In light of a Government unable and unwilling to investigate violence against journalists and independent media, satire is one way in which violent events, processes and individuals can be held up for public scrutiny more frequently. In the first submission to the site, Banyan News Reporters publishes a piece on how TV Remote Controllers are a threat to National Security. The submission notes that,
“The television remote controller poses a serious threat to the country’s national security, the government has determined. A new law will soon be introduced to register and regulate this electronic item. The ubiquitous gadget helps unpatriotic persons to change the channel when matters of national importance are being broadcast on state TV channels. This, in turn, deprives the government its rightful opportunity to address and inform all its citizens, security advisors have pointed out.”
Writing in for the first time, Valkyrie in From the ‘sole representative’ to the ‘sole alternative’: Justice for, and within the Tamil Community asks pertinent questions and ends on a thought-provoking note,
“What kind of future do Tamil politico-armed groups have? Since the usefulness of these groups to the government is dependent upon the existence of the LTTE, what would their position be in a world without the LTTE? We can venture to guess that it is unlikely they will be able to eschew government patronage and become legitimate advocates for the rights of the Tamil people and at the same time survive politically within a majoritarian state that is unwilling to acknowledge the concerns and fulfill the legitimate demands of its minorities.”
RMB Senanayake in The Anti-Conversion Bill violates the freedom of Conscience and the freedom of expression notes that,
“There is a trend to convert the triumph of the Armed Forces over the LTTE in the north into a triumphal Sinhala-Buddhist ultra nationalism. Their ideology is that the country belongs only to the Sinhala Buddhists and that the other communities be they of different ethnicity or religion must live on the sufferance of the Sinhala Buddhists. It is also part of the ideology that no Buddhist should embrace any other religion and therefore the Christians who seek to make converts of Buddhists should be punished severely, never mind if the convert voluntarily and genuinely accepts the Christian religion and not out of any inducement -material or otherwise offered by anybody who preaches to him. “
The article has already generated a lot of commentary on the site to date.
Groundviews occasionally features a longer analytical / academic piece by writers. This month, we feature Darini Rajasingham Senanayake. In To Win the War and Lose the Peace: Beyond Sri Lanka’s ‘War on Terror’ she notes that,
“There is little doubt that the LTTE engages in terrorist acts and combating it requires special measures. However, renaming Sri Lanka’s complex conflict a ‘war on terror’ may leave little space for the reasoned analysis required to understand and address the root causes of the conflict so as to ensure a lasting political solution that would underwrite sustainable peace. The quarter of a century-long conflict in the country cannot be solved by military means alone. It would require a political solution that ensures power-sharing with the minorities in the north and east. Otherwise the LTTE would very likely regroup and return to fight another day, as has occurred in the past. However, because the current regime in Colombo has key nationalist parties as its allies, it seems unlikely that it would be able to deliver a genuine power sharing package at this point in time. The All Party Representatives Committee, convened almost three years ago to formulate a political solution, has yet to deliver a solution acceptable to all Sri Lankans, particularly the island’s minority communities.”
Media Freedom in Sri Lanka
Dinidu de Alwis, a well known and well read blogger and journalist in Sri Lanka shares some thoughts on the future of independent media in Sri Lanka and the significant challenges it faces today.
Interview with Lakshman Gunesekera, President of the Sri Lanka chapter of the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) and former Editor of the Sunday Observer.
For more short videos that look at the future of the LTTE in English, Sinhala and Tamil, click on Vikalpa’s The future of the LTTE: What next? playlist.
Poets against injustice
International award winning Sri Lankan poet Indran Amirthanayagam protests in verse the incarceration of journalist J. S. Tissanaiyagam in “To The Courts, In Remorse“.
Groundviews, Sri Lanka’s first and award winning citizens journalism website features an unparalleled range of ideas, opinions and analyses on humanitarian issues, media freedom, human rights, peace, democratic governance and constitutional reform.