Colombo media movement shows sensitivity for linking it with TNA

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 08 February 2012, 23:54 GMT]
Colombo-based Free Media Movement (FMM) on Tuesday strongly reacted to news appearing in SL government-run ‘Dinamina’ on 03 February which had alleged that the members of the FMM had been in collaboration with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in campaigning at Geneva against the Colombo government. Totally disowning any link with the TNA, the language and tone of the FMM press statement only show the anxiety and extra-sensitivity prevailing in Colombo's media associations over the South perceiving any image of their sympathy with the aspirations of Tamil politics in the island. Even in the times of the LTTE, the Colombo media associations were not sensitive like this, political observers in Colombo said.

Meanwhile, Colombo-based Sunday Leader that was founded and edited by the slain journalist Lasantha Wickramathunga, has been now bought over by a Rajapaksa proxy, and the first victim to get booted out was senior journalist Kusal Perara known for his sympathy to the plight of Tamils, Colombo media reports said.

Full text of the press statement by the FMM, carried by IFEX, follows:

7 February 2012

FMM voices concern over allegations in "Dinamina" newspaper article

(FMM/IFEX) - 7 February 2012 - The Free Media Movement (FMM) unequivocally rejects the allegations and insinuations made in the "Dinamina" headline story on Friday 3 February as blatant lies, unfounded, unsupported and unsubstantiated. We further believe, the report was published with the malicious intent of undermining independent media, which is fighting for democracy and freedom of expression, and those who stand for it.

The fabricated article refers to a conspiracy between the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the FMM and claims a delegation of TNA MPs and six members of the FMM have left for Geneva to mobilise agitations against the government and cause embarrassment for Sri Lanka during next month's sessions of the United National Human Rights Commission.

We categorically states that neither the Movement nor the individual members have, in the recent or distant past, had any discussion with the TNA on any matter and rejects with absolute contempt, the allegation that six of its members have left for Geneva. These allegations are pure fabrications concocted in the mind of a sick person.

We challenge the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited and the Editor of "Dinamina" to prove these absurd allegations, and declare with conviction that we will dissolve the Movement and refrain from all associated activities, should the allegations be proven true.

However, notwithstanding our challenge to prove the allegations against us, we wish to state with utmost sincerity that the FFM will not hesitate to join forces with any political party or movement functioning within the democratic parameters, to fight for media freedom. It has been so, and it will remain so. If a need arises for us to appear before any international organization of which Sri Lanka is a member, we will certainly do our duty and represent matters honestly and truthfully.

A government controlled media organization such as Lake House, through one of its flagship publications like "Dinamina", making unfounded and sinister allegations against a well-meaning and honest organization committed to media freedom is, without a doubt, inspired and sponsored by the government. It reminds one of the attacks on media personnel in the past when falsehoods were planted in their publications prior to such attacks.

We reiterate our earlier challenge to prove these unfounded allegations. In failing to do so we demand an apology to us, published in "Dinamina", as prominently as the original fabrication.

Sunil Jayasekara
Free Media Movement (FMM)

Hana Ibrahim
Free Media Movement (FMM)


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