Victor Ivan

Majuwana Kankanamage Victor Ivan  is Sri Lankan journalist. He was a Marxist rebelin his youth and later became the Editor of the controversial Sinhalese newspaper Ravaya. He served as the Editor of the Ravaya for 25 years consecutively since its inception. Victor is an investigative journalist, political critic, a theorist, social activist and also an author of several books. He was the 7th accused of the main court case on the Youth Insurrection 1971. The panel of judges described him as the most colourful character of all suspects respondents. Judgment of the Criminal Justice Commission. Inquiry No, 1 – Government Printer- page 255. He was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment at the end of the inquiry. During his imprisonment he abandoned the doctrine of the JVP as well as that of Marxism. While rejecting the doctrine of violence he became an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi adopting the philosophy of non-violence expounded by him.

Early life

Born on 26 June 1949, Ivan was educated at St. Anthony’s College, Kandy. and St. Aloysius’ College.


Victor Ivan entered the field of journalism in 1986, at a time when the country was in turmoil with the outbreak of violent youth insurrections triggered by the Sinhalese in the South and the Tamils in the North. “The Ravaya”, the monthly magazine that he launched soon became popular among the readers and turned out to be the magazine of highest demand at that time. Revelation of the presence of radio-active substances in the products of “Nestle” company in the aftermath of the Chernobille Disaster was one of the most remarkable article published by Ravaya magazine. The Ravaya magazine maintained a critical and analytically approach. It had an average monthly sale of 40,000 copies. With the surge of JVP insurrection, almost all media organisations cautiously refrained from reporting things which were not in favour of the JVP as well as the security forces that were fighting against the JVP. Thus, when all other media agencies remained silent, the Ravaya adopted a bold policy of expressing its views openly. It followed a policy of criticising the excesses committed by both parties – the JVP and the security forces. During this period, a large number of media people were assassinated by the JVP and the security forces alike on account of their taking sides of either of the two parties. Those who were sympathetic to the JVP came under severe wrath of the security forces and vice versa. The rebels proscribed the 1988 presidential election declaring it is illegal and demanding the voters to boycott it. The JVP adopted a policy of assassinating those who defied their orders. Victor Ivan, through the Ravaya magazine appealed to the people to ignore the orders of the rebels and exercise their right to vote. The strategy of the JVP was to prevent the unlikely change of the government and create a favourable atmosphere for the candidate of the governing party to win the election and obtain the support of the defeated opposition parties in their pursuit of propelling the youth uprising into a successful end. But Victor Ivan openly declared that if the JVP prevents the government change by force, it will undoubtedly result in the wholesale extermination of the rebels themselves by the government. It so happened that the ruling party won the election and eventually the JVP was crushed.

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