He has departed to stroll among the angels. In the esteemed realms of Sri Lankan journalism, Gamini Weerakoon emerged as a commanding presence, imprinting an enduring legacy on the media terrain of our island nation. The recent passing of this stalwart marks the conclusion of an era, leaving a void for those who revered his incisive stewardship as the editor of The Island and the Sunday Leader. Beyond the newsprint, Weerakoon’s influence reverberated through the corridors of thought, as he spun a weekly yarn that became an integral thread in the tapestry of Sri Lankan journalism. In this homage, we pay tribute to the life and impact of this journalistic behemoth, encapsulating the quintessence of his formidable career.
From the genesis of his career, Gamini Weerakoon embraced the written word with an ardour that illuminated the pages of Sri Lankan journalism. In an era of media metamorphosis, his early journalistic forays were defined by an unyielding commitment to truth and an unwavering focus on the exigencies of the day. Weerakoon’s trajectory through the journalistic echelons positioned him as a discerning and principled luminary.
The editorial helm at The Island and the Sunday Leader showcased Weerakoon’s unwavering allegiance to journalistic integrity. Under his stewardship, these publications metamorphosed into arenas for vigorous debate, investigative prowess, and an unswerving dedication to the public’s right to knowledge. Colleagues and contemporaries marvelled at his editorial finesse, seamlessly balancing the imperative of hard-hitting news with a compassionate understanding of the human narratives cloaked behind the headlines.
Weerakoon’s career resonates with resonant quotes that encapsulate his convictions and reflections on the symbiotic relationship between media and society. One such profound declaration that lingers is, “A free press is not a luxury. A free press is at the absolute core of equitable development because if you cannot enfranchise poor people, if they do not have a right to expression if there is no searchlight on corruption and inequitable practices, you cannot build the public consensus needed for the reformative policies and the redirection that is needed in order to build a just society.”
This maxim embodies Weerakoon’s belief in the pivotal role of the media in nurturing a just society and the indispensability of journalism in holding the powerful to account. His words continue to kindle a flame in the hearts of a new generation of journalists, urging them to champion the cause of truth and transparency.
Weerakoon’s weekly columns were an eagerly anticipated rendezvous for readers who savoured his unique concoction of wit, sagacity, and unflinching commentary. Whether dissecting political convolutions, societal zeitgeists, or global affairs, his columns served as a mirror reflecting the intricate tapestry of our world. His gift for distilling intricate issues into accessible narratives endeared him to a diverse readership.
As we bid adieu to Gamini Weerakoon, his legacy lingers in the hearts and minds of those touched by his prose. His impact transcends the inked pages of the newspapers he helmed and the columns he penned. Weerakoon bequeaths a legacy of journalistic brilliance, a dedication to truth, and faith in the transformative potency of a free and accountable press.
The contributions of Gamini Weerakoon to Sri Lankan media have imprinted an indomitable mark on the annals of our journalistic history. His life stands as a testament to the enduring potency of journalism in shaping public discourse and contributing to the greater good. As we ponder upon his illustrious journey, let us commemorate and exalt the colossal legacy that was Gamini Weerakoon.