With regard to the reply that has been sent by Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) President Lasitha Gunaratne over the article published on Daily Mirror newspaper dated November 18, 2019 titled ‘SLR in shambles after stubborn President’s support to Japan’, the writer would like to make it very clear that no attempt was ever made to tarnish his name.
Gunaratne has stated that the first paragraph of the story is ‘completely false’ and that the decision to support the Japanese nominee for the Asia Rugby Presidency was a decision made by the Ex-Co, indicating that he had never influenced it.
However, as per the minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting of the SLR 2018/2020 held on Friday 21st November 2019 at 6 p.m at the Meeting Room, SLR Head Office, No 33, Torrington Place, Colombo 7, Gunaratne apologized to the Committee over his wrong judgment to support Japanese candidate at a time that the U.A.E candidate had 18 out of the 28 countries signed to support.
The minutes read “Mr. Lasitha Gunaratne apologized for the wrong judgment as he was confident that the Japanese Representative would win the elections.” It is hard for Daily Mirror to understand why Gunaratne should apologize to the Ex-Co for a decision that he claims to have been taken collectively.
Daily Mirror also used the word ‘stubborn’ to elaborate the manner in which the decisions had been made by Gunaratne and the minutes clearly indicate how his fellow office bearers felt about his decision.
The minutes further reads that a certain office bearer of the SLR stated during the meeting that “when we are a council that the President cannot take decisions on his own as it has to be a collective decision.”
Daily Mirror as the leading newspaper in Sri Lanka would not compile stories without proof and it is very confusing that Gunaratne says SLR ‘maintains good relationship with all rugby playing nations in Asia’ when the letter from the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation clearly sounds otherwise.
Although there is no need for Daily Mirror to publish the said document in the face of someone’s letter, as a media institution of highest transparency, Daily Mirror has carried the letter from the United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation so that the readers can clearly understand the SLR’s ‘good relationship’ with the UAE’.
Gunaratne’s also makes some ridiculous claims about the Daily Mirror trying to contact him via Whatsapp at a time he was abroad.
Daily Mirror at no point carry one-sided stories as the paper believes that the readers should be able to see both the sides of a story, which is why Daily Mirror made attempts to contact him on his mobile only to learn he was abroad and that led to making an effort to contact him on Whatsapp.
Daily Mirror sent him a message via Whatsapp on November 17 asking for a possible way of contacting him which was delivered to him immediately and Whatsapp indicates that he read it 17 minutes later, but decided not to respond. However, Gunaratne who appears to disregard Whatsapp, did make an attempt to contact the same journalist via Whatsapp on August 13 at 2.16p.m asking about a story published on the same newspaper about a leading hospital.
The beautiful thing about modern technology is that sometimes you cannot lie.
Finally, Gunaratne says that Daily Mirror should have made an attempt to contact other officials of SLR over a decision that he has now ‘apologized’ for, but now having read the minutes published on Daily Mirror, Gunaratne would surely know that the paper certainly has contacted some official from the
SLR this time around. Daily Mirror leaves it to their readers to decide if the original article is indeed factually incorrect, as claimed by Gunaratne, or not.