Former MP Udaya Gammanpila’s statement on FactCheck.lk was telecast during the ‘Ada Derana’ prime time news on May 15, 2020. We regret to note that Gammanpila’s statement regarding FactCheck.lk’s methodology and its previous fact-checks is inaccurate.
The objective of the online platform, FactCheck.lk is to demonstrate the accuracy of statements made by the key decision makers, on topics that are relevant and important to the public. We would like to highlight that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and former President Maithripala Sirisena—among others—have constructively engaged with us on the factchecks we published on them paving the way towards a meaningful conversations on the issues discussed.
These fact-checks increase the opportunity for the public to obtain accurate data and information on issues that are relevant and important to them. Moreover, they enable key decision makers in the country to maintain a more accurate position and a higher level of accountability with regard to the statements they make.
When considering the points raised by Gammanpila in his statement, he states that during the period starting from the establishment of FactCheck.lk and ending with the Presidential Election—which took place on November 16, 2019—FactCheck.lk has not categorised any statements made by the “anti-yahapaalana” group as “true”. However, FactCheck.lk has fact-checked a statement made by former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa that was published in the Divaina newspaper on September 02, 2019 and determined it to be ‘true’ ( http://FactCheck.lk/claim/mahinda-rajapaksa-5).
Gammanpila further stated that the statements made by members of the United National Party (UNP) that FactCheck.lk has categorised as ‘false’ are particularly unimportant. However, FactCheck.lk has categorised several statements made by members of the UNP on topics that are of public importance and relevance—including the taxation policy on cigarette sales ( http://FactCheck.lk/claim/mangala-samaraweera ), budget allocations for the education and health sectors in the country ( http://FactCheck.lk/claim/sagala-ratnayake), Sri Lanka’s per capita income and regional rankings ( http://FactCheck.lk/claim/patali-champika-ranawaka), the debts of state owned airlines ( http://FactCheck.lk/claim/patali-champika-ranawaka-3), and legal provisions in Sri Lanka to arrest terrorists ( http://FactCheck.lk/claim/Ranil%20Wickremesinghe-2)–as ‘false’.
In his statement, Gammanpila stated that we “misrepresented accurate facts as being false”. We have ensured that any person who believes the final categorisation we make after fact-checking someone’s statement is unfair or inaccurate has the opportunity, and the right, to contact us immediately and submit their response. Moreover, this has been indicated alongside every fact-check we have published. Therefore, if the fact-checks and categorisations we have published through FactCheck.lk appear to have misrepresented accurate facts as being false, we request that Gammanpila immediately notify us of this matter. Thus far, we have fact-checked five statements made by Gammanpila, and have categorised them as ‘false’, ‘blatantly false’, and ‘partially true’. If our categorisations are found to be flawed, Gammanpila has the ability to respond to them using the ‘right of reply’ we presented. If—upon reviewing the arguments and/or the data presented to us—we find that our fact-checks need to be changed, we will take immediate steps to update the relevant fact-checks.
Fact-checks on former MP Gammanpila by FactCheck.lk