About Unbowed & Unafraid

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_page::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_page.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_node_status::operator_form() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::operator_form(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/modules/node/views_handler_filter_node_status.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 0.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home1/unboweda/public_html/profiles/prosepoint/modules/views/views.module on line 843.

Still under construction

Back story

When veteran journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge was murdered on January 8, 2009 it broke the backbone of free media in Sri Lanka. Two weeks later his journalist wife Sonali Samarasinghe, under threat herself was compelled to flee her country. Samarasinghe was the consultant editor of The Sunday Leader and the Editor in Chief of The Morning Leader both published by Leader Publications pvt ltd.

Forced into exile in March 2009 she wrote a letter to then Inspector General of Police Jayantha Wickremaratne calling for an independent inquiry into her husband's murder. The Sunday Leader was now understandably too scared to publish the letter and it was left to a courageous blog - Groundviews maintained by an intrepid Sri Lankan Human Rights activist, Sanjana Hattotuwa to publish the letter in full.

His widow realised that if she were to fight for justice for her husband it would have to be outside of the self censoring Sri Lankan media now whipped into submission by a dictatorial and repressive regime.

She now wrote to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden and to the President of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse calling for an international inquiry into her husband's death. On May 3, 2009 she made an impassioned plea in a widely publicised statement to UNESCO on world press freedom day warning the government it may have to face charges for crimes against humanity if it didn't address the grave human rights crisis in Sri Lanka.

She then launched the Unbowedandunafraid.com website together with two other journalists loyal to her husband's cause. The website was initially launched in memory of Lasantha Wickrematunge who had become a guiding light and an inspiration for journalists, song writers, architects, and artistes across the world. Sonali pledged to dedicate the site to finding her husband's killers.

Samarasinghe is a lawyer, senior journalist and editor herself. She ran the newspaper together with Lasantha and acted as editor in chief of The Sunday Leader when Lasantha Wickrematunge was away. Immediately after the murder, grief stricken as she was, Sonali bravely continued to run the newspaper even while her husband's remains lay in their home. She supervised the January 11, 2009 edition of The Sunday Leader newspaper from their home even as mourners flocked. She directed that his final editorial which was handed over to her at her home by a young colleague on Friday evening (9) be published as well.

For over a decade since 1998, Sonali had worked together with Lasantha as the Chief Investigative Journalist at The Sunday Leader newspaper. A professional, with a Masters in International Relations from Australia and a Law degree from the University of London, she practised as a Defence Counsel for seven years before joining the media field as a full time journalist.

Sonali commenced her journalism career over 20 years ago in 1988 albeit as a free lance journalist at The Sunday Times Newspaper in Sri Lanka. When she joined The Sunday Times as a reporter in 1988 she came to the newspaper with experience as a magazine editor and with a Diploma in Journalism.

She is a multiple award winning journalist. Her awards are listed below.

International Awards

November 2009

Oxfam Novib / PEN International Freedom of Expression Award in 
”recognition for her courage in raising difficult issues around power 
abuse and corruption.


” The award was announced at a ceremony at the The Hague on November 18, 2009

Oct 2008

Human Rights Prize 2008 – Special Award “In recognition of courageous and compelling journalism on Human rights in Sri Lanka” by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) together with five Sri Lankan media bodies

Sept 2008

Global Shining Light Award 2008

International Award for investigative journalism presented by the Global Investigative Journalists Conference (GJIC) presented in Lillehammer, Norway.

National Awards:

2007

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR:

SCOOP OF THE YEAR

COLUMNIST OF THE YEAR

Women & Media Collective award in recognition of being the first woman editor of The Morning Leader Newspaper

2006

Zonta International Woman of Achievement Award

2005

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

2000

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

SCOOP OF THE YEAR

BEST JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR (ENGLISH LANGUAGE PRESS)

1999

JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR

1998

SCOOP OF THE YEAR