Lanka C News
Lanka C News is a Sinhala language website that publishes both political and non-political news. While the ownership of the website remains unknown, academic and press reports widely consider the website’s ownership to be affiliated with the Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF), Wimal Weerawansa. In 2017, the Groundviews newspaper filed a Right To Information (RTI) with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) in order to determine the reasons behind websites that had been blocked from January 2015 to November 2017. The respective RTI revealed that from a total of 13 websites, 4 websites, including Lanka C News, had been blocked for “publishing incorrect information and damaging the President’s reputation”.
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Wimal Weerawansa is a Member of Parliament and the Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF). Prior to this, he was a member of the left-leaning party, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). Within parliament, he is involved in the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Sustainable Development and Environment and Natural Resources and Ministerial Consultative Committee on Defence. Academia and press reports either confirm that he is the owner of Lanka C News, or note that he is closely affiliated with the website. However, MOM team was unable to find a direct link between the outlet and Wimal Weerawansa.
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Lanka C News does not provide details related to its founder, founding year, ownership structure or sufficient contact details for inquires. As such, the MOM research team cited secondary sources. While several news sites and blog posts directly mentioned Wimal Weerawansa as the owner, the credibility of these sources remains questionable. The MOM research team cited two academic publications and two press reports as examples of the existing discussion around Lanka C News’ ownership. Author and Professor Nira Wickramasinghe mentions Wimal Weerawansa as the owner of the website. Meanwhile, Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri states that the website is operated by the supporters of Wimal Weerawansa. The state-owned newspaper, the Sunday Observer, wrote that Lanka C News is “owned and operated by Wimal Weerawansa”, while the Sunday Times stated that the website was “known to be run by him [Wimal Weerawansa]”. Owing to the lack of credible information, the MOM team did not cite an owner.