Most notable among them are secretary to the PM Saman Ekanayake and additional secretary (media) Saman Athaudahetti. It is said that most in the party do not like either of them much. The two cannot be controlled even by the PM and have earned the wrath of both Sirikotha and Temple Trees. That worsened at the exposition of relics at Temple trees on Vesak Poya day.
TNL TV of Shan Wickremesinghe, the PM’s brother, and Derana TV were to be the main media sponsors for the event. However, Athaudahetti interfered and wanted it telecast live on ITN. But, that was decided without the agreement of the ITN management. Athaudahetti too, knows that both the management and the employees of ITN do not like him due to his inabilities in managing affairs of the channel. It is ITN’s opinion that he should retire now. Therefore, ITN got the exposition telecast halted tactically.
In the end, it was decided that Siyatha TV would telecast it. A top prelate at Gangaramaya had proposed Siyatha TV should also be given media sponsorship for Gangaramaya Vesak zone, Temple Trees sources say. Everybody knows that Gangaramaya and Temple Trees are today very close to each other.
However, the problem is that all that had been done without the PM’s knowledge. It was only on the day of the relics exposition when he saw big officials of Siyatha TV at Temple Trees, the PM knew that something had happened.
Athaudahetti did nothing good even when he was the media secretary at the time Wickremesinghe was the opposition leader. He did whatever he liked, and the opposition leader’s media reqirements were fulfilled by the national forum of journalists. Journalists who have been struggling on behalf of Wickremesinghe for around 20 years in media institutions say both Athaudahetti and Ekanayake have done nothing for them either. After the 2015 general election, the PM ordered the two to recruit to his media unit, Lake House and ITN the journalists who had lost their jobs for appearing on behalf of him. But, the two did not want to serve justice for them. It is a big question as to how the two could disregard orders by the PM. That is being questioned within the UNP too.
It was Athaudahetti’s decision to give a two hour political dialogue for Basil Rajapaksa of SLPP over ITN two days before campaigning ended for the recent LG polls. When he met with opposition within the institution and outside, he said it was his democracy. He was then asked about the democracy of not giving the side he is said to represent any time to respond to Basil’s remarks. Athaudahetti and Ekanayake have failed to prevent the party from getting exposed to the media over its internal matters. They are not concerned.