Colombo, Media and Communications, Peace and Conflict

Response to article in Colombo Telegraph

An article published in the Colombo Telegraph (see PDF here, the site itself continues to be illegally blocked in Sri Lanka by all ISPs) makes several allegations against me. This hasn’t been the first article on that site which has targeted me personally and Groundviews as a platform. It is however the most serious in a series I expect to continue into the future. While I do not intend to engage on Colombo Telegraph on its site – the comments section is a cesspool of bile by those hiding behind veils of anonymity – I would like to flag just two points around the article.

I find it curious that the article refers to the Media Unit coordinator, who isn’t named, as a male. The last time CPA’s Media Unit had a male coordinator was before 2004. Since 2004, the institution has had two female coordinators – one from 2004 to 2012, and the other from 2012 to date.

In 2009, a series of email exchanges with the then coordinator of the Media Unit, CPA’s Executive Director and the Editor of Colombo Telegraph, an erstwhile employee of CPA, also clearly alluded to allegations along the same lines as that which is now in public. Clearly then, given that these receipts and associated farrago of allegations made in the article seem to have resided with the Editor of Colombo Telegraph for over ten years, and have also in the past been alluded to in emails but never substantiated, it is curious as to why they only now appear in the public domain.

Let me also say this.

The article published today against me is yet another example why Colombo Telegraph‘s on-going and illegal block by all ISPs in Sri Lanka is so ill-advised. In blocking the site, the Government of Sri Lanka gives it an air of authority that ill fits the quality of discourse featured on it. And yet, if we cannot countenance the worst that is written of us, without any substantiation and for the most parochial of reasons on the principle that it has as much a right to be published as that which praises us, we aren’t really champions of media freedom. For this reason alone, I remain as committed to the unblocking of Colombo Telegraph as I am truly appalled by the content published and penned by its Editor.