Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka’s largest selling privately owned daily newspaper, has removed the video of President Maithripala Sirisena’s controversial video from its Facebook page after increasing pressure from the President’s Media Division (PMD), Colombo Telegraph can now reveal.
In the video interview that went viral over the weekend, Sirisena was caught on record saying former President Mahinda Rajapaksa could not show a parliamentary majority, as the MPs demanded higher bribes than expected.
“Some MPs even asked for Rs.500 million to cross over. I personally know about such situations. It was like calling for tenders. That is why Mahinda Rajapaksa could not show a majority in Parliament,” Sirisena told Daily Mirror.
The video of the interview, however, disappeared from Facebook early this morning and was replaced with a audio-based short video with President Sirisena’s photographs. The second version did not carry Sirisena’s remarks about MPs asking for bribes.
The Facebook video was shared by thousands of Facebook users over the weekend and earned severe criticism from the public over President Sirisena’s irresponsible remarks trivialising bribery and corruption. The move to remove the video from Facebook was aimed squarely at suppressing the negative comments and feedback.
Colombo Telegraph learns Daily Mirror has made an editorial decision to remove the video from Facebook owing to increasing pressure from the President’s Media Division, a notorious outfit headed by former Maharaja employee Dharmasri Bandara Ekanayake.
However, the video is still available on the youtube channel operated by Daily Mirror.