-Chief of ‘The Sunday Leader’ newspaper, Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunge.
My persecution in Sri Lanka by the then government led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was as a result of my work and investigative reports in ‘The Sunday Leader’ newspaper and on television caught the attention of the world media and international human rights organizations. Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and PEN International has consistently during my tenure as a journalist and editor issued statements condemning state sponsored threats to my life and government persecution.
I have on numerous occasions been called to give evidence in Sri Lanka’s courts. The most significant was the case involving former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka in what became publicly known as, ‘The White Flag Case’ where I was the key witness. General Sarath Fonseka was found guilty of all charges and received an extended jail term of three years in this case.