Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Rajpal Abeynaike and the last 24 hours

Over the last 24 hours I've been acknowledged, abused by and apologised to by Rajpal. The reason for this post? Just to make sure the blog sphere (and the ever intrusive and secretive Lakbima Reporter) is kept abreast of what went down.

Chaar~max, a friend of mine, asked me to deal with Lakbima news about a post of his that had been published in last Sunday's paper without his permission. We decided that the best course of action would be to ask for an apology and an explanation as to why the author was not contacted for permissions. I called up Lakbimanews and asked to speak to the editor. I was put through to the business editor, Ashwin Hemawaththegama is the name I believe, to whom I explained the situation. He took my number down. When I asked why they did it, he got abusive, told me to fuck off and hung up.

I called back an hour later and asked to speak to Rajpal, and I was promptly put through. I explained what had happened and I told him that we were considering a few options, including taking legal action and also giving publicity to their ways through other media, including other newspapers. He got abusive and told me to publicise it in New York and the Great Wall of China (why he chose those two places still dumbfounds me). Again he swore at me and hung up.

I called back another hour later and told him that I thought the line got cut mid conversation. I asked him why the permission of the author was not sought. He said that since the article was on a public domain, ie the www, it was usable by anyone. At this point I asked him whether he steals articles off sites such as without their permission. He didn't reply. I then brought his attention to the fact that there was a disclaimer on Chaar~max's site stating that the material was not for commercial use. He said he had looked through plenty of blogs and had not paid attention to any licenses or disclaimers. How convenient. He lost his cool again and started shouting at me, at which I kept saying "all we want is an apology". Again he told me to fuck off and hung up.

Later yesterday, he posted a comment on a few blogs. Here's an appetizer of what he said:
" we tried to contact you, but it’s not possible in most of the blogs. We did contact some of the others though, who left contact e mails" - then why did he tell me that if it's in the public domain, he doesn't care who wrote it?
"It’s not as if any stuff was published without credits" - with all due respects, giving the name of the author of the article with the article is all well and good when the author is part of the team of journalists working for the newspaper, but when it is taken off a blog, or a website for that matter, sufficient credit is given only when a link to the website is provided.
"As for that one abusive caller…hh, well.. its difficult to tolerate put it succinctly. Can we keep the abuse out of this?" - if I was abusive, why did he bother to apologise to me?

Last night, while I was having dinner, I got a text, the transcript of which is provided below.
"I think it was a bit of a heat of the moment thing. sorry about that. vil it b possible 2 talk 2 u 2morrow past 2pm. Rajpal."
I replied very abruptly "Call me.i'll see what I can do".

This morning he messages me again.
"in fact why i wanted 2 call u was 2 see if u can write fr us direct under yr psuedonym or name. if u do v vil pay u handsomely. Raj"
which was quickly followed by
"make that 'v will pay u reasonably'"

I ignored the first, replied the 2nd and told him that I don't discuss anything over texts and if he needs to talk to me he knows how to contact me.

So, after having lied profusely on his comment, he texted me apologising for his phone conduct and promising to call me today. I still await his call, but not with baited breath. I'm positive he is unable to keep to his word.

Blogs are where some ppl write in order to vent. Some of those ppl, and I admit not all, do not want their work published, especially in the mainstream. Sri Lankans are taken for a ride by their own kind almost all of the time. But I'm not one to put up with it, especially when it's my friends or I who are taken on the ride.

Rajpal, let me remind you, you don't get respect. You earn it.

19 musings:

Fly ball said...

Mr Lakbima , you better appologise pulicly for this. It may be only one or two bloggers called you. But you better know that there are thousands of readers who is there reading blogs and writing blogs. They will never respect your paper if you didn't do so. Threatning will not work when it comes to good will.

David Blacker said...

Rajpal's fairly well known for ripping stuff off of blogs (also known as palgiarism). I recall that there was a complaint last year by a blogger (can't remember who) about an article published in the paper RA was with before.

I think you should pull some strings and get this post published in other newspapers. SL journalism standards are pretty bad, and this sort of shit should be discouraged.

maf said...

btw Rajpal Abanaiyake is meant to be a lawyer and he may well try to screw u over. However you could always complain to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka about his behaviour - they do have an ethics committee

maf said...

also there is a press complaints commission on ward place I think

Theena said...

Confab, macho, well done.

Again, Press Complaints Commission is one route of action that you need to take. If you want, I'll back it up; he did steal my article and put it up on Sunday Observer a year or so back.

I am with David on this. You need to put this on some of the other papers.

PS: Await the Rajpal apologist from Cerno's blog to come here attacking you for not understanding Rajpal's actions. He was, after all, giving us " a break".

Anandawardhana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anandawardhana said...

What an arrogance!!! Rajpal should've handled this better. These journalists still try to believe they are gods and others should be at their disposal. No Rajpal, unfortunately you are not gods anymore. This is Web 2.0 era. Forth estate is dissolved.

There are four paths to deal with this.
1. Ask for a public apology. Send a formal letter to the editorial board.
2. Go to Press Complaints Commission. (this is a sure thing and I strongly believe you should do this) This is the address:
65/5, Ward Place, Colombo 7.
And they have a website
3. Go to courts.
4. In addition you can go to the Bar Association and complain because he's a lawyer, yes maf is right. But I don't think Rajpal acted as a lawyer when this happened, he was acting as the editor and a journalist. So better leave that alone.

I'm sure many bloggers are willing to support you if you need any help. I will be available in person if you need any support going to the Press Complaints Commission - for the moral support.

Just Mal said...

So is Rajpal the editor of Lakbima? How do you actually pronounce his name?

I loved his writing when he was working for the Times. I can't believe he has stooped this low.

Editors tend to protect their own kind, so good luck with getting any sympathy from other papers.

I don't think you could complain to the Bar association about this.

David Blacker said...

"How do you actually pronounce his name?"

Rajpal? Well, the first syllabel's easy enough, and the second's pronounced like the Sinhalese words "pal mal".

Anandawardhana said...

Rajpal means the one who governs the state.
Raj + Pal

Raj= state
Pal= the ruler/governor

But he is mistaken if he things he can govern the others by abusing, scolding and stealing. :-)

I'm sorry Rajpal, you've asked for this.

confab said...

thank you everyone for your overwhelming response. theena has lodged a complaint which the PCC and is apparently not the first to do so. i got an email from a writer on groundviews who has since published a post quoting this post of mine, and giving plenty of negative exposure to lakbima and rajpal. i ask u all to continue calling rajpal on 2433919. pester him for an explanation, pester him for an apology. (wow i feel like a political activist!)

Java Jones said...

Hey man - great stuff! Thanks for acting on behalf of all of us and we shall be sure to follow up on it (in fact I dropped the guy a mail to the address off RD's post, but non-respondo!). It's about time that these guys get a bit more ethical and this, if nothing else, is plain bad manners.


Anonymous said...

Rajpal steals from COPYRIGHTED publications, he did so when he was editor @ observer. I guess, the only reason he got the job would have been coz he bum sucked the politician concerned. Calling him a journalist is a JOKE!

Anonymous said...

That's the tile of this blog:

Childish, Immature, Always on the look out for a good jam session.

So, it has lived upto its reputation, with its cheering squad.
Childish and immature -- over some blogs that were published, attibuted to writers -- though with no track back URL.
Love to read these childish natterings anyway.

Anonymous said...

Childish, Immature, Always on the look out for a good jam session.

Yoour blogsite and its cheering squad surely lived upto this discrition with with this kinf of rating over a non issue.
but amused reading these natterings anyway

Anonymous said...

this is very boring

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