Frederica: Gen. Fonseka wanted me to protect identity of journalist


The Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Jansz on Monday (Nov.15) told the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar, hearing the ‘White Flag’ case, that General Sarath Fonseka had asked her to protect the identity of the journalist who had passed information on to him regarding Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakasa’s directive to Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva, General Officer Commanding 58 Division not to take prisoners.

Ms. Jansz was responding to prosecutor, Deputy Solicitor General Wasantha Nawaratne Bandara, who queried whether she had made an attempt to contact the journalist, whom the Defence Counsel had referred to as the third party.

The Sunday Leader Editor said that she had felt that there was no need to contact the journalist as General Fonseka, as the Commander of the Army and subsequently Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), had the time and resources to verify the information. Ms Jansz said that she had had an opportunity to interview General Fonseka early December, some seven months after the conclusion of the war.

She denied that General Fonseka had anything to do with receiving money from the UNP to increase the print order of The Sunday Leader in the run-up to the January 26 presidential election.

Ms. Jansz said that during the interview conducted on December 8, 2009, General Fonseka had said he heard the ‘White Flag’ allegation, though he did not specify the source.

Responding to another query, Ms. Jansz said that if she had received General Fonseka’s clarification with regard to his source, she would have included it in her original story headlined ‘Gota Ordered Them to Be Shot’ published on Dec. 13, 2009.

Defence Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetti at the onset of Monday’s proceedings brought to the notice of the judges of an allegation relating to a document being given to him by the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The Defence Counsel, while denying the allegation said that this would reflect badly on him. He alleged that the first witness Jansz had made erroneous statements about him.

An irate Deputy Solicitor General Bandara said that the Defence Counsel was causing trouble by raising unnecessary questions without any basis.

Judge Deepali Wijesundera said that the witness shouldn’t say unnecessary things.

(Hearing resumes today at 10.30. am) –– SF

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