Colombo, Media and Communications

Rajpal Abeynaike, Editor of Lakbima, offers exceptional responses to story on Groundviews

I’m breaking with the established guidelines for this site to reproduce in full the response of Rajpal Abeynaike, Editor of Lakbima, in response to the story this website ran on his practice of publishing content from the Sri Lankan blogosphere without attribution. I do not wish to comment on these responses and believe they speak volumes of an approach to journalism that is as regrettable as it is exceptionable.

First response:

Sanjana, My friend, (of course you are my friend) I always knew you were a dumb idiot, and so like the dumb idiot you are, you say there was ‘plagiarism’ involved.
The definition of plagiarism is you pass of somebody’s stuff as your own. Now you might want to do such a thing with your limited capabilities, but I am sure everybody in Sri Lanka would acknowledge I wouldn’t. (Except one maybe two dumb blogistas like yourself who only want to get their hit counts increased by making a issue out of this non issue.)
All that was done at LN was that we carried blog posts with attribution. (……for example, Rythmic Diasapora, etc etc.,) Sordid story of plagiarism heh heh. You sordid bugger!
We did not carry the URL — the link back, which is only a further step, but we never passed off any of these as our work least of all my work for goddsakes! — so obviously you have to go on and learn what simple words in the English dictionary mean.
Now, you want to look a hero from your old NGO outpost, you can do so. You want to ride this thing to NGO stardom, as some protector of Media Ethics, you can do so and exposed yourself further as the rather vapid self appointed self important busybody charlatan you already are.
As for me — I know what plagiarism means, what a good read means, and what hypocrisy means.
If any blogista out there doesn’t like his blogs or bogs on our pages, just write and say so. Until then, we stand by what we did – -which was to print the blogs WITH THE BLOG NAME which would have indicated to any dunderheadexcept you and one or two “hit count blogistas’ that we are doing anything but plagiarizing – because we are making sure that this is SOMEBDY else’s work by giving the blog name.
I’ll write about this at length later, so please do look forward to your further demolition.
But you’ll always remain my friend, my sweet little NGO ingénue.
Sordid story of plagiarism indeed – you sordid, vapid, sanctimonious dumb bugger!

Second response:

By the way Sanjana, If you want to find out what’s unethical, chum, just look in the mirror.
You have your ranting blog in some 20 point bold with a massive headline, and you give the answers to your drivel, a 9pt plain font, without a headline at all.
If you have anything close to media ethics, you will print this blog
a) at the same point size you gave your illogical rant
b) With a similarly screaming headline.
But what to do. You are only a sanctimonious humbug NGO ingénue.
What to do my friend, what to do? — Raj

  • Is this seriously what Rajpal wrote? If so, he’s shown himself to be the pompous arse that he is. On the subject of Lakbima publishing bloggers’ articles without permission and whether that can be termed ‘plagiarism’ can be debated but Rajpal’s responses to Cerno and yourself is outrageous. I’ll bet he’s one of those old codgers who runs out mid day for a tote of least that might explain his over the top, defensive reactions.

  • Rajpal Abeynayake

    Yeah right, now that you got it on the shin as you damn well deserved to, go ahead and used more sanctimonious vapidities like ”approach to journalism that is regrettable as it is exceptionable.”
    Words come cheapo, but thanks for proving my point that you have always been a vapid sweet old ingénue charlatan.
    But also, pl note that a vast quantity of blogs such as London Drummer and Cerno have all noted the positives of this matter — and many have in fact said ‘this is when the blogosphere came to the mainstream’ or words to that effect.
    Sso don’t kid yourself — this is just what journalism NEEDED, a shot in the arm, away from the sanctimonious boring rambling self serving self important kind of drivel that…you know, THAT YOU WRITE…as a mater of fact.

    But you will always be my freind — but I don’t think you have the largeness of mind to agree to disagree, even.
    so chao,
    What good bumbling humbug like you does for me on a a damp day like this!

    By the way PS:
    What a humbug. You took my dare to have this in large font on top, but then, being the sanctimonious ‘me-first think later’ humbug that you are, you couldn’t do it without putting your two cents worth at the beginning of it.
    Go get a life, or at least get a beer!

  • Sam

    Sanjana, kudos for your admirable restraint in the face of this utter nonsense and for writing about the issue. I didn’t quite believe the exchange between RA and “bailabeat” that you had pointed to in your earlier post – but this erased any doubts I had. With Editors like this, who needs a Government to act against media freedom!

  • K.P.S.

    This man is an Editor?! Who appointed him, why and for god’s sake, why is he allowed to continue?!

  • Kapila Tissera

    Sanjana, just let it go. Rajpal’s obviously [edited] and I agree with KPS – why is this man an Editor? Cerno’s post and the comments are ample proof alone that he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and the only way he knows how to get out is to blather nonsense. I hope the Kottu-bloggers take this up.

  • Tempy

    Oh you poufs, I think Sanjana might be getting you to write all this narcissistic stuff — or may be most of you guys are alias’s for Sanjana himself.
    Nice, for all you blogistas to get all your hit counts up collectively, courtesy an Editor who had the spunk to bring the blgosphre and the mainstream both alive.
    And talk about ethics? What’s the ethics in getting mostly anonymous or pseudonymous fellows to leave libelous entrails on your blog. That’s not ethics its the pits.
    But I am sure Rajpal must be having the last laugh, as he almost always does. I know what a raucous belly laugh that is too.

  • Tempy

    I too have this great admiration for Rajpal — he is the only gentleman in Sri Lankan journalism who can raise an issue, stand by it — and also hit back hard. He has enriched journalism in this coutry. This time also he has done the same by bringing the blogs into the maintream and he has taken very admirable risks to do it. Let the dogs bark, your caravan will go on Rajpal. More strength to your arm.



  • As you would know, anonymous comments are a feature of not only this site, but of the blogosphere in general. It is ground for fertile debate as to whether comments require a name and some form of identification, such as an email, or whether they should be allowed to be anonymous and written under a pseudonym. This site allows anyone to post a comment using their real identities or not, so long as they adhere to the guidelines – Other blogs aggregated on Kottu have different mechanisms – some don’t allow anonymous comments at all, some publish little flags that indicate where the author of the comments resides, yet others don’t moderate at all and allow anyone to post anything.

    This however is not the issue deliberated on this post or comment thread. The issue here is specifically regarding the actions of an Editor of a mainstream print newspaper and the implications, both positive and negative, for Sri Lankan bloggers.

    Rajpal did in fact publish two or three articles of mine before he was ousted from his post at The Sunday Observer. I do not wish to be drawn into further commentary on Rajpal’s comments – he saw it fit to express himself in the manner he did, which from my end is in a spirit and manner that prevents what I had hoped would be a fruitful exchange of ideas on the evolution of media in Sri Lanka. The bloggers whose content he has published without proper attribution are in a far better position to debate this out with him through their own blogs.


  • Kindly note that I will continue to delete comments that are uncivil whether they be against Rajpal or anyone else. If you have something to say about this matter, please adhere to the site guidelines – The publication of Rajpal’s comments was necessitated on account of their exceptional nature and is not a license to violate these guidelines.

    Thank you,


  • N

    I reckon the blogosphere was plenty alive before the Lakbimagate issue came up, Tempy. As for Rajpal, it looks like he wasn’t expecting this much of a furore over something he had previously gotten away with by stealing material of Theena’s and Sach’s blogs in the past. Unfortunately for him the SL blogosphere has grown hugely since then and looks like this time it wasn’t so easily swept under the carpet.

    Looking at the positive side he or his team does try to engage the blogosphere but only after they have done wrong. And they did it in a pretty clumsy way as well. Instead of admitting that they did wrong and actually apologizing they tried to first give the rather poor excuse that anonymous bloggers cannot be contacted (obviously never heard of the comment field so essential to a blog) and then tried to say they were doing the blogger in question a ‘favour’ by brining them into the mainstream. Most of us who blog don’t blog in any hopes of getting into the mainstream and a fair few don’t even want to.

    At the end of the day the right thing to do would have been to ask permission to use the material in question. That they did not do and did not apologize for not doing so. But let’s see how it goes from ehre.

    Rajpal’s comments here are pretty amusing though, he obviously has no sense of how to communicate in a decent, respectful manner (I mean who writes the word bugger in what is essentially a business correspondence). Blustering fool is the adjective that comes to mind.

  • Kanishka

    Excuse my jumping in at this stage. I am new to ground views and totally ignorant of its ground rules. But I’ve decided to write in defense of my good friend Rajpal.

    I am not aware of what he’s really done to grieve some of you and do not seek to defend him on that score. But I take serious exception to some of the personal aspersions made against him. I’ve known Rajpal for a very long time and he is very different to the characterization some of you have tried to give him. He’s an extremely talented and hardworking journalist fully worthy of all the recognition he’s received thus far. He is also a gentleman and an extremely nice person. And I am not alone in saying this. There are quite a few others who would testify to the same effect. While I don’t hope to change any of your preconceived notions, at least appreciate that there are other opinions of him out there.

    Also if he’s done something wrong, please stick to the facts without descending to an all-out malign-fest. This is too much like a catfight. It amazes me how preoccupied people could get on such petty issues when there are no shortages of more burning issues. The links just to the right of this beckons us to expend our time and energy on issues with more substance. So please give-up the personal vendettas and move on!


  • N

    Kanishka, please explain how someone can write the word “bugger” in a professional correspondence and still be called a ‘gentleman’? Please do elaborate. Also the facts of what he has done wrong is out in public, what is not out in public is apologies to any of the bloggers concerned including two of the originally aggrieved bloggers, Sach and Theena.

  • Yes Kanishka, please see this also.

    Please be so kind to explain us how do we accept your character certificate when he behaves like this. I\’m not willing to quote the words he has used. Please go and read yourself.

    In addition, I must tell you that your friend can\’t earn respect through the character certificate issued by you and other friends. He should earn it by acting as a gentleman himself. Besides, the way he reacted to criticism has illustrated the true nature of Rajpal under pressure. I honestly don\’t think he is capable of handling the responsibilities of the editorship of a National newspaper.

  • if he copied ideas from you you deserves an apology

  • For those who don’t understand why I am so peeved about this, please read this:

    Kanishka, your friend’s behavior in the past few days, combined with his history of taking online content without permission and publishing it, leads me to believe that he is neither a gentleman nor a journalist deserving any respect. He is a disgrace.

  • Aurora

    I am quite a novice at this blogging-business however, it seems to me the discussion here is indicative of an ongoing and vast global discussion as to formalising an interface between traditional forms of news and the flurry of growth in e-News and e-Discussions on current affairs. The media overlap that such development instigates, requires debate towards establishing some type of consensus of the interaction.

    Such a process I presume to be constant and dynamic, as increasing numbers of the world’s population gain access to the internet. Perhaps one might consider that Rajpal Abeynayake’s article contributes to this a process in a positive manner: precisely facilitating a revisitation of the relationship between traditional media and the blogging cyber world.

    There might then, be no need for personalising the issue to target Mr. Abeynayake – but rather can afford a more productive point of departure of discussion.

    The core issue at hand, is surely to identify a more formalised manner of interaction based on common understanding and respect between traditional forms of media and the possibilities the internet offers. This – as any other meaningful deliberation – requires dialoguing and the political will to see ‘both sides of the story’, so to speak.

  • As some one who always been a heavy criticizer of Sanjana and groundviews, this is a point where I whole heartedly ready to align with sanjana.
    I’m not surprised to read Rajpal’s comments at all. After all that is what he is.

    [Editors note: Sorry, had to exclude that comment as I don’t want Rajpal or anyone else accuse me or this site of fomenting insults against him, when he’s done and said enough here and elsewhere on the SL blogosphere to allow readers to come to their own conclusions on his approach to and understanding of journalism.]

    Theena and Sachini ad pointed so many times on Kottu, what kind of an editor this guy is. In fact, with all the experience of working with some of the top ranked editors and so called journalists in this country, I can confidently say Rajpal is not the only [edited]. This is the common nature of majority of so called journalists in this country. covetousness, slyness and shamelessness is common traits of these people. I wonder why Sumathipala opted for this guy as the editor. He had a comparatively a good choice of people, when he started Lakbima Sinhala edition. As I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts, Lakbima Sinhala is doing a better job than many other Sunday papers, except for the sports page.

    In summary, I see the response by Rajpal as a pretty similar to the response of Illanterian and Thamil Selvam, about the fall of East. When people lose control of what they were doing well, they lose control of their minds as well. [Edited]

  • This guy edits a major paper? He writes like an angry teenager

  • Melvin Ally

    I think a more polished reply and attention to the issue at hand – rather than playing with words – was the order of the day.

    RA – a gentleman’s approach would be to defend yourself with logic and reason rather than attacking your critic on a personal level.

  • Kapila Tissera

    Kottu is alive with stories against this madness:

    “Then there was the reaction to Confab’s calls – well known by now, and the mind-blowing response to Sanjana’s post. These in themselves would lead any reasonably sane individual to conclude that, for the editor of a newspaper, the response was irresponsible, out of line and probably the reaction of an ego-maniac in the throes of a defence-mechanism that resorts to abuse and intentional insults. To the credit of the bloggers concerned, most of their reactions to the pilfering of posts were presented with dignity, decorum and in civil tones and language.

    So what gives with Rajpal? And with his assistant (when he was at the ‘Observer’), who bad-mouthed Theena for no apparent reason other than for being asked for an explanation as to how come his piece was published without permission? Is this some kind of new media-culture adopted by editors and their subordinates or is this a one-off to do with a rude and ill-mannered man and his assistant? The response(s) to Sanjana bordered on the ramblings of a twisted psyche rather than a dignified response from the editor of a newspaper that is halfway decent (I’ve never read Lakbima, so have no way of knowing its standards).”

    “As Drac points out, these blog servers are located in USA. If you are curious to know more about expiration and other stuff, please see the Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States 1 January 2007. However, there is no significant difference when you compare it with Sri Lankan context. And even if the servers were placed in Sri Lanka, and even if this incident took place purely within the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Abeynaike is guilty under the Intellectual Property Act : No 36 of 2003”

    “If you are an editor, or publisher, interested in publishing content from this blog on print, please contact me via email – [email protected] – or at the very least comment on this blog expressing interest. I do check both everyday and I will make every effort to get back to you as soon as possible. To my fellow bloggers, I urge you to publish guidelines for potential publishers to follow if they are interested in showcasing your work in print. Finally, a message to Rajpal who I hope is reading this: Your supporters call you “a gentleman” and one of the best journalists in the country. You lack the courtesy, the manners and humility to be called the former. You lack the professional and ethical discretion to be called a journalist. In short, you are a disgrace.”

  • Rajpal

    I have found that a lot of the responses sent in a very civil and valid manner to this blogsite by various people who are with me on this issue have not been published. So much for ethics. Therefore, since this is a one way street that is not ready to entertain my point of view or those supporting mine, I exit this debate here saying we did carry credits of all articles carried and that’s the verifiable fact. These credits may have not have been perfect; but wieghed against the fact that a lot of people have said here and in some other sites on the net that this was positive, we shall say what’s postive can only be good. We hope some of the bloggers who want to write to us wil therfore write to us direct in the future.Others, need not apply.
    This piece may not be published because a good deal of stuff on my behalf has been censored on this ‘site’. I say finally that al newspapers do it; you only need ot see the amout of articles that appear in newspapers saying Source: Sydney morning Herald, Newsweek, etc., All this is of course done by all papers as a matter of course…so what transgression commited if at all should be viewed aginast this backdrop.

  • Rajpal

    I exit this debate as I find that anything submitted by anyone carrying like minded views, is not carried in this site. That’s a disgrace; this submission will most probably not be carried as well

  • Nishan

    This is also a test of the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (PCC). The PCC is a “self” regulatory body. Does it have the professional capacity to fix issues of unethical editorial practices, or is it too cluby and inbred to do that successfully?

    In this case, the original grievance of material being used from blogs are one type of complaint that should be made to the PCC. But there is another complaint that should be made. That is, the manner in which queries from the public have been responded to by an editor. Surely, responding to public queries about published material is an inherent part of an editors job and ethics, is it not?

    I would urge Groundviews, and all others who received rabid sounding replies from the editor in question to make a complaint to the PCC with regard to the nature of the responses received. This is a separate complaint from publishing blogged material, but I think no less important.

  • Sanjana, with all due respect, I believe this is some prankista mailing you. Did you receive these replies form the official Lakbima News email?

    [email protected]

    Rajpal is a [edited out], but I don’t think he’s [edited out] enough to prance his pompous vocabulary like this.

  • Rajpal,

    How pray would you know what comments that have been “very civil” that have not been entertained? I maintain a record of every comment received and archive them, whether I publish them or not. I stand corrected if there have been comments sent in that I have not published and encourage you to get in touch with whoever it is you know that haven’t had their comments published to send them to me via email or alert me as to when they wrote them on this site. I do not check regularly, as I have repeatedly mentioned on this site, the Junk folder of WordPress, into which comments with expletives, more than a few URLs and a few known trolls go in automatically. I am sorry if the content herein is in your opinion a partial record of the facts as they stand in our appreciation of your behaviour and mentality – but they are reflective of the content that I could publish as per the site guidelines. Most comments I have received have been abusive, uncivil and quite simply, from (anonymous) trolls with an axe to grind with me, CPA, this site or a confounded farrago of all three.

    Rather than send good Samaritans and envoys to speak on your behalf, a more respectful manner of engagement befitting the post you hold would have engaged this author and those who are aggrieved – right or wrongly – in the SL blogosphere in a far more constructive manner.

    However, your comment above makes your position on this matter clear and let the issue rest there. Should anyone wish to take this up further with you, let me encourage them to do so through their own blogs. This site, and the original post, served as a marker for the necessary questioning of the attitudes and practices of mainsteam media towards bloggers and new media. I believe the posts and the comments serve as a adequate record, along with the content they point to on the larger blogosphere, of this case – let readers decide what they choose to believe.


  • Chaar~Max,

    To the best of my knowledge, all three comments were written by Rajpal and entered on this site by himself.


  • J-Lo

    Writes like an “angry teenager”? That’s insulting man. To teenagers.

  • amithdis

    This appeared in another blogsite on this issue. I am forwarding it:

    Firstly i am not a blogger, i dont believe i will ever be one, and the only blog that i read regularly is this one… (Because it is usually well written funny intelligent and engaging… but enough hot air up RD’s arse) i do have some theories and opinions on ..well everything,… but currently this whole fiasco.

    Bloggers for me are a bizarre bunch of people. Firstly they start writing, because they hope that someone in this big bad world gives a rats arse as to what they did, think or feel about anything. Because if you didn’t want a readership you would be writing…. a journal. Yes? So lets see now, you want an audience.

    Then because of technology everyone (well other than in rural Africa, and some parts of Borella) has access to the usually mind numbingly dull workings of your mind. So we have established public domain. And universal access.

    And then someone comes along.. And god forbid publishes your blog that perhaps until such time only 5 people have read, and suddenly you might have a readership of 500.. You must be crushed. Boo hoo, a captive, large audience for the mind numbingly dull workings of your mind.

    And in a country where there is no intellectual property laws adhered to, this hypocrisy of outrage is beyond pathetic. Where CNN and Nat Geo appear on local networks with no distribution contracts signed, and pirated DVDs are sold on every corner. Where was the outcry then? Strangely I didn’t hear it. Could the same people be both outraged at their blogs being found in newspapers and yet enjoy Shrek 3 on DVD not purchased from Amazon.. surely not.

    Sri Lanka is not a country that has many laws that are adhered to, respect that is shown or rules that aren’t broken, from the very top to the very bottom.

    So grow up, stop being so drama, focus on something slightly more important than your fragile egos.

    I would add my real name to this, but weirdly none of you use your names either… so honestly why should I?

    Annoyed…I guess you will be. Do I care. Not at all.

  • ivap

    An issue not just limited to SL, Case #2. The OZ can’t stand the heat –,20867,22058640-7583,00.html.

    Aurora’s point seems to be valid. As the norms of interaction are established this will be part of the evolution. However, much can be said for civility.

    More on the aus issue at

  • “Sydney Morning Herald” – O’ but we have ABC’s Media Watch to do the shaming.

  • amithdis

    ‘Note that granting something to the public domain is a complete abandonment of all rights. You can’t make something “PD for non-commercial use.” If your work is PD, other people can even modify one byte and put their name on it. ‘ —— Bran Templeton, on Internet Law, citing US Library of Congress.

    In the given case, blogs refrred to were all having this type of “not for commercial use’ lisence. Besides, they were republished with the name of the blogsite, though not the URL.
    There, as per above, there was no copyright infringed, therefore there was no ethical issue.
    The newspaper was perfectly within its rights.

    You have to understand that the Internet is public domain if that’s the way you want it. There is no halfway house claiming ‘not for commercial use.”

  • N

    long comment on two sites for someone who doesn’t care…

  • amithdis, perhaps your reading comprehension is lacking.

    Public domain for a work has to be explicitly granted by the author(s) of the work. You (or RA, assuming they are not the same person) assume public domain via a strawman argument of universal access. This is simply not the case. Being available on the internet does not imply public domain, even if you seem to think so.

    None of the blog authors making a complaint have granted their content over to the public domain. Not a single person. Your distinction of public domain content being non-commercial doesn’t even apply.

    I’d love to hear how a byline attribution of “Ryythmic” equates to “the name of the blogsite” in your view. Please don’t do yourself an injury stretching the truth even further to explain.

    Even more interesting how the story changed from [paraphrased] “we looked but couldn’t find any licensing information” to “blogs refrred to were all having this type of “not for commercial use’ lisence”.(sic)

  • amithdis

    Look who is assuming now. Nobody is saying that merely because something is on the net, it is in the public domain. OF COURSE NOT.
    The licensing agreement for the concerned blogsites is the precise instrument which puts the blogs specifically in the public domain.
    The licensing agreement of the blogsites says EXPLICITLY:
    This material can be COPIED
    It can be re-mixed. (Creative Commons licensing agreement.) It is that which puts the blogs in the public domain, not any figment of anybody’s imagination, your or mine. The licensing agreement adds a clause about attribution. But the LAW in its wisdom determined that’s not valid.
    The law says explicitly as Elucidated above, once something is out in the public domain in that way – ALL RIGHTS ARE ABANDONED. Rights of attribution are abandoned, and neither can one be heard to say ‘for commercial use only.’’ (US Library of Congress on Copyrights, as elucidated by Bran Templeton and many others.)
    So that’s it.
    The ideology behind this was borne out of Thomas Jefforson’s eminently American idea of Creative Commons. Jefferson said: ‘Creativity and innovation rely on a rich heritage of prior intellectual endeavor. We stand on the shoulders of giants by REVISITING REUSING, and TRANSFORMING the ideas and works of our peers and predecessors.’
    Digital communications promise a new explosion of this kind of collaborative creative activity. But at the same time, expanding intellectual property protection leaves fewer and fewer creative works in the “public domain” — the body of creative material unfettered by law and, to quote Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, “free as the air to common use.”
    Free as the air to common use. Get it? Rgith now, what’s explicitly cast in the public domain, is “free as the air to common use.” To the extent that one could change one byte in a blog, and use ones OWN NAME on it, which this newspaper certainly did not do. This newspaper used the blogsites name!
    Eminetly legitimate, and bloody good too, considering that a lot of the blog writers ahve said ‘we like to be published but…”

  • amithdis

    Correction: Make that (previopus post) please “for non commercial use only.” 🙂

  • David Blacker

    Copyright dictates that ANY attributable piece of work (writing, photography, etc) is the property of the author and cannot be used without permission.

    As for plagiarism, RA needs to read up on his hobby a bit. He claims that the work that was copied wasn’t passed off as the work of an individual Lakbima journalist, which is true. However, the paper’s merely saying “Cerno” as the credit meaanss nothing because it gives the impression that Cerno is the psedonym of a Lakbima journo or contributor. Therefore, the work is in fact being passed off as Lakbima work. So it is plagiarism.

    Someone claaimed thaat RA has “spunk”; but I think I’d have used the Sinhalese word.

  • amithdis

    I think Mr David B’s pet hobby must be being idiotic. What was said in the previous blog by me precisely was that the said work was NOT copyrighted for the said reasons. How can a man who can’t get that through his dense head, lecture to us about plagiarism?. Actually, according to the laws involved, even if another name was put to the blog, it could have still been published without copyright violation, as all rights have been abandoned.
    So to put the actual blog name (Cerno) or whatever, was great, in fact it gave the real name of the real writer.
    But main attention is drawn here to the fact that Jefferson said Creative Commons as an idea ‘builds on the great.”
    Those blogs were great; they were good stuff. If viewed in the perspective of Creative commons, a very healthy thing was done by disseminating the blogs, which is why many – so many in other blogposts have said that there is a postivity to this. Besides, as another poster said in this blog, viewed against the backdrop of blogging and Shrek 3 on DVD not from Amazon, it is ‘beyond pathetic to cavil about this.’
    So name calling is beneath this process. Which is why I think I am getting out of here for good — because this is not an objective appraisal, it’s just a baying lynch mob. It diminishes anyone, but does not add anything worthwhile to the discourse.

  • Nishan

    In two of the above comments amithdis sites Jefferson in his favour. He says:

    “Jefferson said: ‘Creativity and innovation rely on a rich heritage of prior intellectual endeavor. We stand on the shoulders of giants by REVISITING REUSING, and TRANSFORMING the ideas and works of our peers and predecessors.’” (amithdis, July 14, 2007 @ 12:56 am)

    Now, is that quotation really from Thomas Jefferson?

    I doubt it. I am not able to find anywhere an attribution of those words to Jefferson. It seems to me that amithdis is copying these words and others, such as the quote about “free as the air to common use”, from what is written on this web page:

    In that page, the first para has those words, but they are not attributed to Jefferson. What is attributed to Jefferson later is a different quote: “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me.”

    Perhaps amithdis in his rush to cut and paste was making a mistake?

    Also, amithdis seems not to be aware when he is contradicting himself. In his latest comment he says:

    “But main attention is drawn here to the fact that Jefferson said Creative Commons as an idea ‘builds on the great.’ Those blogs were great; they were good stuff. If viewed in the perspective of Creative commons, a very healthy thing was done by disseminating the blogs, which is why many – so many in other blogposts have said that there is a postivity to this.” (amithdis, July 14, 2007 @ 4:21 pm)

    Now, not only is that inaccurate with regard to Jefferson, it also seems to flatly contradict amithdis’ own sentiments a day earlier:

    “And then someone comes along.. And god forbid publishes your blog that perhaps until such time only 5 people have read, and suddenly you might have a readership of 500.. You must be crushed. Boo hoo, a captive, large audience for the mind numbingly dull workings of your mind.” (amithdis, July 13, 2007 @ 5:10 pm)

    It seems, prima facie, that amithdis is cutting and pasting from webpages with inaccurate attributions and is engaged in self-contradiction. The resemblance that amithdis’ behaviour shows in all these respects to what has been alleged about the editor of Lakbima, is very amusing, and I would like to think, only a coincidence.

    One must hope that amithdis is being more careful in his bold assertions about legality and his attempt to conflate discussion regarding use of software code to use of written articles etc. Certainly, these issues deserve close and careful analysis — and the fact that this process has now begun and will involve the PCC as well, is a positive development.

  • N

    Assuming these blogs did have a creative commons license (despite being a regular reader of the ones that were ripped off I never noticed one) creative commons is only for non-commercial use. How is Lakbima non-commercial?

  • suntzu

    Is Rajpal writing under the name of Amithdis?

  • ethnichybrid

    from the beginning i thought lakbima [edited] as it was rehashing six month old news ie: The Galle Literary Festival. Then I realized that they had reprinted stuff from a blog (Manshark I think). When I realized the editor was Rajpal I knew that I couldnt have expected better. So in my opinion Lakbima and its editor reflects the standard of journalism that prevails in Sri Lanka and whoever wrote that Rajpal is a gentleman surely doesnt know the meaning of the word. And yes suntzu I do think that Rajpal and Amithdis sound too much like alike! [Edited]

    [Editors note: I once again urge all those who comment to do so in a spirit of engagement and avoid the use of language that undermines progressive communication. Thank you.]

  • Amithdis presents a big lie! Of course this is not a new thing for Rajpal apologists.
    I quote:
    \”The licensing agreement of the blogsites says EXPLICITLY:
    This material can be COPIED
    It can be re-mixed. (Creative Commons licensing agreement.) It is that which puts the blogs in the public domain, not any figment of anybody’s imagination, your or mine. The licensing agreement adds a clause about attribution. But the LAW in its wisdom determined that’s not valid.
    The law says explicitly as Elucidated above, once something is out in the public domain in that way – ALL RIGHTS ARE ABANDONED. Rights of attribution are abandoned, and neither can one be heard to say ‘for commercial use only.’’ (US Library of Congress on Copyrights, as elucidated by Bran Templeton and many others.)
    That is a lie
    Please read the terms of Service yourself and see. For example, let me quote a little bit from blogspot/blogger, and I will give you the link to the page as well:

    \” Your Intellectual Property Rights. Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Google services. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Google services and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services. Google furthermore reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion.

    You represent and warrant that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the rights granted herein to any Content submitted.

    You may choose to submit, post, and display any materials on or through the Blogger service or under a public license (e.g. a Creative Commons license), whether by manually marking your materials as such or using Blogger service tools to do so. For avoidance of doubt, Google is not a party to any such public license between you and any third party. Also, for avoidance of doubt, Google may choose to exercise the rights granted under (a) the public license or licenses, if any, you apply to your materials or (b) this Agreement. \” from blogspot Terms of Service
    Read more here

    Anyway intellectual property law is the highest authority. Not the terms of service of this or that blog service.

    In addition I have posted a detailed entry explaining the legal situation when it comes to copyright law. Internet has no exceptions, unless otherwise explicitly noted by the copyright holder of the content.

  • J-Lo

    He’s at it again – see Comments show that he is copying articles from Sunday Observer of 2 years ago and publishing under a different name.

  • Nishan

    How many people is Rajpal pretending to be? I decided to investigate after my analysis of amithdis and the question by suntzu. The answer is hilarious.

    There is evidence to suggest that Rajpal, Tempy, Amithdis, and Kanishka, in the above comments, are in fact the same person (or at least sharing computers or email addresses). “Facts”, my grandma is fond of saying, “are stubborn things”. Here are the facts:

    * 1 amithdis post comes from the same IP address as 2 posts of Rajpal.
    * 1 Rajpal post comes from the same IP address as both of Tempy’s posts.
    * 1 email address used by Tempy is the same one used by Kanishka!

    Reason to think: Rajpal = Tempy = Kanishksa = amithdis

    Blogs tend to log IP and email addresses of incoming comments as a matter of course — like the default caller id function on mbile phones. Some blogs publish the IP address, groundviews does not. But because I am an author on groundviews I can choose to view these fields 🙂 and though it was a bit tedious to check, the result has been rather entertaining! — The longer this drama goes on the more it is making me laugh. 😀

  • Perhaps we should let the matter rest. For all the blood spilt, were there not lessons learnt? Lakbhimagate, as it has so aptly been called, is a watershed for the SL blogosphere. Evidently, traditional mediamen have some private reflecting and acknowledging to do, while for our own part in the blogosphere, as mentioned by others before, we should perhaps provide our own guidelines on site. Let this be a turning point in print-new media interactions. The SL industry is in its infancy, we must begin somewhere. Let the turning point be now.

    For a while, I personally believed blogging to be a large part of the future. In SL, Kottu and Groundviews have taken this to new heights. At least this fact alone (the richness of blog content) has been acknowledged in print. Better understanding and media interaction will serve at least one objective: better access to information. Under a Govt dishing one-way tickets to hell, is this not a crying need? Small steps to higher ground….. let the information revolution unfold.

  • Sanjana,

    Take a look at this:

    Did the editor of Daily Mirror get in touch with your prior to publishing this article? I am just curious here.

  • Dear Theena,

    Thank you for pointing this story out. Firstly, I didn’t pen that article. Secondly, Groundviews is under a Creative Commons license as noted on the homepage ( the conditions of which allow DM or even Rajpal (or whatever he likes to call himself online) to use content herein provided they keep to the conditions of this particular CC license.



  • wijayapala

    wow, this Rajpal seems upset. What did you do to get him so upset, groundviews?

    ps- i’m not Rajpal, and I’m not familiar with his writings other than his eulogy to Sivaram.

  • Aurora

    This comment thread seems to have lead to an array of insight into guidelines for blogging and the status of blogging in Sri Lanka. There seems much scope for the committed blogger and traditional journalists to engage in a fruitful exchange of ideas, on the evolution of media in Sri Lanka: the comparative advantages and areas that require improvement.

    On the issue of pseudonyms: anonymity appears at the core of much blogging. That “Groundviews” as a site, does not publish IP addresses seems to indicate that anonymity is deemed a positive vehicle for an exchange of ideas: allowing persons freely and openly to express their point of view(s) and engage in discussion, where otherwise they might not – under anonymous pseudonyms, if they so choose.

    Effort on the site to publicly ‘blow any bloggers cover’, may not only send shudders throughout this site’s current and potential blogging community, – deterring some from entering debates.

    It may also signal potential repercussions for “Groundviews” to consider internally. The seemingly arbitrary manner of exposing blogger-identity, if s/he holds diverging views from a member of “Groundviews” – with access to IP and email addresses of incoming comments – appears to compromise and undermine the foundation the site – as a whole – wishes to uphold.

    There seems much to be considered on the issue of ‘Blogger Rights’ – in its relations with the traditional printed media, and within the ‘blogging sphere’ itself.

  • Aurora,

    As far as I know, no one on this thread has suggested that this website should “blow any bloggers cover”. That some authors use public information that cannot be barred from them because of the manner in which the underlying technology that Groundviews uses is built upon (WordPress) as they see fit is a matter for open debate. As a technical issue however, it is beyond Groundviews to address and needs to be addressed as a fault, if one thinks it such, to the creators of WordPress. The manner in which some authors use information they are privy to as authors in the public interest (such as to expose those who mischievously adopt multiple personalities on this fora in what is obviously a schizophrenic approach to debate online that attempts to obfuscate one’s true agenda and opnion) will be accepted since I am of an older camp that does not believe anonymity is an adequate defense against the promotion of hate, disinformation, partial analysis, parochial bias and personal agendas that seek to use this forum for ends less than and vitiate what it is intended to support.

    Clearly, this is not a set belief and I am open to debating it. But may I suggest that those who choose to be my interlocutors educate themselves on the realities of managing and editing multi-author blog on highly emotive issues such as those that Groundviews deals with before pontificating on the proclivities of this website or those of my personal bias.

    For exmaple and contrary to your belief, perhaps on account of a partial reading of this site and content herein, Groundviews does welcome divergent opinion – and that which it refuses publication to on account of its guidelines often find immediate publication on the blogs of those the comments came from, making the SL blogosphere on occasion one big Groundviews beat-em-up!

    Your viewpoint is also based on a necessarily partial reading of the comments this site generates as an outsider to comment moderation on Groundviews. For example, I receive dozens of vituperative comments against the principal protagonist mentioned in this post which I opted to not publish. That which I have, as you have noted, attempts to push the debate forward whilst at the same time marginalising the idiotic blather of those who cannot engage in constructive discussions.

    Clearly, on occasion, Groundviews has stumbled and fallen short of its avowed goals – I must and will take full responsibility for these shortcomings which I see as necessary and inevitable in the creation of something sui generis in the SL blogosphere at the time it was launch and indeed, to date – a multi-author, alternative blog for news, analysis and information in English, Sinhala and Tamil. Overall, I think we’ve pretty much defined what a site such as this can achieve and it is a testimony to the maturity of content herein, the number and calibre of visitors this site receives daily that mainstream media now pulls content off it and points to articles as well.

    Having been associated with the SL blogosphere for well over 2 years now, may I also add that as a whole, there is a rich tradition of great writing in it. Even my worst critics, such as Voice in Colombo, come out with some compelling reading on their blogs when they choose to write in an engaging manner. When Groundviews was launched, it did not see itself in the role of acting as a watchdog of media ethics. That it has done so on two occasions in the past month alone, with one expose facilitating a public apology from the Editor of another leading English daily, suggests there is merit in looking at how such initiatives can be expanded and strengthened by mechanisms such as the PCC as well as by other media freedom organisations. In the meanwhile, Groundviews will continue to report in the same vein.


  • Pingback: uses Cerno’s worst photograph without asking « Cerno()

  • Pingback: And now blogs lead to suicide? « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)()

  • Malinda Seneviratne

    I find all this hilarious, actually. Thanks Sanjana. Thanks Rajpal.

  • Thanks Malinda. I found this as funny as your comments on Dayan Jayatilleke, now your close colleague, perhaps even friend when you said,

    “About Dayan’s history, let me say it all in one line: it includes a particularly funny way of handing over nomination papers, a funny way of popping in and out of the country, offering an abject public apology to J.R. Jayewardene, not to mention defending the party lines of the various groups in power (nationally and regionally). It would suffice to say ‘Danno Danithi’ at this point.”

    “Some mild thoughts on Dayan Jayatilleka”, The Island, Colombo, Oct.9, 2000


  • Malinda Seneviratne


    Dayan was not a friend then, for I had never met him. Friend a couple of years later, even though we disagreed about many things. Friend still. Rajpal is a friend even though he has taken issue with positions I held/hold. I consider you a friend, although there are lots we disagree about.

    The comment on Dayan is still valid, even though we think alike on a lot more things now than we did before.

    Histories are important for they tell us something about what we can expect. But I am not fixated on such things and don’t subscribe to the Trotskyite dictum ‘political enemy can never be personal friend’. Tomorrow, Dayan and I might disagree vehemently. And we will probably call each other out. Tomorrow, by the same token, you and I may find ourselves on the same ideological page. Should we let suspicions on account of me having been associated with NMAT and you being in the CPA get in the way of working together?

    I guess it’s a call about how one chooses to relate to people, isn’t it?

    There are people we learn to keep at arm’s lenth. People we shake hands with. I would shake Dayan’s hand any day. Yours too. Regardless of the ideological positions you may take up on Day X, because at some fundamental level I think both of you are decent people. The same goes for Rajpal.

    There are others I would hesitate to go near. One does not play with vipers.


  • Malinda Seneviratne


    re ip addresses….if A and B are networked your research will still give you one ip address. does not mean A=B. In this case, Rajpal may not equal ‘Lakbima’ (if that’s where he’s writing from) and there’s nothing to stop others at Lakbima posting something, is there?

    And Sanjana, since you are hot on democracy and stuff, howhat’s your take on the privileges accorded to some to trace back posts? 🙂


  • Malinda Seneviratne


    For some reason an earlier response to your comment re me didn’t go through….I said something on the following lines:

    At the time I wrote the piece (there was a back-and-forth over several weeks if I remember right), I did not know Dayan. Met him later and we became friends. Still friends. Collegaues, close colleagues…depends on how one sees such things. There are more things we agree on today than we did before, true. Does this make me take back what I said? No. Not unless I found that what I wrote was somehow wrong.

    I don’t subscribe to the theory that a political enemy cannot be a personal friend. I consider you a friend although we are ideologically at odds with one another in more ways than Dayan and I are or were.

    Histories do matter. They teach us to be wary. Does it mean that if common ground is found one must choose to be grumpy and scowl? What if you and I at some point in time come to share the same ideological position(s). Should we refuse to work together becaue I was once associated with NMAT and you with the CPA?

    Tomorrow, Dayan and I, by the same token, might have differences of opinion and will no doubt call each other out. So what?

    It’s a judgment call too, of course. It depends on the person. I think you (and Dayan) are fundamentally decent individuals. As such histories, although they do figure in assessments, will be less raucus factors in the overall view. There are always those we learn to treat with utmost suspicion, even to the point of rejection. One does not play with vipers.

    For the record, I still have my disagreements with Dayan and Rajpal. They both took issue with me with respect to Sivaram (I wrote in as did Dayan; Rajpal wrote in the Sunday Times and Dayan’s piece was carried in the Sunday Island at a time when i didn’t have access to any newspaper). We still disagree on that score. Didn’t stop me from defending Rajpal, editorially, in The Nation, when the Sunday Observer fired him (see under ‘Media Machinations’ at


    p.s. by the way, can you email me that article you’ve picked the quote from? it was an interesting exchange and Dayan got the last word SINCE I was a staffer at the Island. Prabath refused to carry my final, 7 line rebuttal. 🙂

  • Hi Malinda,

    Anyone who is a registered author (just registering on the site does not make one an author) on this site can see all the comments on the site. WordPress lists the IP against each comment. Wasn’t my or by design – just WordPress for you.

    This is water under the bridge. I’m sad that his comment was of the this nature in response to my own missive to him ( but have no regrets that it was I who drafted the FMM statement against his removal from the post of Editor at the Observer back in the day ( He doesn’t know this.

    Take care,


  • Pingback: How not to disagree « ICT for Peacebuilding (ICT4Peace)()

  • Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

    I was going to ask ‘ is this a private fight or can anyone join in?’ when I saw that I had been mentioned!

    To the Sanjana – Malinda exchange I can only confirm that some of my best friends are Sinhala racists.

    As for the plagiarism thing, I don’t usually find myself in disagreement with David Blacker but i think he’s taking the stricter and narrower view of things
    (copyright). Rajpal is right about plagiarism. I would understand it as passing off as your own product, someone else’s stuff, i.e. copying in a classroom or lifting chunks from a book unacknowledged and including it in your tutorial. So far Rajpal has not been found guilty of that deadly charge.

    I do think though that Rajpal’s manner of expressing himself on this and occasionally other matters has been even more sophomoric than Malinda’s usually tends to be.