As the dust was settling after the political earthquake on February 10th 2018, and even during the campaign, what was most conspicuous by its absence were the NGO-media.
In the run up to the 2015 presidential election which saw incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa toppled by an internal coup, and later in the 2015 general election which followed it, this NGO-media force worked extremely hard to shape the perceptions around Rajapaksa and his government.
Aided by the relatively insufficient, slow, and unsophisticated responses of the Rajapaksa government, the NGO-media were able to rapidly sow ethnic divisions, stoke racial tensions, and spread all kinds of unbelievable allegations of corruption and murder against the Rajapaksa government and even against his family members.
It is now with the same mendacity that they have re-emerged, one day after the full results of the elections were released.
No doubt, they had spent all of the 11th February 2018 plotting with their foreign paymasters and strategists about how to proceed. A key political creator and dissseminator of Sri Lanka’s very own #FakeNewsMedia was Mangala Samaraweera.
His outburst on the 12th of February, where he said it was the “duty” of the UNP was to prevent Rajapaksa’s return to power (rather than to develop the country), indicated how this Fake News elite was going to respond.
The attack which followed was a direct assault on Sri Lanka’s democracy and its people’s choice of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s SLPP to form the government of Sri Lanka.
The attack came less than 48 hours after the election, while the media was focusing on last-ditch efforts of Sirisena and Ranil to save their sinking regime.
Precisely on cue the main culprits who formed the electronic cyber-warfare division of the anti-Rajapaksa coup plotters burst forth in a well orchestrated and coordinated attack, which as usual unfolded on Twitter.
First came the key tweet:
Muslim Council of Sri Lanka writes to @PoduJanaPeramun Chairman G.L. Pierissaying Pohottuwacadres are suspected of causing violence in a few Muslim villages in Kandy, Kalutara; urges GL to request supporters to stop causing hatred and violence @cmev #LGpollSL pic.twitter.com/ybY2zJ3ECH
— dharisha(@tingilye) 12 February 2018
Then came the coordinated followups:
Disturbing & disgusting. Less than 48hrs for Islamophobia to raise its head again after #LGpollSL election. This is what @PresRajapaksa, @RajapaksaNamal & their ilk countenance. It’s like we’ve forgotten Aluthgama & so much more. International community take note. #lka #srilanka https://t.co/yWsELMxH6H
— Groundviews (@groundviews) 12 February 2018
And this gem:
— SanjanaHattotuwa(@sanjanah) 12 February 2018
The “letter” itself is here:
But thanks to the honest citizens, we can see that this was in fact a perfect example of #FakeNews.
Here is the reply that debunks the whole narrative:
This is not true
Appreciate if you could remove this.
Please DM for Mr. NM Ameen number who’s the signatory of this letter. You can personally verify with him. pic.twitter.com/nOxwmIVfSm
— Ahamed Hilal (@ahamedhilal) February 12, 2018
The image of the full debunking response can be seen here:
Looks like the coup plotters of 2015 have regrouped and have now recycled the old tricks from before.
Fortunately citizens are awake these days, as can be seen in the following responses.
Here is one:
Ilk that is spreading Islamaphobia and fearmongering is @groundviews and it’s paymasters @CPASL . Less than 48hrs after #LGpollSL elections @PSaravanamuttu is attempting to discredit @PresRajapaksa by spreading fakenews. Muslim Counsil of SL is already refusing this allegation https://t.co/88ccjTXtIC
— tinker777 (@tinker777) 12 February 2018
And this is one too:
Extremely disturbing & disgusting attempt by @groundviews of @CPASL (&it’s ilk @PSaravanamuttu&hisboss @sanjanah) to use baseless accusations leveledagainst @PresRajapaksa just day after end of #LGpollSL in attempt to discredit SLPP victory by framing serious allegations. https://t.co/u02sQkFYN1
— Ooorumiyaa(@orumi) 12 February 2018
It’s great to know that people can see through all these lies, exaggerations, and total #FakeNews. Please use the hashtags
#බොරුපුවත් and #FakeNewsMedia when you find similar stories and together we can put a stop to the #FakeNewsMedia and #FakeNews menace that plagues Sri Lanka’s media.
This complaint-like Tweet also from the same culprit didn’t sit well with me either:
— dharisha (@tingilye) February 12, 2018
Why are they unhappy about Mahinda’s security being increased? Surely she knows his life is in danger from Tamil terrorists.
This episode shows the desperation of the anti-national forces led by the NGO-media to prevent the return of Mahinda Rajapaksa to power.
Let’s fight together to stop the terror-backing FakeNewsMedia of Sri Lanka.