Lankadeepa Online is a Sinhala language news site that is operated by one of the largest publishing houses in the country, Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Several news items that are published in the print editions of the weekly and daily Lankadeepa newspapers are replicated on the online site. The site therefore differs from the e-paper which requires a subscription fee to access the content. Lankadeepa Online provides content under several themes including politics, economics, business, sports and entertainment. There is no data on online readership of Lankadeepa.
Media Companies / Groups
Wijeya Newspapers Limited
The Wijewardene family is the majority of shareholder of Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Ranjit Wijewardene, Sujan Wijewardene, Ruwan Wijewardene, Irushi Neela Bulathsinhala and Ranjini Wijewardene collectively own 99.98 percent of the company. Meanwhile, Sarathi Limited, a company affiliated with the Wijeya Group of Companies, also holds shares at Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Besides members of the Wijewardene family, Anandi Balasingham owns a lesser percentage of shares at Wijeya Newspapers Limited. However, Anandi Balasingham serves as the Estate Administrator for Sarathi Limited which, as stated above, is affiliated with the Wijeya Group of Companies.
Voting rights have been assigned based on the shares held by an individual or company. Therefore, the voting rights are as follows: Ranjith Wijewardena – 89.99%, Sujan Wijewardene – 10%, Ruwan Wijewardene – 0.002%, Irushi Neela Bulathsinhala – 0.002%, Ranjini Neela Wijewardene – 0.002%, Sarathi Limited – 0.002%, Anandi Balasingham – 0.002%
Affiliated Interests Founder
Lankadeepa Online was founded under Wijeya Newspapers Limited, which was founded by Ranjit Wijewardene. Ranjit Wijewardene, also referred to as Ranjit Wijewardene, is the son of Sri Lankan media proprietor D.R. Wijewardene, who founded the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL, also known as Lake House) in 1926, prior to its nationalisation under Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s government in 1973. Ranjit serves as the founding Chairperson and majority shareholder of Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Although the company was formed in 1979 under the name of Wijeya Publications Limited, it started publishing the weekly Irida Lankadeepa newspaper in 1986, and shortly afterwards, the daily Lankadeepa newspaper in 1991. Ranjit also holds 0.57 percent of shares at the ANCL. In addition to holding the position of a Chairperson at Wijeya Newspapers Limited, Ranjith also serves as the Chairperson and Managing Director at Lake House Printers & Publishers Ltd., Chairperson at Lake House Bookshop Pvt Ltd., Chairperson at LH Plantations Pvt Ltd., Chairperson at Ranweli Holiday Village Ltd., Chairperson at Sarathi Ltd., Chairperson at Stamford Lake (Pvt) Ltd., Chairperson at Wijeya Graphics Pvt Ltd., and President at the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka. Ranjith is also on the Board of Directors at Freudenberg & Co. (Ceylon) Ltd. and R.S. Printek Pvt Ltd.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Ranjit Sujiva Wijewardene is the Chaiperson of Wijeya Newspapers Limited, the publisher of Lankadeepa Online. See above for more.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
Ariyananda Dombagahawatta – is currently the Chief Editor for the weekly Irida Lankadeepa. In addition, Ariyananda serves as a board member at the Sri Lanka Press Council, a body that has been disputed by the press (LINK), which falls under the purview of the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media. In 2009, members of the Free Media Movement, Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance, the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka and the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) collectively demanded the removal of Dombagahawatta from the council, alleging that he had been politically appointed. Dombagahawatta’s political affiliations with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa have been questioned in press publications. On the other hand, Ariyananda has been recognised with awards in the field of journalism.
Siri Ranasinghe – is the Chief Editor at the daily Lankadeepa and concurrently serves as a Director at Wijeya Newspapers Limited. He is also a member of the board at the Press Complaints Commission Sri Lanka (PCCL). In addition, Siri is considered to be an initiator of the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka. As per his role in Lankadeepa, he is accredited with resurrecting the newspaper in 1986 as Irida Lankadeepa. Previously Siri served as a journalist for the state-owned Dinamina newspaper.
Affiliated Interests other important people
Premakeerthi Ranathunga – Associate Editor at Irida Lankadeepa
P.B. Elangasingha and Prasanna Sanjeewa Thennakoon – Deputy Editors at Irida Lankadeepa
Shantha Kumara Vithana – Features Editor at Irida Lankadeepa
Indrani Peiris and A.A. Lionel Perera – Associate Editors at Lankadeepa
Chandrika Wijesundara – Associated Editor at Lankadeepa
U. Hennayaka – Deputy Editor (Features) at Lankadeepa
W.G. Goonarathne – Provincial Editor at Lankadeepa
Daminda Wijesuriya – Sports Editor at Lankadeepa
Samantha Yahampath – Features Editor at Lankadeepa
Gamini Abeysekara – Pictures Editor at Lankadeepa
Revenue (in Mill. $)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
Information on the thematic content of Lankadeepa Online was documented directly from the respective website. However, Lankadeepa Online and the official website of Wijeya Newspapers Limited do not provide details about its founder, board of directors or its organisational structure. As such, publicly available secondary sources were referenced to obtain the aforementioned information. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to Wijeya Newspapers Limited by formally requesting for the company’s information on 20 July 2018, the company responded to the aforementioned request on 17 August 2018. From the response received, the team referenced this document for information on the organisational structure. Shareholder details were gathered from the Department of Registrar of Companies.