Sri Lanka’s two major newspapers ceased publication on Saturday due to print shortages and soaring prices triggered by the country’s worst currency crisis. The Island, an English-language daily along with its Sinhalese sister newspaper Divayina, went out of print as the paper’s printing shortages and price hikes hit the media organization. In a statement, Upali Newspapers Limited said: ‘We regret to inform our readers that a shortage of newsprint has forced us to suspend publication of the Saturday print edition of The Island until further notice.
Sudden increases in commodity prices and fuel shortages have forced tens of thousands of people to queue for hours at gas stations. People also face power cuts every hour every day. All basic necessities are in short supply due to import restrictions due to the currency crisis. As part of its response to the crisis, the Sri Lankan government has requested assistance from India. After months of resistance, the government is preparing to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for economic relief.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst currency crisis on record after the pandemic hit the country’s tourism and remittance earnings. Newsprint import costs have also risen significantly since the government’s decision to float the Sri Lankan rupee against the US dollar earlier this month. The island newspaper, published since October 1981, operates as an electronic newspaper. Sri Lanka is facing severe economic and energy crises due to foreign exchange shortages.
In this regard, LIOC, the local branch of Indian Oil Corporation, implemented a gasoline price hike at midnight on Friday. This was its fourth LIOC price increase since February. India recently announced that it would provide Sri Lanka with its $1 billion line of credit as part of a financial aid effort to help Sri Lanka cope with its economic crisis. New Delhi granted Colombo a $500 million line of credit in February to help it buy petroleum products.
Summary of news:
- Due to the currency crisis, newspapers in Lanka are forced to suspend publication
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