Of the many pieties that have been promoted in the Western media in the aftermath of Maithripala Sirisena’s victory over incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa in the recent Sri Lankan presidential election, none has been more cherished than the notion that Sri Lanka is now on board with “democracy.” This claim is counter-posed to Sri Lanka’s recent cozy relationship with China and other authoritarian countries. A new Cold War is supposedly being fought, with Sri Lanka’s election reduced to its strategic relevance to policy makers.
A word about the editor of the Daily News Rajpal Abeynayake which is in no way intended to be personal to him. Rajpal in his editorials uses gutter language sometimes bordering on vulgarity to attack others. This gutter language he uses also in a morning daily one hour radio show on SLBC called “People’s Power “which is disgusting to listen to, is full of lies, and personal attacks on individuals. It is absolute rubbish and only uses prime time of SLBC when many are driving while listening to music. Recently he called MP Bathiudeen who crossed over a pig. When Bathiudeen protested he apologised to pigs for comparing them with the MP. This is the type of newspaper editor Rajpal is.
So if any newspaper readers still foolishly buy the Daily News and Sunday Observer I request them stop buying it, boycott it completely, and switch to another more decent and unbiased newspaper. They can certainly read them online. If you’re watching Rupavahini or ITN news you’re wasting your time. Switch to any other news channel.
On October 2 and 3, more than 300 journalists, lawyers and activists demonstrated in central Colombo, calling for an end to attacks against members of their professions. They say the threats have created a hostile environment where speaking and writing the truth is a dangerous proposition.
The poor mainstream media coverage of the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama in June 2014 was a vacuum filled, in large-part, by content published in real-time and for weeks after the violence on the web and online social media fora.
This volume, variety and velocity of perspectives and content, while in the main insightful and bearing witness to inconvenient truths, nevertheless featured partially correct or downright false information, paraded as fact and shared widely.
Amnesty International‘s Citizen Evidence Lab was launched in early July, and intends to support human rights researchers and advocates to better take advantage of the new digital data-streams emanating from conflict zones and other human rights hot spots. It is an online space to share best practices, techniques and tools for authenticating user-generated content for human rights defense.
Given how timely and useful information on this blog was for journalists and citizens connected to online media in Sri Lanka, Groundviews, Vikalpa andMaatram are pleased to release, with the permission of Amnesty, Tamil and Sinhala translations of key content published to date. Topics and content relevant to Sri Lanka’s domestic context, as and when published on the site, will be translated into Tamil and Sinhala.
Access the content via http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=746409e6de7b1c2a97474620a&id=92cd9551f9
What is the situation today? Freedom of association is under its worst threats in independent Sri Lanka, despite the attempts by state media and “Para state propaganda units” to deny it. Those who supply ideological justification for this government (including some of the Petitioners in Ratawesi Peramuna and who were in fact beneficiaries of the regime) will soon realize that they will one day need to form an association to defend themselves, independent of the state apparatus. People change but principles do not. Probably it is time for us to remember the words of Laurence J. Peter, Canadian educationalist who moved into USA and who published the famous “The Peter Principles”. “The devil could change. He was once an angel and may be evolving still”.
“Leader of the gang who disrupted the media workshop to be held in the auditorium of the Sri Lanka Press Institute warned that ” if this institute allows any such training in the future done say we are bad boys”. The person who can be clearly indentified in the video was referring to a workshop where Tamil journalists form the Jaffna was invited. This flagrant violation of peoples right to association and expression took place in the heart of the city on 26 July 2014 .”
“The Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA) condemns in the strongest terms yet another act of intimidation of media by the government orchestrated mobs who sabotaged a planned media workshop for Jaffna journalists scheduled at the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) today( 26). The workshop on Digital media Security for a group of media personnel from Jaffna was to be held at the Sri Lanka Press Institute today. However, 16 journalists who were heading to Colombo for the media workshop was detained by the Army at the Omanthai Military Check Point on the purported charges of having Cannabis in their procession on Friday evening and were handed over to the police. They were subsequently released by the police, on the same day night and were instructed to return to Jaffna. (The driver of the van travelled by journalists remains in police custody.)”
“We, the Free Media Movement (FMM) and Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLMTA) are here to day to inform you about the harassments faced by out fellow Tamil media journalists yesterday and today (26 July). Sri Lanka Journalists Association, the Muslim Media Forum, Sri Lanka section of the SAFMA are unable to present here today but they all have endorsed this press conference.”
The controversial British broadcaster Channel 4 has decided to leave Sri Lanka due to “unacceptable intimidation” that prevents them from reporting, the channel’s news editor says.
source: Colombo Telegraph
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is due to start tomorrow. The last few weeks has seen series of violations of Human Rights and Commonwealth principles in Sri Lanka, which is the host country and expected to lead the Commonwealth in the next two years. Victims of human rights violations, their families, activists, local and international journalists, UN experts and opposition politicians from Sri Lanka and Commonwealth countries who are critical of the government have been amongst those targeted. Pro-government protests have been allowed to go ahead, even as Police obtained a court order preventing protests in the Colombo city today and tomorrow. In this article are some incidents reported, based on testimonies of victims, eye witnesses and media.
Read the full list here.
Sri Lanka’s bloody 25-year civil war earned the south Asian island a reputation as one of the world’s least safe places to be a journalist. Reporters faced extensive censorship and the threat of violence. Today, four years after the final defeat of the Tamil Tiger guerrillas, the government of charismatic, populist president Mahinda Rajapaksa argues that, with wartime restrictions lifted, the media are freer than at any time in a generation.
The reality is more complex. Threats and attacks on journalists continue, while organisations that monitor press freedoms, including the US civil liberties group Freedom House, say Sri Lanka now suffers from a subtler but no less extensive system of media control, marked by occasional violence, widespread intimidation and extensive self-censorship.
We share a report published by Tamil Against Genocide on media violence and the question of race and ethnicity of journalists/media employees in Sri Lanka.
source: Tamil Against Genocide
In the run up to the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka there is burgeoning media attention on the human rights abuses and suspected war crimes the host nation has tried to conceal. Many hope the attention will keep Sri Lanka accountable and also facilitate progress on human rights and good governance. While media scrutiny during the Summit is indeed important, if the regime in Colombo is to be made accountable for its crimes it is vital that the vigilance continues.
Read and download the full report here.
Time magazine, carrying a cover story comparing the Myanmar Buddhist Monk Wirathu and his organization ‘Buddhist 969’ to the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), has been withheld by customs at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).
The Myanmar Government has taken steps to ban the July issue of Time, as the cover page of the magazine portrays the Monk with the headline describing him as ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror.’