Monday, September 11, 2006

The War of the Papers: "Mawbima" Declares War on "Divayia"

Couple of months back, Mawbima launched as yet another Sunday Sinhala newspaper with an attractive TV and Radio advertising campaign, with a massive budget. (Given the cost of TV advertising in Sri Lanka, you can't run such a successful advertising campaign, if you are not really a financially strong company). Mawbima is the Sinhala version of the "Sunday Standard" published by The Standard Newspapers Pvt. Ltd.

Although the launching campaign was catchy enough, I didn't bothered to buy the paper at the beginning, because I was already a regular reader of 3 Sinhala Sunday papers (Lakbima, Divayina, & Lankadeepa) and 2 English papers (Sunday Times & Sunday Observer). (Don't worry, I don't buy all these shit! My neighbor bear the cost of 3 of those :-) )

Last week, my brother in Law recommended me (A heavy JVP supporter :-) ) Mawbima, as a newspaper with a difference, especially citing the AK47 supplementary. (He, still believes what "Lanka" says is the utmost truth :-))

So, I decided to give it a try, and bought the last Sunday's edition of Mawbima. Well, content wise of course there seems to be some difference, in the style of presentation and quantity of content (116 pages!). We can't judge the quality of content of a newspaper by only reading one edition, so I'm not going to discuss anything on that area here.

But, the thing I noticed most in last weeks edition of Mawbima is an article published in the very 2nd page of the main paper.
"Divayina Paththare Mudalalita Vivurtha Abhiyogayak!" (An Open Challenge to "Mudalali" of Divayina Newspaper) was the title of the article, published under "Ape Mathaya" (Our Opinion) and it was written by an anonymous author. (Just like me. ok)

I was curious enough to read through the article, because I already was a reader of Divayina as well.

The whole article was centered towards a claim made by "Divayina" that "Mawbima" is pro-LTTE. Mawbima was re-acting to an article by Eric Gamini Jinapriya published on Divayina last week (on page 12th), which remarked Mawbima as a newspaper financed by LTTE supporters.

Fair enough! Mawbima has all their rights to re-act to such an allegation, because it directly affect the credibility of the paper. On the other hand, Divayina did it wrong, by attaching Mawbima to LTTE without having proper proof to prove it. It's not good behavior for an established newspaper like Divayina at all.

But, reading through the whole article on Mawbima, alerts any intelligent reader that the objective of this article was not simply re-acting to the article on Divayina. The whole article (on Mawbima) was centered around the "market" factor of Sunday papers, and doesn't cover any logical arguments to defend their credibility.

The whole article was a complete "mud campaign" towards Mr. Nimal Welgama (Divayina Mudalali), and the argument made by anonymous writer of Mawbima is "Mr. Welgama is trying to damage the Mawbima's credibility, because Mawbima has affected badly on the sales of Divayina".

Well, from a very simple "market oriented" point of view, this is a fair argument. But you have to have proper facts to prove it!!!!

Quote from Mawbima

"As at today, only 'Lankadeepa" stands in front of Mawbima in the market for Sunday Sinhala Papers. But, they are competing with us politely."

Now is this true? As far as I know, of course Lankadeepa is still the leading Sinhala Sunday paper, but Mawbima has never ever reached the rank #2 in Sinhala newspaper market in Sri Lanak so far!!! You got to be real crazy to believe it, given the sales of "Silumina" (For what ever the reason), "Divayina", "Lakbima" "Lanka" (Of course every JVP supporter buy it!), and "Irudina" are still doing way better than Mawbima in the market.

If you say, you are the #2 after Lankadeepa you have to prove it. Since, "m engaged in newspaper advertising for my Company, I get the SRL rating of all the publications of Sri Lanka, and Mawbima is no way near Lakbima or Divayina.

So, I quickly spotted the whole idea behind this article. It's nothing but yet another promotional gimmick by Mawbima, which was successfully followed by Sirasa for a long time. The theory is, "You create a controversy about you channel/newspaper and get the advantage of publicity". (Eg: Sirasa TV "Katussa" campaign)

Secondly, the whole article was illogical and trying to accuse Mr. Welgama as a "Looser who gone crazy about lost market share of his business".

And, Mawbima so disgustingly drag in personal life matters of Mr. Welgama and Mrs. Lakmini Wijewardena (now Welgama) in the 11 questions directed to "Divayina Mudalali".

Quote from Mawbima's questions to Divayina Mudalali

"5) Did you happened to use some of the "MOVEABLE" properties of Mr. Upali Wijewardena, even while Mr. Wijewardena was alive? Based on the possition you held at the company those days, what were the chances for you to use such "MOVEABLE" properties of Mr. Wijewardena?. Did you get the prior consent of Mr. Wijewardena to use such "MOVABLE" properties?"


Now, everyone can sense what "Mawbima" meant by "Chanchala" Depola ("Moveable" Properties) in this 5th question, and how can we relate this to the original article by Eric Gamini on Divayina?

It's disgusting! I read the Eric Gamini Jinapriya's article on Divayina, and he has put together his ideas logically. We all know, Divayina have a certain degree of biased towards Sinhala Buddhist community (Opposite of Sunday Leader or Sudal Oli) and Eric Gamin's article sounds exactly the same voice. (Biased towards Sinhala Buddhists). Now, to answer Eric Gamini's article, people at Mawbima has dragged in the personal life affairs of the share holders of the paper!

The rationale of Mawbima, behind dragging in Mr. Welgama into this is that "We don't have a deal with the writer (Eric Gamini) of Divayina. He only is an actor. We want to deal with the director of the drama (Mr. Welgama)"

Quote from Mawbima
"We know the writer of Divayina is a 'hired one' so we don't want to comment on him. We don't deal with the actors of the drama. Instead we deal with the director."

What a joke! Now, the anonymous writer on Mawbima label Eric Gamini Jinapriya as just a "hired writer" by Nimal welgama to attack mawbima.

Then who hired you guys at Mawbima? Aren't you doing the same job, if not for Nimal Welgama or for somebody else?

If what you are saying is true (Divayina Mudalali is re-acting to lost market share of Divayina), aren't your employer (Mawbima Mudalali) doing the same thing to defend it by using you idiots as pawns? At the end of the day how you going to justify Eric Gamin is writing for money, but you guys don't? (At least Eric Gamini has a name)

All these stuff reminds me the professional wrestling on TV, where big mussel builders boasting about their strengths and challenging each other to break their legs!

The argument I highlighted above; that Mabima is trying to use this as a promotional opportunity, is backed up by the fact that they've started a poster campaign around the town with this story. (LOL)

Anyways, it's just a childish effort by team behind Mawbima to boost some publicity to their paper by making personal insults to the owner of Divayina.

We all know that all the Sunday Newspapers in Sri Lanka are subject to the control of "Mudalali's". If it isn't Nimal Welgama, it will be Thilanga Sumathipala or Ranjith Wijewardena. We know how these papers behave and it's up to readers to decide what to believe. For example, I never take anything written on Sports page of Lakbima (Annasi Mama. Is it wriiten by Thilanga himself?) seriously.

Historical efforts to create newspapers without Mudalali's failed successfully. Yukthiya, Ravaya and Hiru are few to name. At one point or another, they fall into the hands of some sort of Mudalali. If it isn't a human mudalali like Thinanga and Welgama, it may be an NGO group of mudalali's!

So, who's the Mudalali behind Mawbima?

(The Cartoon picture of "Divayina Mudalali" covering his essentials by Divayina paper was taken from this particular article on Mawbima. It's the same picture used in their poster campaign)

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3 People Had Something to Say about this post. Read them and add your thoughts....

Theena said...

Just what we need in our war-torn country - Newspapers declaring war on one another.

Sam said...

Nothing Strange. I have little number of personal ‘friends” I do NOT respect at all. I think we have some people we don’t like inside all of our circles.

One reason or another all those people I don’t like happened to be Policemen or Journalists. I’m not declaring all the policeman and Journalists are without any morals. There are some Journalists & Policemen I do like and respect. But I don’t mind been extra careful if I had to pick a friend among them.

So my point is.. These types of immoral questions are nothing unexpected form Sinhala Journalists. This is Sinahla Journalism speaking.

About Upali – Two biggest mistakes he made in his life - Getting in to the jet that day and starting a Sinhala news paper. I don’t know which one is the biggest. But one still follows him for sure.

shan said...

Divaina like others dont understand the market all challenge others doing same mistakes.But no one represent the people.
PHILIP SHANTHA 0712-374692

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