Colombo, Media and Communications

A response to “News websites caught red-handed doctoring video to make president look racist”

A news item on Lakbima News titled News websites caught red-handed doctoring video to make president look racist has this to say of Groundviews.

“Websites such as Groundviews exacerbated the situation by saying there was confusing reportage, not highlighting the obvious doctoring which was apparent to anybody listening to the video soundtrack and the clip. But this is Groundviews, a partial NGO website run by one Sajana Hattotuwa, under-qualified sub-standard ‘‘journalist’’ pretender, with a sub-standard ‘qualification’ from some obscure Indian university – which obviously did not equip him to be a man with any integrity to tell the truth.”

This is unsurprising reportage from Lakbima News, but the misleading and completely erroneous nature of this news item is evident upon even a cursory reading of our story titled Confusing reportage over comments by the President: Propaganda or fact? and the vibrant discussion and debate it generated. There is nothing more to add in response, save to urge “Media Raj”, who is too much of a coward to write under her / his name, to take lessons in reading and comprehension before pontificating on aspects of journalism. But to make it easier for Lakbima News, we urge the author to take a look at this comment penned in response to another commentator on Groundviews and the advice in it,

@Atheist, where have we perpetuated any lies reg. this story here or elsewhere?

The point of the article, which you have clearly missed completely, was to highlight the positions taken up by Lanka Truth and Lanka News Web in contradistinction to the reportage in the Sunday Times. There are subtle, yet in the context of Sri Lanka’s vexed post-war ethno-political relations, significant differences in emphasis, intended audience and geo-location in the three stories. Ergo, depending on the article, the President’s speech can be perceived very differently. This is also why we have raised concerns over the media campaign of Sarath Fonseka continuing to use an erroneous account of this speech as the basis for its propaganda.

This follows what to the best of our knowledge was the first questioning over the veracity of the stories on Lanka News Web and Lanka Truth, as noted in the article, as well as the first confirmation, though our own independent verification, that the stories were inaccurate.

Reading and comprehension don’t seem to be your forte, which is a personal privation. We trust that it will not, to the extent possible, influence your public engagement in this forum.