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CHOGM 2013 a Lie Well Told

CHOGM 2013 a Lie Well Told

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Published by: Thavam on Nov 18, 2013
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07/01/2014

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Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi, AFP/Getty Imae! "ia F# Photo $iaryI imaine that beneath the cor%ia& !mi&e! an% e'chane o( )&ea!antrie! there i! much wee)in an% na!hin o( teeth takin )&ace at #em)&e #ree! the!e %ay!* #he (a+a%e that wa! .G 2013 !eem! to ha"e crumb&e%, at &ea!t in the eye! o( the wor&%, a&thouh certain&y not in mo!t )art! o( ri Lanka! main!tream me%ia* Imae! o( women an% re&ati"e! o( the %i!a))eare% throwin them!e&"e! on $a"i% ameron! con"oy in a((na %ominate wor&% hea%&ine!, o"erwhe&min the )hotora)h! o( ommonwea&th &ea%er! at .G*I %ont think a !in&e )re"iou! ommonwea&th meetin ha! witne!!e% the %rama an% the !)ectac&e that ho!tin the ommonwea&th ea%! o( Go"ernment eetin in ri Lanka brouht* #he a4a)ak!e reime e"en in their wi&%e!t %ream! wou&% not ha"e imaine% that a P %ebac&e o( thi! manitu%e wou&% un(o&%* ea"y-han%e% tactic! an% enera& boori!hne!! 5ha&&mark! o( the current reime6 on&y a%%e% (ue& to the (ire in!tea% o( (rihtenin (orein 4ourna&i!t! an% %i)&omat!*Fortunate&y (or the Go"ernment, they !ti&& contro& a &are chunk o( the &oca& me%ia 5both !tate an% non-!tate6 a! e"i%ence% "ery c&ear&y in the )rint an% e&ectronic new! co"erae o"er the )a!t (ew %ay!* o whi&e the wor&% eru)te% o"er ri Lanka! beha"ior %urin .G week, &oca& me%ia inore% a&mo!t com)&ete&y critica& i!!ue! aroun% the %ebarrin o( #ami&!, the ca&&ou! %i!rear% (or the riht o( (ree mo"ement by citien! an% (orein me%ia
 
a&ike, an% other re&ate% i!!ue!* #he Go"ernment a&!o cho!e to (a&& back on their time-te!te% !tratey o( &abe&in an% name ca&&in anyone who o))o!e! them a! 8terrori!t!, 8L##9 or L##9 !ym)athier! an% 8#ami& $ia!)ora (un%e%* o a&thouh %e(eatin the L##9 in 200: ha! been toute% a! the !in&e reate!t "ictory in the hi!tory o( ri Lanka they are not unwi&&in to re!urrect them (rom the %ea% in or%er to en!ure that they ha"e a !ca)eoat to b&ame (or their mi!(ortune!*o what can one ob!er"e (rom the e"ent! that un(o&%e% %urin .G week in ri Lanka in 2013;
The GOSL cannot handle a critical media
From bein %oor !to))e% by hanne& < out!i%e a hote& to cance&&in a new! con(erence !che%u&e% (or the (ir!t %ay o( .G, it i! c&ear that the Pre!i%ent wa! (ee&in the heat o( ha"in a me%ia that a!k! bruta& =ue!tion! without !hyin away (or (ear o( re)ercu!!ion!* A&!o un&ike in Par&iament there were no !ta&wart! to )ro"i%e the nece!!ary noi!e with which to %rown out the!e im)ertinent =ue!tion!* i! !omewhat anry re!)on!e! at the new! brie(in on #hur!%ay hih&ihte% hi! (ru!tration a&thouh rea&&y it wa! (unny that he !)oke about ri Lanka! &ea& !y!tem bein the !o&ution to the country! i&&!* .ne won%er! what the im)eache% hie( u!tice wou&% ha"e ha% to !ay to that* #he me%ia circu! !tarte% o(( &ike a ba%&y written %etecti"e no"e& a! hanne& < wa! o)en&y tai&e% by inte&&ience (rom the air)ort to the hote& an% therea(ter to e"ery &ocation they tra"e&&e%* #he i%ea wa! to intimi%ate them but the new! !tation )robab&y en4oye% it a&& the more a! they (i&me% their >!ecret e!cort! an% inter"iewe% )&ain c&othe! )o&iceman on the !treet* #he Pre!i%ent robu!t&y %ec&are% that >We ha"e nothin to hi%e? but 8!omebo%y went to the e'tent o( !to))in a train in or%er to )re"ent them (rom oin to @i&inochchi* What they )robab&y %i%nt e')ect wa! (or a&&um acrae to con%uct a BA with the !o-ca&&e% )rote!tor! at Anura%ha)ura on&y to (in% out that none o( them !eeme% to ha"e 5an% I re)eat none o( them C watch the new! re)ort i( you want to !ee it (or your!e&(6 e"en watche% the Do Fire Eone i%eo!iH* In e((ect what the o"ernment ha! %one i! i"en hanne& < enouh o( (ootae (or )robab&y two more %ocumentarie! on ri Lanka, a&& on their own !team*A  cameraman wa! )hy!ica&&y re!traine% (rom (i&min the Pre!i%ent! arri"a& at the .)enin eremony an% on&y three riti!h 4ourna&i!t! were amon the 200 4ourna&i!t! !che%u&e% to meet the Pre!i%ent at hi! Fri%ay )re!! con(erence that wa! my!teriou!&y cance&&e% an% then hi4acke% by the o"ernment P A** Awer* #he nationa& &i!t P ma!=uera%e% a! a  4ourna&i!t in or%er to attack the (orein me%ia who were )re!ent at the con(erence unti& he wa! ca&&e% to or%er by ichar% Jku, a ommonwea&th )oke!man* #he author !u!)ect! r* Awer may ha"e mi!took the )re!! con(erence (or a !ittin o( the ri Lankan Par&iament*owe"er, a&& wa! not &o!t* #he Go"ernment u!e% hri! Doni!, the ri Lankan
 
ih ommi!!ioner to the J@, to tack&e =ue!tionin (rom a not !o we&& in(orme% DD 4ourna&i!t* e !)oke e&o=uent&y an% imme%iate&y won a ma!!i"e a%u&ation on !ocia& me%ia* Fortunate&y (or r* Doni! the DD anchor %i% not =ue!tion him on how e'act&y the Go"ernment ha% im)&emente% the LL* #here wa! reat re4oicin becau!e (ina&&y !omeone ha% !too% u) to the too&! o( We!tern im)eria&i!m* #he reaction wa! ty)ica& an% to be e')ecte% a! e"en tho!e in ri Lanka with acce!! to a&ternate me%ia an% 4ourna&i!m (ee& a((ronte% when our human riht! recor% i! =ue!tione%* Do matter that (e&&ow citien! continue to &anui!h in re(uee cam)!, we &o"e the !* 2< mi&&ion !)ent on the .G (irework! %i!)&ay* We !eem to not be ab&e to %i((erentiate between )ro)aan%a an% the (act*  #hat we &i"e in a !tate, which i! increa!in&y authoritarian, i! not cau!e (or concern* Peo)&e were !hot %ea% (or )rote!tin the &ack o( c&ean water are a&rea%y (orotten*
The presence of foreign media in Sri Lanka has highlighted the abysmal failure of local media to report key issues
In ri Lanka &oca& me%ia &i"e un%er a con!tant threat an% it wou&% not be (air to 4u%e them on what they are (orce% to or )re"ente% (rom re)ortin %ue to the cu&ture o( im)unity )re"a&ent in the nation to%ay* owe"er on  #hur!%ay the 1<th o( Do"ember "iewer! o( #! Dew! 1!t were in (or a treat a! they watche% what once u!e% to be con!i%ere% one o( the u!ua&&y more new!worthy channe&! in ri Lanka %era%e them!e&"e! !hame&e!!&y o"er their re)ort on the attack on irikotha by the e'tremi!t u%%hi!t rou) the o%u a&a enaiiH* #he  Genera& ecretary, en* Gnana!ara #hera, &e% the monk! an% the mob, who were there to )rote!t the human riht! (e!ti"a& bein he&% at the JDP hea%=uarter! to hih&iht i!!ue! an% )eo)&e that werent oin to be %i!cu!!e% at .G! o((icia& )rocee%in! or "enue!* Whi&e it i! c&ear that both !i%e! enae% in (i!ticu((! an% (ou& &anuae, #! take on the who&e i!!ue wa! (a!cinatin* #hey cho!e to )in )oint )ro-JDP member! in the crow% in"o&"e% in the a!!au&t an% com)&ete&y inore the )art )&aye% by the  an% their oon!* #he  re)utation (or "io&ent an% unru&y beha"ior )rece%e! them, makin it "irtua&&y unimainab&e that they beha"e% with %ecorum an% (ortitu%e whi&e )rote!tin out!i%e irikotha* In (act "i%eo (ootae )ro"e! that it wa! =uite the contrary* #! take on the  attack on irikotha wa! tantamount to 4u!ti(yin their action!, i&&u!tratin the %e)th! to which ri Lankan me%ia wi&& !ink in or%er to !core )oint!*
David Cameron and the British press corps highjacked COG!
In my min% the a4a)ak!e !howca!e that .G wa! to be, wa! out manoeu"re% by riti!h Prime ini!ter $a"i% ameron an% the riti!h )re!! cor)!* Do amount o( counter-)hoto !hoot! with Prince har&e! cuttin hi! cake in o&ombo cou&% !a&"ae that* With the J@! %i)&omatic in"a!ion o( ri Lanka, the G.L wa! &e(t (umin an% irate in o&ombo a! $a"i% ameron an% hi! entourae (&ew into a((na on Fri%ay hour! a(ter the o)enin o(

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