Category Archives: press freedom & censorship

The International Crisis Group under the Microscope … in 2014

 Berit Bliesemann de Guevara, in MATSUSAS, 12 September 2014, where the title runs “Reading the International Crisis Group or why think tank reports have to be taken with a pinch of salt” …. with highlighting empasis veing the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Recently the New York Times caused turmoil among prestigious and influential US think tanks when it published an investigative article about concealed connections between these non-profit research organisations and a broad range of foreign countries, among them Norway, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar (NYT online, 6/9/2014). The article revealed that leading think tanks like the Center for Global Development, the Brookings Institution and the Atlantic Council are receiving funding from foreign governments in exchange for influence on the organisations’ recommendations to US policy-makers. The article criticized this practice for its lack of transparency and the supposed loss of intellectual freedom and objectivity. ‘The money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington’, the authors cautioned. The attacked think tanks rejected the accusations, pointing to ‘credibility’ and ‘scholarly independence’ as their major ‘currency’, although one interviewee admitted that self-censorship could be a future problem because in times of dwindling funding sources, saving one’s job could well trump the urge to be critical.

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A History of Political Machinations directed against Nagananda Kodithuwakku

Victor Ivan, in Ravaya, where the title is “Barring of Nagananda Kodituwakku from Practicing Law”

The Supreme Court has issued an order barring Nagananda Kodithuwakku , Attorneyat-Law and  Public Interest Litigation Activist who has entered the  political arena of Sri Lanka as a prospective presidential candidate, from practicing as a lawyer for three years. I think it is important that we assess Kodithuwakku’s role in the light of this incident.

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Lakshman Gunasekara’s Reflections on the Political Turmoil in Late 2018: Three Essays

Lakshman Gunasekera

ONE. Lakshman Gunasekara: “Politics vs Constitutionalism,” in Horizons, 9 December 2018 …

When the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH, what a mouthful) began hosting conferences in those old-fashioned 1970s, we, the ordinary citizens hadn’t a hope of freely strolling into its premises (let alone its halls). One needed a conference invitation to enter the gates and some ‘delegate’ or ‘media’ tag to enter the main hall or ‘committee rooms’ (as they were quaintly termed then). Today, in our lower-middle-income country comfort zone, people are constantly streaming in and out of the BMICH, for weddings, exhibitions, conferences, convocations, concerts and seminars, all at the same time (and I am sure there is romance in those verdant gardens).    Continue reading

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Anne Abayasekara’s Sturdy Witness to Our Troubled Times

Suvendrini Kanagasabai Perera, in Island, 26 December 2018, where the title reads In the thick of it: Anne Abayasekara, Unfaltering Witness. Review of book – ‘Telling It Like It Is’emphasis via highlights below being the work of The Editor, Thuppahi

Reflecting on her life at an address to the Rotary Club in 2012, Anne Abayasekara made a telling comparison between the life of the creative writer and what she described as her own “enduring love affair with journalism”: “The distinctive feature about journalism … is that in writing for newspapers, you don’t sit in solitude, but have to be out on the street, in the thick of people and events.”

Anne Abayasekara spent over 65 years in the thick of it, thoroughly enmeshed in a world she relished and clearly loved, but nonetheless viewed with great clarity. Her extraordinary career spans Independence in 1948 (she attended the festivities as a young reporter for the fashion pages), the three grim decades of the war and the unpromising peace that has succeeded it. Through it all, she held up a mirror to the society she loved, bearing witness to its atrocities and most egregious failures, as to its small acts of grace and moments of beauty. This carefully distilled selection of her writings provides an important snapshot of this period. At the same time, emerging from its pages is a picture of the writer herself: a spirited, large-hearted, deeply humane woman, characterised, above all, by a rare, sustained courage. Continue reading

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Confronting Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Q & A in 2018 – Swedish Journalist Mikaelsson

Johan Mikaelsson, in Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, 5 November 2018, where the title is Impunity Island: Sri Lanka’s “predator emeritus” on rebound,”

Many local journalists feel discomfort when they hear the name Gotabaya Rajapaksa[1]. He is seen as a ruthless person, who was behind the murder wave that took the lives of their colleagues. They see it as unthinkable to contact him and ask critical questions. The few foreign journalists who tried to put some pressure on him when he held his powerful position 2005–2015 were met with anger. After 2015, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been almost invisible in international media.

 

‘Gota’, the nick-name under which he is usually known, is now often surrounded by a glow, a shimmering luster. Many want to see more of ‘Gota’, they regard him as a wonder maker. Most editors avoid challenging him. A few journalists in the domestic English-language press have asked difficult questions, but ‘Gota’ appears to be ready to move on, possibly as a candidate in the presidential election in 2020.

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Apey Ayithivaasikam: Guarding Sri Lanka’s Right?

Sri Lanka Guardian ….

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Secularism on the Wane in South Asia

P K Balachandran, in Financial Times, 27 October 2018 -where the title reads “Decline of Secularism in South Asia”

South Asia’s multi-religious countries, namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, started off with a noble wish to be ‘secular’ and keep religion out of the business of the State. Hindu-majority India, under the leadership of the avowedly secular Jawaharlal Nehru, explicitly stated that it would be secular.

Nehru

Jinnah–Getty Images DS Senanaayke

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