The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times is a weekly newspaper published in English, consisting of five supplementary publications, namely, the TV Times, Funday Times, Mirror Magazine, Hit Ad and ST Appointments. It was first published in 1997 by Wijeya Newspapers Limited, which also produces several English language publications such as the Daily Mirror and Daily Financial Times (Daily FT). The organisation’s Sinhala language publications includes Lankadeepa, Irida (Sunday) Lankadeepa and Tharunaya. Meanwhile, its Tamil language publications includes the Tamil Mirror, daily and weekend Financial Times as well as Wijeya. The Sunday Times has an audience share of 1.27 percent, whereas its daily edition Daily Mirror has 0.55 percent audience share.
In addition to being the founder of Wijeya Newspapers Limited, Ranjit Wijewardene is the Chairperson and Managing Director of the organisation. Together with Upali Newspapers Limited that was founded by Upali Wijewardene, Wijeya Newspapers Limited has occupied a significant space in Sri Lankan print media.
Media Companies / Groups
Wijeya Newspapers Limited
The Wijewardene family is the majority of shareholder of Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Ranjit Wijewardene, Sujan Wijewardene, Ruwan Wijewardene, Irushi Neela Bulathsinhala and Ranjini Wijewardene collectively own 99.98 percent of the company. Meanwhile, Sarathi Limited, a company affiliated with the Wijeya Group of Companies, also holds shares at Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Besides members of the Wijewardene family, Anandi Balasingham owns a lesser percentage of shares at Wijeya Newspapers Limited. However, Anandi Balasingham serves as the Estate Administrator for Sarathi Limited which, as stated above, is affiliated with the Wijeya Group of Companies.
Voting rights have been assigned based on the shares held by an individual or company. Therefore, the voting rights are as follows: Ranjith Wijewardena – 89.99%, Sujan Wijewardene – 10%, Ruwan Wijewardene – 0.0002%, Irushi Neela Bulathsinhala – 0.0002%, Ranjini Neela Wijewardene – 0.0002%, Sarathi Limited – 0.002%, Anandi Balasingham – 0.0002%
Affiliated Interests Founder
Ranjit Sujiva Wijewardene, also referred to as Ranjit Wijewardene, is the son of Sri Lankan media proprietor D.R. Wijewardene, who founded the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (ANCL, also known as Lake House) in 1926, prior to its nationalisation under Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s government in 1973. Ranjit serves as the founding Chairperson and majority shareholder of Wijeya Newspapers Limited. Although the company was formed in 1979 under the name of Wijeya Publications Limited, it started publishing the weekly Irida Lankadeepa newspaper in 1986, and shortly afterwards, the daily Lankadeepa newspaper in 1991. Ranjit also holds 0.57 percent of shares at the ANCL. In addition to holding the position of a Chairperson at Wijeya Newspapers Limited, Ranjith also serves as the Chairperson and Managing Director at Lake House Printers & Publishers Ltd., Chairperson at Lake House Bookshop Pvt Ltd., Chairperson at LH Plantations Pvt Ltd., Chairperson at Ranweli Holiday Village Ltd., Chairperson at Sarathi Ltd., Chairperson at Stamford Lake (Pvt) Ltd., Chairperson at Wijeya Graphics Pvt Ltd., and President at the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka. Ranjith is also on the Board of Directors at Freudenberg & Co. (Ceylon) Ltd. and R.S. Printek Pvt Ltd.
Upali Wijewardene, the founder of Upali Newspapers (Pvt) Limited, is Ranjit’s cousin. Meanwhile, the incumbent Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and the Leader of the United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremesinghe is Ranjit’s nephew.
Ranjit Wijeywardene married Ranjini Neela Senanayake, the granddaughter of D.S. Senanayake who served as the first Prime Minister of Ceylon. Other notable family members from Ranjini's family include Dudley Senanayake (uncle) the second Prime Minister of Ceylon, and Rukman Senanayake, a former Member of Parliament. Ranjit has three children, including current State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene, and Sujan Wijewardene, who is the Executive Director of Lake House Printers and Publishers Limited, a company affiliated with the Wijewardene Group.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
Ranjit Sujiva Wijewardene is the Chaiperson of Wijeya Newspapers Limited, the publisher of Lankadeepa. See above for more.
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
Sinha Ranatunga is the Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Times newspaper
Affiliated Interests other important people
Parakrama Sujan Wijewardane, – also referred to as Sujan Wijewardene, serves as the Deputy Chairperson at WNL and owns 10 percent of the shares in the company.
Dinendra Ruwan Wijewardene, – also referred to as Ruwan Wijewardene is Sujan’s brother and serves as the current State Minister of Defence for the Government of Sri Lanka and owns 0.002 percent of shares at WNL. In addition to his ministerial portfolio, he serves as a Consultant and Personal Assistant to the Chairperson of WNL.
Revenue (in Mill. $)
Operating Profit (in Mill. $)
Advertising (in % of total funding)
The founding year of the Sunday Times was taken from the outlet’s Facebook page. Meanwhile, the official website of the Sunday Times functions only as a news portal. Information on the outlet and key people was therefore obtained from secondary sources. While the Media Ownership Monitor research team reached out to Wijeya Newspapers Limited by formally requesting for the company’s information on 20 July 2018, the company responded to the aforementioned request on 17 August 2018. From the response received, the team was unable to use the market share percentage provided (75%) as the team did not have access to the figures used to arrive at this percentage. However, information on the organisational structure was cited from the response provided by the company as well as from the Department of Registrar of Companies. Readership data was obtained from the Kantar Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB) for the year 2017.