Ejournalists, epromises – egads!

As reported in the Daily Mirror on the 21st of May 2007:

Dissident eJournalists expose broken ePromises

Moments before the awarding of certificates took place a dissident group of e-journalists, led by ‘Ravaya’ reporter Lasantha Ruhunage approached the head table and demanded to be allowed to voice the injustices faced by some of the participants at this program.

“We are protesting for valid reasons”, said Ruhunage, explaining that their batch had initially been promised that, the journalists who successfully complete their course will receive computers.”

Another cause for the dissidents to voice their opposition was the decision of the ICTA to hold their certificate warding ceremony at a five star hotel instead of using that money to purchase them computers. Yet the group had been informed that the funds utilized for the ceremony were not sufficient to buy PCs, and were told by the ICTA that the computers can be purchased with a discount of 50%, according to a letter distributed at the ceremony by Ruhunge and his allies. This course of action led to a state of disorder with several e-journalists refusing to receive their certificate and gift tokens from the Minster, despite being present at the ceremony.

Looks like ICTA promotes ICT4Conflict a tad more than ICT4Peace.

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9 comments on “Ejournalists, epromises – egads!

  1. Susrutha
    May 22, 2007 at 9:28 am #

    Looks like ICTA promotes ICT4Conflict a tad more than ICT4Peace.

    Ha. Ha. Ha. I completely agree with you. This is true in more than one sense. One only have to look how many Nanesala’s have been launched in North and East of Sri Lanka, against the number of Nenasalas in the Sinhala dominated areas (especially the ones in Buddhist temples, which were set up without a proper tender calling process.) to realise the truth in that statement.

    Have you noticed this? ICTA was quick to deny the charges made by Daily Mirror yesterday, but it has so far failed to make a public statement on the tender fraud allegations made earlier by The Sunday Leader and recently by Ravaya. (More details at http://vksamaranayake.blogspot.com )

  2. Palitha Ediriweera
    May 22, 2007 at 11:04 am #

    Now the latest trend in Sri Lanka is to use the online resources for slinging mud at each other. No I am not accusing this site, which had not been involved in any such activities. But there are many other sites registered at Kottu do that sort of things.

    In addition to Blogs, e-mails are widely used to spread insults, false allegations etc about the people the users do not like.

    Perhaps we can call these as “e-Mud”.

  3. Sanjana Hattotuwa
    May 22, 2007 at 11:22 am #

    Dear Palitha,

    Your observation is pertinent and well taken.

    I certainly don’t want this blog to become a place to hurl “e-mud” at anyone, but the case as made in the media against ICTA recently is depressing, if proved to be true.

    As the apex institution of ICT in Sri Lanka, and certainly as a agency run and controlled by the Government, even the mere allegation of a misappropriation of funds leaves one to suspect that somewhere, someone has made a quick buck. That corruption is so rampant, and growing in Sri Lanka, directly affects the quality of governance and of the policies enacted not just by ICTA, but by this government.

    For the record, I was hesitant to link up to the blog referenced above – while fully respecting the right of individuals to open blogs and write therein as they see fit, it’s easy to get carried away with the insults. I’ve addressed this issue of online civility extensively on this blog, and in no way want to see comments here being used to wage private wars of words between individuals and organisations.

    Best,

    Sanjana

  4. Nuzreth
    May 22, 2007 at 12:12 pm #

    The allegations made by the journalists were completely baseless and false. Please read the clarification to this article: http://www.dailymirror.lk/2007/05/22/ft/16.asp

  5. Sanjana Hattotuwa
    May 22, 2007 at 12:29 pm #

    Dear Nuzreth,

    Thanks for that link.

    I would appreciate if you point me to a similar response to the allegations against ICTA made by the Sunday Leader and Ravaya?

    Best,

    Sanjana

  6. Palitha Ediriweera
    May 22, 2007 at 12:36 pm #

    Hi Sanjana,

    Many thanks for your comments.

    However, in the clarification issued by ICTA they admit that they have presented free (second hand) computers to the first batch of the journalists trained. I see this as something ICTA as a government agency should not have done.

    I do not think journalists are within the poverty bracket of the country, so giving the PCs on charity is not acceptable. Instead, ICTA could have donated those PCs to rural schools who really deserve them.

    Giving PCs to journalists on charity (not to mention conducting free courses for them) is a questionable act. Some of these journalists are from institutions like Upali Newspapers, Sirasa TV, etc which are obviously not poor organisations.

    Why should we use tax payers money to train journalists who work for the private sector (and obviously not poor)?

  7. Palitha Ediriweera
    May 22, 2007 at 12:37 pm #

    Hi Nuzreth,

    Me too waiting for the formal ICTA denial on the news reports on Sunday LEader and Ravaya.

  8. Nuzreth
    May 23, 2007 at 10:11 am #

    Well, Sunday Leader’s online version isn’t a ‘free-to-view’ edition and the Ravaya website has been temporarily disconnected. There will be a clarification in this week’s edition.

  9. Sanjana Hattotuwa
    May 23, 2007 at 10:17 am #

    That’s great – thanks.

    However, not entirely sure what you mean by “Well, Sunday Leader’s online version isn’t a ‘free-to-view’ edition and the Ravaya website has been temporarily disconnected”. Are you saying that ICTA & you cannot access the Sunday Leader website? I’ve also seen the Ravaya article online, and on Kottu, by someone who scanned in the relevant article and uploaded it to Flickr.

    Even if they are not on the interweb, they are clearly very much in the public domain and raise very serious questions about the fiscal propriety of ICTA. I’m not sure whether you are trying to say that you haven’t read them, or that it’s not important to respond as quickly as ICTA did to the article in the DM simply because these two articles are not easily accessible on the web.

    Best,

    Sanjana

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