The Sinhala language weekly and daily Divaina newspapers are published under Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited. The daily Island, Sunday Island, Vidusara and Navaliya function as Divaina's sister publications. Divaina publishes news under the themes of domestic politics, foreign news, sports and entertainment. Divaina weekly reaches 6.88 percent of the readers whereas Divaina daily has a readership of 1.25 percent. Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited was founded by Upali Wijeywardene and is currently managed by Nimal Welgama, who serves as the Managing Director.
Media Companies / Groups
Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited
99.99 percent of Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited is owned by Upali Investment Holdings Limited while the remaining 0.01 percent is owned by an individual named Murugiah Ramalingam. Presently, Upali Investment Holdings Limited is managed by the Welgama family. Lakmani Welgama owns 90.52 percent of the company, while her husband and current Managing Director of Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited Nimal Welgama owns 2.74 percent. In total, the Welgama family own 94 % of the company. Due to the majority ownership of the company, the Welgama family has majority control on the activities of Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited. The remaining 6% of the company is owned by 102 minority shareholders.
Group / Individual Owner
While the Welgama family owns 94 percent of shares at Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, through Upali Investment Holdings Limited 102 other minority shareholders own 6 percent of Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited.
1981 – Irida (Sunday) Divaina Sangrahaya / 1982 – Divaina daily newspaper
Affiliated Interests Founder
Upali Wijewardene founded Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited in 1978. In 1981, the company launched the Sunday editions of the Divaina and The Island. Upali’s family has a long history of being closely affiliated with the print media in the country. For instance, Upali’s cousin Ranjit Wijewardene founded Wijeya Newspapers Limited and serves as the current Chairperson. In 1983, Upali Wijewardene was legally declared deceased when his private jet disappeared on a home-bound flight from Malaysia, shortly after take-off.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Nimal Welgama is the current Managing Director of Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited. Nimal is married to Lakmani Welgama (nee Ratwatte), widow of Upali Wijewardene. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Seevali Ratwatte, who served as the Chairperson of the Upali Group of newspapers. Nimal Welgama's brother Kumara Welgama is a Member of the Parliament with the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
Wasantha Liyanage – became the Editor-In-Chief of the daily Divaina newspaper after the resignation of Jayantha Chandrasiri. Wasantha Liyanage's brother, Lal Liyanage, currently serves as the Distribution Manager of Divaina. Concurrently, Wasantha Liyanage is part of the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Press Association (SLPA).
Anura Solomons – is a journalist who was appointed as the Editor-In-Chief of the weekly Sunday Divaina newspaper. He served as the Presidential Advisor for Conflict Resolution under the former Rajapaksa government.
Affiliated Interests other important people
Manoj Abeydeera – is the Deputy Editor of the weekly Sunday Divanina newspaper
Hemantha Randunu – is the Deputy Editor of the weekly Divanina newspaper
Revenue (in Mill. $)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
The official website of the Divaina newspaper does not provide any details about its founder, board of directors or its organisational structure. Moreover, Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited does not have an official website. As such, publicly available secondary sources were referenced. Information on the shareholders was gathered through the annual returns available at the Department of Registrar of Companies. The most recently available data on ownership and the board of directors was for the year 2017. Readership data was obtained from the Kantar Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited by formally requesting for the company’s information on 20 July 2018, the company did not respond to the aforementioned request.