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Attacks on HRDs by ITN in May2013-03June2013

Attacks on HRDs by ITN in May2013-03June2013

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Published by director2005
Attacks on activists by Sri Lankan state media
Attacks on activists by Sri Lankan state media

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Published by: director2005 on Jun 06, 2013
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02/25/2014

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 1
 Attacks on Sri Lankan Human Rights Defenders, NGOs & Opposition politicians throughthe Independent Television Network (ITN)
State media (newspaper, TV and radio) in Sri Lanka has been used often to attack Human RightsDefenders HRDs in Sri Lanka in the last few years. The ITN had started a fresh round of attacks inMay this year. Those targeted have included prominent heads of NGOs, lawyers, journalists, clergy,academics and activists in exile, the leader of the main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), other MPs of the party and smaller opposition parties and their MPs and leaders. They havebeen branded as supporters of terrorists and of being part of western conspiracies, working to getforeign money and overthrow the Government. Accor
ding to its website, ITN is a “public company under State jurisdiction”.
http://www.v2.itn.lk/?page_id=1089 )ITN is known to be controlled by the Government and not broadcast any news critical of the present Government.
 These accusations were centred around three main issues:
Collaboration between the Friedrich Nauman Stiftung Foundation (FNF), oppositionparties and NGOs (revolving around a June 2010 workshop by FNF for oppositionpoliticians)Participation at the funeral of the Liberation Tigers of 
 Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader’s
father in January 2010 (Held in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, but alleged to have been held in Indiaby the news broadcasts)Protests against the electricity price hikes in May 2013
 Accusations:
FNF, the opposition leader, opposition members of the Parliament, NGOs and journalistshave been collaborating to overthrow the Government, acting on the agendas of the LTTEsupportive Diaspora, and establish a pro-LTTE Government in Sri Lanka The opposition leader, NGOs and journalists have been getting funding from FNF for theaboveFNF
provided financial support towards the funeral of the LTTE leader’s father’s funeral in
India, and the FNF country representative, a FNF Director and the General Secretary of the
Federation of Media Employees Trade Union attended the funeral of the LTTE leader’s
father in India
Names of some persons mentioned:
Ms. Sagarica Delgoda, FNF Country RepresentativeMs. Shyamila Perera, Executive Director of Institute for Democracy and LeadershipMr. Sandun Gamage, Program Director of Institute for Democracy & LeadershipMr. Dharmasiri Lankapeli, General Secretary, Federation of Media Employees Trade UnionDr. Paikiasothi Saravanamuttu, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Alternatives
Names of some organizations mentioned (in addition to the above):
 Transparency InternationalCampaign for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE)Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association (SLWJA)Free Media Movement (FMM)Federation of University Teachers Association (FUTA)
 
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Names of some persons whose images were shown (in addition to the above named persons):
Rev. Fr. M. Sathivel, Anglican Priest and Human Rights DefenderMr. Sudarshana Gunawardena, Executive Director, Rights Now Collective for Democracy Mr. Udaya Kalupathirana, INFORM Human Rights Documentation CentreDr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri, President of FUTADr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne, leader of the Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP)
Mr. Mano Ganesan, leader of the Democratic People’s Front
(DPF)Leader of the Opposition and the UNP, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe and other MPs of theUNPOpposition members of parliament from the United National Party (UNP) had confirmed that they have participated in FNF organized workshops, but had pointed out that senior GovernmentMinisters and MPs had also participated in FNF organized workshops. UNP members had alsodenied they accepted money from FNF. No evidence was presented by the ITN in relation to any of the allegations levelled.Some examples of the news broadcasts are given below:
Date and timeof newsbroadcastLink to the news broadcast(Sinhalese) & relevantsegmentSummary of contents and remarks
14
th
May 2013,7pmhttp://varunamultimedia.com.au/videos/btv/youtube/itn-news/itn-news_-14-05-13/play.html?1 (5.53-10.31)Shows images of several HRDs and oppositionpoliticians, names several HR organizations andsays conspiracy against country will starttomorrow in guise of protest against electricity tariff hikes. Says NGO forces are pursuing the Tamil Diaspora agenda of establishing Eelam (aseparate Tamil Homeland in the North and Eastof Sri Lanka).19
th
 – 
18.24) Accuses opposition politicians and NGOs suchas the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) of trying to overthrow the Government based onthe agenda of LTTE
 – 
Diaspora and bringing into power a pro-LTTE UNP to power. Alsoaccuses the FNF of having connections to theUN High Commissioner for Human Rights andthe anti-Sri Lanka UN Human Rights Council.Shows images of the High Commissioner forHuman Rights, opposition politicians, the FNFCountry Representative and several other HRDssuch as Rev. Fr. Sathivel, Mr. SudarshanaGunawardena and media activists such as Mr.Dharmasiri Lankapeli, Mr. Sunanda Deshapriya,Mr. Poddala Jayantha in a protest.
(The latter twoare in exile since 2009).
The news broadcast alsomentioned that liberals from Germany of thesame-sex orientation were speakers at some of the workshops conducted by FNF and attendedby opposition politicians from the UNP.
 
 3
20
th
 – 
10.29)Same as above21
st
 – 
03.56 in part II)Says the FNF Country Representative went tothe Criminal Investigation Department (CID) forquestioning with a representative of the GermanEmbassy and lawyers. It also accuses the Ms.Shyamila Perera and a Director of the Institutefor Democracy Leadership and Mr. DharmasiriLankapeli of the FMETU of attending the
funeral of the LTTE leader’s father in India
, withMr. Lankapeli being highlighted through a redcircle. Images of Ms. Shyamila Perera are alsoshown. FNF is also accused of providing funding for the funeral. It also shows an image of Dr.Paikiasothi Saravanamuttu and says CPA (of  which Dr. Saravanamuttu is the ExecutiveDirector) also has direct contacts with FNF.22
nd
 – 
10.23)Same as above23
rd
 – 
6.31) Accuses exiled journalists of being involved inprotests against the country and shows severalexiled press freedom activists (such as Mr.Sunanda Deshapriya and Mr. Poddala Jayantha),as well as others like Mr. Dharmasiri Lankapeli ina protest march.It accuses Ms. Shyamila and Mr. DharmasiriLankapeli of participating in the funeral of the
LTTE leader’s father in India, with Mr.
Lankapeli being again highlighted through a redcircle. FNF is also accused of providing funding for the funeral. It also says Attorney at Law Mr.Sandun Gamage went to participate in anti-SriLankan activities during the Geneva Council.25
th
 – 
3.48) Accuses that the opposition political party  Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is working  with NGOs to overthrow the Governmentthrough strike actions. And also accuses theUNP of using workshops and money of FNF tooverthrow the government. Shows images of Mr.Dharmasiri Lankapeli (highlighted by a redcircle) and says FNF funded people to attend thefunerals of relatives of the LTTE leaders. The
FNF Country Representative’s photo was also
shown and she was also accused of trying tooverthrow the government.

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