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Mawbima

Mawbima is a popular daily and weekly (Mawbima – Sunday Edition) Sinhala language newspaper that publishes local, international, sports and entertainment news. It was founded by Democratic National Alliance (DNA) MP and businessman Tiran Alles, who also founded the English language paper Ceylon Today.

When launching the paper in 2006 under Standard Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, an intellectual property case was brought against it by the Communist Party of Sri Lanka. The party claimed that it shared the same name as the party’s official newspaper published in 1950. However, the Supreme Court suspended the petition on the grounds that the party’s newspaper had not been published in ten years and the plaintiff, Weliwita Arachchige Dharmadasa, was not the registered owner of the newspaper. The petitioner eventually withdrew the petition.

Over the course of its publication, Mawbima’s editorial and ownership interests have been questioned by several politicians. For instance, Mawbima was reportedly discredited for its open criticism of the former government. Its journalists and editors were interrogated and bank accounts frozen, leading to the closure of the paper in 2007. Several media-related groups, including Reporters without Borders, Free Media Movement and Humans Rights Watch condemned the government’s actions. Mawbima resumed publication under Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 2011.

In 2014, current Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya reportedly filed a case against the paper, claiming its editors were intentionally publishing defamatory content. Current Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka also filed a similar case against the paper, but withdrew the case in 2018.

Key facts

Audience Share

7.96%

Ownership Type

Private

Geographic Coverage

National

Content Type

Paid Content

Data Publicly Available

ownership data is easily available from other sources, e. g. public registries etc.

2 ♥

Media Companies / Groups

Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited

Ownership

Ownership Structure

Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited is owned by Tiran Prasanna Alles, Apogee International (Pvt) Limited, Mallikage Lihil Subhash and Dewathanthriarachige Chinthaka Gayan own minor shares. While Tiran Alles owns 49.99 percent of direct shares, Apogee International (Pvt) Limited owns another 49.99 percent. Apogee International (Pvt) Limited is owned by Tiran Alles and Ramantha Alles in a 50:50 ownership ratio. The company
provides business solutions to Sri Lanka's corporate sector. Their services range from telecommunications and security, to power, energy and construction.

Voting Rights

Shareholders vote by the use of voice or a show of hands. In a vote including the directors, each director is entitled to a single vote.

Individual Owner

Media Companies / Groups
Facts

General Information

Founding Year

2006

Affiliated Interests Founder

Mawbima was initially launched in 2006 under Standard Newspapers (Pvt) Limited which started its operation in 2005 but was soon shut down. Mawbima's publication resumed under Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 2011.

Affiliated Interests Ceo

Tiran Prasanna Christopher Alles, also referred to as Tiran Alles, is the founder of Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited and the CEO of Mawbima. He is a parliamentarian from the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and the former Chairperson of the Civil Aviation Authority and Reconstruction and Development Authority (RADA). Having started Communication Business Equipment (Pvt) Limited in 1988, Standard Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 2005 and Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 2011, Tiran is also a well-known businessman.

Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief

Bennett Rupasinghe is the current Editor in Chief and former Lanka-e-News Editor who was arrested by the government in 2011 for allegedly threatening a man linked to an arson attack. He was subsequently released and his arrest was widely criticised by Amnesty International. Lanka-e-news is a website that has been blocked by both the previous and incumbent government. Its office was set on fire in January 2011 and its staff reportedly remain concerned about their security.

Affiliated Interests other important people

Ramantha Alles – is the Executive Director of Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited and its parent company, Apogee Holdings (Pvt) Limited. Apogee Holdings (Pvt) Limited holds 49.99 percent of shares in Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited. Ramantha is the son of Tiran Alles, the founder and the owner of Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited and Apogee Holdings (Pvt) Limited.

Contact

Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited

No. 101, Rosmead Place, Colombo 7.

General: +94 117 566 566

Editorial : +94 117 566 502, +94 117 566 506, +94 117 566 527

Email : mbnews@ceylonnewspapers.lk

Website: mawbima.lk

Financial Information

Revenue (in Mill. $)

Missing Data

Operating Profit (in Mill. $)

Missing Data

Advertising (in % of total funding)

Missing Data

Market Share

Missing Data

Further Information

Meta Data

The official website of Mawbima does not provide details about its founder, board of directors or its general organisational structure. It also does not refer to the two companies under which the paper was published in 2006 and 2011. The LinkedIn profile of Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited provides the company's founding year as 2011, which is presumably when Mawbima resumed its publication. Moreover, Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited does not have an official website. Therefore, publicly available secondary sources were referenced. Information on the current shareholders was gathered through the annual returns available at the Department of Registrar of Companies. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to Ceylon Newspapers (Pvt) Limited by formally requesting for the company’s information on 20 July 2018, the company did not respond to the aforementioned request. MOM team met with two editors at Ceylon Today, on 19 September 2018, who have been very helpful in providing information on the context of media ownership in Sri Lanka as well as contacts and insights into the media industry. Readership data was obtained from the Kantar Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017.

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