Sri Lankan singer Yohani de Silva appointed cultural ambassador by Indian High Commission? Fact Check

A viral social media message claimed that the popular Sri Lankan singer, Yohani De Silva, has been appointed the cultural ambassador by the Indian High Commission in Colombo. Yohani became popular after the number “Manike Mage Hithe” hit more than 130 million views on YouTube.

Yohani, 28, is a Sri Lankan rapper and her song “Manike Mage Hithe” is a Sinhala song that was originally sung by Satheesan Rathnayaka and Dulax ARX in 2020. The peppy version of the song has been on the Top 10 chart of the YouTube Global Music Index for quite some days.

However, the social media is abuzz claiming that she was appointed cultural ambassador between India and Sri Lanka.

FACT CHECK

Since the singer is of Sri Lankan origin, the claim evoked wider interest as it should be the Sri Lankan government which should have announced her as cultural ambassador, not India. Digiteye India took it up for fact checking.

Actually, on September 21, Yohani posted pictures (above) of an event held by the Indian Cultural Centre of the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka. “Dr. Rewant Vikram Singh Director, Indian Cultural Centre (now called Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre), High Commission of India, hosted us today in his office,” she wrote.

Even the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka praised Yohani for the song and described her as the “newest cultural ambassador”, which was taken as an official endorsement of Yahani in a new position.

Here’s the Facebook post by the high commission on September 18 that praised Yohani as “the newest cultural Ambassador”, a diplomatic reference to people-people cultural exchange. But the social media has misinterpretedit.

“A proud moment as the newest cultural Ambassador Yohani is feted by national TV networks in India. And why not? With >110 million YouTube views, her #manikemagehithe has captured millions of Indian hearts from celebrities to common people. True spontaneity and depth of thousands-year old India-Sri Lanka relations at its best!” stated the Indian High Commission. But newswave.lk has headlined it as below:

The praise has been extrapolated by other enthusiastic netizens to make it viral and state that the Indian High Commission has appointed Yohani as their cultural ambassador.

The Indian High Commission has never said this as the High Commission clarified to news agency AFP later.  Moreover, the website of the cultural wing of Indian government Indian Council for Cultural Relations never said anything to this effect officially as India’s cultural ambassadors are usually Indians while Yohani can be made cultural ambassador by the Sri Lankan government, not Indian High Commission. Hence, the claim is false.

Claim: Sri Lankan singer Yohani de Silva “appointed” cultural ambassador between India and Sri Lanka by the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka.

Conclusion: The singer has been praised as a cultural ambassador and not appointed as such.

Our Rating: Misinterpretation —

About Arun Nag

Arun is with Digiteye India since the beginning as the main source for re-writing stories and for re-checking the facts and images. He writes on general and political issues. He can be reached at admin@digiteye.in or softmediahub@gmail.com

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