Questions to the Foreign Media writing on Sri Lanka
Quite a lot of mainstream media agencies some who are even having local reporters writing for them are ranting away juggling the same words and parroting the same thing. Please pause for a moment & answer some questions or at least think about them before writing & trying to fool the readers. With alternate media & opinions a plenty, people are not as fooled or as ignorant as mainstream media like to believe.
Here are some of the news headlines
Sri Lanka faces crisis as two stake claim to be lawful prime minister
US, Japan Freeze Aid To Lanka Over Constitutional Crisis, Says Former PM
Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Crisis: Rajapaksa’s Dark Past Shapes the Present
Colombo on edge as Sri Lanka faces constitutional crisis
Sri Lanka’s Constitutional Crisis turns violent (co-author of this is Iqbal Athas)
Sri Lanka crisis: Fears of a ‘bloodbath’ in power struggle
New York Times
Sri Lanka Faces Constitutional Crisis as President Unseats Prime Minister (co-author of this is Dharisha Bastians whom Ranil’s Government appointed Editor at a state newspaper Sunday Observer)
‘Constitutional crisis’ could destabilize Sri Lanka, pushing it closer to China
Here’s some questions for media personnel (foreign & local) to ask themselves & answer
- Have you sought legal advice to see whether the decision is legally questionable before sensationalizing the story for commercial & political purposes?
- The UNP leader & former PM is a lawyer & so too are most UNP MPs as are their inner circles – they should be the first to know if anything is unconstitutional & they are the best people to file case in Supreme Court if it is not – why have they not done so, afterall the UNP leadership boasted that after they came to power in 2015 the judiciary became independent?
- Where is the ‘bloodbath’ – we are into the 11th day since democratic ouster & nothing of a bloodbath media presents. However, a personal security officer attached to a Minister in former PM’s Govt shot dead in innocent civilian inside the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation. Why does Foreign media not demand action for this crime! Why does media not question the likely outcome of UNP MPs who are more worried about losing their portfolios & perks & are trying to surround parliament & intentionally trying to cause chaos with an ulterior plan in mind. People be warned that this is plan B of their modus operandi. These protests have nothing to do with the legal or illegal removal of a PM except to survive politically knowing their political future is now at stake. We are dealing with some worried UNPers trying to stir trouble manipulating the people into action.
- Everyone is going on a tangent over a supposed constitutional crisis – legal experts are expressing their views but why are they not moving Court? Why does Friday Forum, Church of Ceylon, Transparency International, Centre for Policy Alternatives, National Peace Council not file in Supreme Court instead of issuing statements, running online petitions, writing articles, giving interviews? What do they expect to achieve – no legal action simply public drama to fool masses
- How can you people ignore the most important fact that with the exiting of the SLFP MPs from the so-called National Government the entire cabinet collapsed & along with it the PM & President was well within his powers to appoint a new cabinet headed by a new PM. Reading 19a without reading clause applicable to national government is rather silly. Moreover, another legal question is while the 19a refers to national government the present UNF refers to themselves as national unity government so how valid are these terms legally too. Moreover, only SLFP & UNP signed a MOU for two years which expired in August 2017 & was not renewed.
- Public sentiment & public disappointment gaged by interviewing only UNP circles or foreign-funded NGO members & their cronies is not public sentiment. We have not seen any spontaneous protests against the decision by the President except the one’s organized by the UNP – how can media use this as an argument that the public is against the ouster of the former PM? If media is going to speak to the same circles that the former PM mingles with, naturally they will be weeping & wanting his return because they will be the first to lose their perks & privileges. Trying to make the public hysterical by quoting these Colombo circles is only making these circles hysterical & a public nuisance to the rest of the country!
- On 26 October 2018 the former PM was constitutionally ousted did people come to the streets shouting in protest? NO, they lit crackers to celebrate. That showed the will of the people which the President too echoed when he informed foreign envoys that 75% of people wanted the change.
- Calls about sanctions by West/India/Japan – on what legal or constitutional basis – just because a handful of people claim the President’s decision is wrong without any legal backing? Is this how these countries the custodians of democracy function?
- Can the UN Secretary General phone democratically elected leaders & tell them to hold elections, tell them to convene parliament – are these not violations of the UN Charter?
- Why was the same media & same actors now crying foul when after a presidential election Ranil Wickreamsinghe was appointed Prime Minister on the lame excuse (election manifestos are not legally binding & candidates can promise the stars & moon but once elected he has to abide by the constitution & the law of the country) that the President promised in his election pledge. Ranil Wickremasinghe was then Opposition leader & with 46 UNP MPs he did not command any majority in the House to be named PM. Wasn’t that disappointing the people? Moreover, he was appointed PM without removing the sitting PM (DM Jayaratne) Even if we accept this lame excuse of appointing Ranil as PM in 2015, the President did not promise to make UNP MPs the government but that was what happened & elections were promised in April 2015 which didn’t happen & elections were only held in August 2015 when Ranil W had no choice but to dissolve parliament before the COPE report held him directly responsible for the 2 Central Bank bond scams. Why is media hiding these important facts?
- Why is the media ignoring the plot to assassinate a President with a foreign intelligence agency name associated with the plot?
- Why is the media not highlighting UN interference in Sri Lanka by the manner even the UN Secretary General is demanding reconvening of Parliament & virtually saying to reinstate the dislodged Prime Minister. Aren’t these violations of the UN Charter & the spirit in which the UN is supposed to function?
- How can everything be illegal & irregular only now when media ignored a string of illegalities that took place since January 2015?
- Manner that CJ Mohan Pieris was removed without any due process
- Manner 2 Central Bank Bond Scams took place the main cause for the economic crisis in Sri Lanka in particular how the former PM took the CB directly under him to facilitate the 2 scams.
- Manner state land is being sold & enterprises set up manned by foreigners that function even without ministry approvals
- Manner ethnic & communal tensions are being ignited in order to justify clamp down on opposition targets & bring in new laws that curtail the people’s freedoms & rights
Do the right thing – Rule of Law – Good governance – such lovely terms but all of them have life only if they are followed. Simply stating them in official statements or reading them out at public podiums is just useless & is now making people laugh. It has come to a point where we can tell what these foreign envoys, foreign statements etc will say even before they issue them! Again, assume that the new government is not following rule or law, good governance, righteous rule blah blah blah…then can the media explain why a removed Prime Minister is not doing the right thing but refusing to evacuate Temple Trees and not only that allowing all sorts of people to enter the official premises & they are not only dirtying the place there is even a likelihood that security aspects are also getting exposed & items belonging to the State (including gifts from other States) may also disappear with no one accounting for these losses. What is the point in not leaving even when the removal has been gazette making it official while not even taking the legal avenue available by going to courts? How can media justify this?
Now the latest is ‘do not sell my vote’ seriously full marks for creativity to fool the masses. How did Rajapakse’s MPs jump to the MS-Ranil Alliance in 2014 that set the stage for the unseating of Rajapakse in January 2015… didn’t every Rajapakse MP going to Singapore do a leap jump after landing? Buying MPs & facilitating their crossovers has been happening for quite some time but never forget only 29 MPs are selected from the National List all 196 are voted by the People…how about not voting candidates without a clean record! If so the former PM with a string of controversies & allegations linked to his name should not stand a chance either!
Honest journalism is dead. Social media at least gives a podium for people to challenge. Print media on the other hand bats on with lies & controversies without giving right of replies. But if you are well read enough, if you can balance versions against the backdrop of lies & extremes – real eyes, can realize, real lies! Truth must matter whoever tells it, justice must matter whoever receives it & whoever it is against.
Shenali D Waduge