Mervyn De Silva

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Not to be confused with Mervyn Silva.
Mervyn De Silva
Born (1929-09-05)5 September 1929
Died 22 June 1999(1999-06-22) (aged 69)
Alma mater Royal College, Colombo
University of Ceylon
Occupation Journalist
Spouse(s) Lakshmi Fernando
Children Dayan Jayatilleka

Mervyn De Silva was a Sri Lankan journalist. He was the Editor in Chief of Lake House and of The Times of Ceylon, editor of the Ceylon Daily News, Lanka Guardian[1][2]

Early life and family[edit]

Mervyn De Silva was born on 5 September 1929.[3][4][5] He was educated at Royal College, Colombo and University of Ceylon (Peradeniya), where he was a contemporary of Felix Dias Bandaranaike.[6] He edited the university newspaper between 1949 and 1953.[3]

De Silva married Lakshmi Sylvia Fernando on 20 August 1955.[7] They had one child, Dayan Jayatilleka, who is a politician and diplomat.


Whilst studying law, De Silva joined Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited, popularly known as Lake House, in 1954 as a part-time parliamentary reporter.[3] He became a permanent member of staff at Lake House in 1960 and in 1965 he was appointed deputy editor of The Oberserver.[3] In 1970 he was appointed editor of the Ceylon Daily News, the country's leading English-language daily newspaper.[3] He was appointed editor-in-chief of the Lake House group of newspapers in 1972.[3] Lake House was nationalised in 1973 and in 1976 De Silva was sacked by the government.[3] He became editor-in-chief of the Times of Ceylon group of newspapers in 1976.[3] The Times of Ceylon group was itself nationalised in 1977 and in 1978 De Silva was sacked by the government again.[3] De Silva founded the Lanka Guardian journal in May 1978 which he continued to edit until his death.[3]

During his career De Silva also worked for numerous foreign media including the BBC, Financial Times, The Economist, The Times of India, The Deccan Herald, New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Le Monde Diplomatique, The Guardian, The Christian Science Monitor and Far Eastern Economic Review.[3][6]

He was involved in the establishment of the Council of World Affairs with Major General Anton Muttukumaru and initiated the Foreign Affairs Advisory Group along with Gamani Corea, Lakshman Kadirgamar, Stanley Jayewardene and Gamini Wijesinghe.


De Silva died on 22 June 1999 aged 69.[3][8][9]