Investigative Journalism? Scilla Alecci’s Outrageous Essay

Edward Upali, whose  preferred title is Deceit in Reportage from ICIJ and Alecci”

Edward Upali is a Sri Lankan engineer who migrated to Alberta in Canada, where he resides now. His commentary on the partisanship and the muckraking pursued by the International Committee of Independent Journalists in their campaign against Sri Lanka is of considerable relevance. The highlighting in this Item is my imposition….. Editor, Thuppahi

ONE: Hi Michael, it is good that you are taking a more critical look at this piece by Scilla Alecci of ICIJ. In this “news report” Scilla is trading on the good name of the ICIJ to make a series of allegations by publishing some historically inaccurate “facts” as investigative journalism. I have given below the link to the Pandora Papers site’s listing of offshore account holders of Sri Lanka and other counties: viz. = Browse by country Sri Lanka | ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database

 Tamils and allies in New York stage a protest at City Hall Park, NYC,

In the site there is no mention of Natesan, Nirupama Rajapakse, Gotabhaya R, Mahinda R or any of their relatives. Previously too when the Panama Papers were to be published, similar “news pieces” linking the Rajapakse clan to offshore accounts were published.

Again, there were many “news reports” just after the 2016 election that were given much publicity. For instance,

  1. a) a claim that Gotabhaya R (GR) fled the country on the election day in an air force plane to Singapore, but was refused landing rights, after which GR fled to Maldives. This report was published with photos! However, GR was seen washing his car at his house, the day after the election in 2016.
  2. b) There were reports that Lamborghini cars, owned by one of the Rajapakse kids, were found buried in the backyards of several Colombo houses.
  3. c) Mahinda Rajapaksa had fled the country to an island in Greece, rather than face charges!!

TWO: I was really annoyed at Scilla’s gossip being passed on as an ICIJ material. There were many inaccuracies in Alecci’s piece. You have already pointed out that D.A Rajapakse had little to do with disenfranchising the estate workers in 1948.

Again, this Natesan and Nirupama are small fry, and were hardly in the political limelight in Sri Lanka. Only thing Nirupama had in common with the Rajapakses was the name and being second cousins. Nirupama probably was more a friend of Chandrika than MR or GR.

If Alecci’s kind of slipshod work was done by journalists in Sri Lanka, Western journalists would have been preaching to us about the sanctity of journalist ethics, blah, blah, etc.

Alecci’s report no doubt is based on “facts” related to her by anti-government sources. I believe there are organised expat groups who keep feeding baseless stories to unwitting Western journalists.  

 APPENDIX: About the International consortium of Independent Journalists …. highlighting is theirs.

At the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, we want to inspire and cultivate a global community of reporters and readers who believe journalism can bring about positive change.

ICIJ is a unique organization. A U.S.-based nonprofit, we are both a small, resourceful newsroom with our own reporting team, as well as a global network of reporters and media organizations who work together to investigate the most important stories in the world.

Our network of trusted members encompasses 280 of the best investigative reporters from more than 100 countries and territories. We also partner with more than 100 media organizations, from the world’s most renowned outlets, including the BBC, the New York Times, the Guardian and the Asahi Shimbun, to small regional nonprofit investigative centers.

Drawing on the expertise and reach of our network, we collaborate on groundbreaking investigations that expose the truth and hold the powerful accountable, while also adhering to the highest standards of fairness and accuracy.

The ICIJ core team is small, but ambitious. We want to empower our readers to engage with their local communities about issues of global importance, such as broken systems and abuses of power. And we want to do that by harnessing the enormous strength of our extensive network.

In addition to our U.S. staff, we have team members in Australia, France, Spain, Hungary, Serbia, Belgium and Ireland.

We are passionate about the power of journalism and provide the tools and guidance needed to successfully pull off unprecedented reporting collaborations.

Over the years, ICIJ has released dozens of investigations – including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Panama Papers – and we have won many awards for our work.

ICIJ is fully funded by donations. You can read more about our supporters here, and explore the impact of our work here.

ICIJ encourages tips, leaks and story ideas from the public, whistleblowers, as well as from outstanding investigative journalists interested in collaborating with us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas.

If you are a journalist and want to be considered for ICIJ membership, please send us your CV and clips.


 Marian Wilkinson

 Linton Besser

Bill Birnbauer

Ross Coulthart …..Alumni

 Neil Chenoweth

SRI LANKA ….  Namini Wijedasa


Filed under accountability, centre-periphery relations, conspiracies, disparagement, doctoring evidence, historical interpretation, Indian Ocean politics, legal issues, life stories, news fabrication, politIcal discourse, power politics, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, slanted reportage, sri lankan society, tamil refugees, truth as casualty of war, unusual people, world events & processes

3 responses to “Investigative Journalism? Scilla Alecci’s Outrageous Essay

  1. Janaka Perera

    ICIJ’s criticism is directed not only at Sri Lanka but other countries too. How many of the allegations are factual and how many is fiction to we do not know.
    Whatever it may be we do NOT need the likes of ICIJ to tell us that corruption has been rampant in Sri Lanka over the past several decades no matter who was in power Whether it is the Niruma Rajapaksa or anyone else is irrelevant. Only the proverbial monkeys with political loyalties will fail to realise this hard reality

  2. If these journos are talking about corruption they should stick to it. They should not drag Human Right and other issues in.
    Human Rights and Corruption, both are modern day weapons of aggression and oppression.

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