1898 - 1907
Located at Chatham st Fort (now part of the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct) it's close proximity to the telegraph office gave this newspaper publisher an advantage in early reporting of international news.
Having it's own paper plant and a general printing department, it's staff included the editors F. Gardiner Brown, former reporter of The Lemington Spa Courier (UK) and Mr. William Smith and catered to the learned and progressive readership.
It was owned by Jeronis William Charles de Soysa (Gate Mudliyer) & John George Charles Mendis. (The head-office built by Sir Charles Henry de Soysa in 1873 is in the background).
The Ceylon Morning Leader (1907-1931)
The successor to the Ceylon Standard, it played a vital role in molding public opinion and pressuring the administration to release those who were detained, facing life imprisonment or death during the 1915 riots. Some of those released would go on to be the future leaders of the nation. The paper was edited by Armand de Souza and owned by AJR de Soysa & family. In 1908, the proprietors insisted that sub-editor De Souza take over, replacing JT Blazé's gentler prose with more forceful rhetoric. The Anglicised Colombo elite were later levied heavily as riot compensation.
Though largely forgotten, the paper was greatly responsible for the national awakening among the different classes and communities. It advocated for constitutional reform, particularly the right to elect members, including one 'Educated Ceylonese Member' to the Legislative Council and subsequently for the election of all unofficial members according to constituencies for an unofficial majority in the Legislative Council. In 1926 the paper carried a series of articles by SWRD Bandaranayaka in support of federalism and James T Rutnam's opposition to it in support of the unitary state.
Sir James Peiris, Sir Wilfred de Soysa and ELF de Soysa were also associated with this paper and Prof. JLC Rodrigo took on the editorial duties in 1921. In 1929 Dr. WA de Silva became the proprietor and his nephew Sir Susantha de Fonseka, the editor.
The Ceylon Independent 1928
The 1 penny newspaper then owned by Sir Marcus Fernando, member of the Executive Council of Ceylon, campaigned for the granting of Universal Suffrage and the acceptance of the Donoughmore Constitution.
The opposition to the suffrage was led by EW Perera via the Daily News.
It is remarkable that powerful individuals like Sir Marcus from a minority background supported such a dis empowering move.
AP Van Reyk, Noel Gratiaen and M Saravanamuttu were the editorial staff. Those previously associated with the paper include; George Wall (who as early as 1888 had agitated for a more responsible form of government), Hector Van Cuylenburg, AE Buultggens & LE Blaze.