Breaching Protocols Governing Press Freedoms To Pander To Terrorists Is Illegal Regardless Of Who Gets Sanctimonious About it!
Posted on August 31st, 2009

Insight By Sunil Kumar

August 31st 2009
In Colombo, Sri Lanka yesterday a Sri Lankan reporter was sentenced  to 20 years in prison on charges of violating the country’s strict anti-terror laws. There can be no leniencies towards indicting and incarcerating through the Nation’s Justice System, anyone who violates this to the extent of publishing treasonous material which the journalist in question J.S. Tissainayagam has been found guilty of. Harsh thought the judgement may be in the eyes of some it seems a necessary one!
 
His bold and excessively exaggerated articles in the now-defunct Northeastern Monthly magazine in 2006 and 2007 which criticized the  Government’s conduct of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels and accused authorities of withholding food and other essential items from Tamil-majority areas as a tool of war has cost him dearly.
 
He should however consider himself fortunate as perhaps if this  had happened in a country like China the punishment would have been much more severe. There is nothing to justify such publications by a journalist regardless of whether he has won the highest Awards France could offer to a Journalist or whether US President Barack Obama has cited him as a brave individual as it is still a violation of A Sovereign Democratic Nation’s Laws of The Land and a felony!
 
There is no getting behind the fact that the subject content of journalist Tissainayagam in these publications for which he was jailed was directed at the Government of Sri Lanka and the  conviction, 17 months after the ethnic Tamil reporter was arrested, which was the first time a journalist was found guilty of violating the country’s Prevention of Terrorism Act  in Sri Lanka  and could possibly not be the last!
 
On the issue of Human Rights groups having accused the Government of waging a broad crackdown on media freedoms, despite the hoopla and hype involved there should be no qualms about carrying out the relevant justice and meting out punishments as the person charged must well have known the existence of the Prevention of Terrorism Act unless he was impared or ignorant of the Act and the severe penalties it carries which if true has only himself and his associates to blame and the Government of Sri Lanka has done well  in executing the ratified penalties which go with the related issue despite International bickering that has continued since the complete demise of the rebels by Government Forces which ended the Nation’s long standing  internal armed insurrection by the Tamil Tigers in May.
 
Labelling Tissainayagam, a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International bears little relevance to the greater importance of how he seems to have conveniently circumvented reporting in accuracy the attrocities of the Tamil Tigers who almost destroyed and nearly brought the Nation of Sri Lanka to her knees through years of armed terrorism and that’s where the real conscience should be rather than the definition of Amnesty which as usual has chosen to interfere into the internal affairs of a Sovereign Nation which is not obliged to dance to Amnesty’s or for that matter anyone else’s  tunes for the purpose of their convenience whilst attracting cheap global publicity in the process which the group is  particularly known  for according to many observers.
 
Mr Tissainayagam was arrested in March 2008 and indicted five months later under the Anti-Terror Law.
During his World Press Freedom Day address in May and consequently US President Barack Obama highlighted Tissainayagam’s case as an example of journalists being jailed or harassed for doing their jobs which has become purely a matter of US presidential opinion  which does not seem to acknowledge the severity of Tissainayagam’s motivations where it has been proven that he has openly colluded with the Tamil Tigers and therein lies the severity of Tissainayagam’s actions which has provoked Governmental response. Has the President also forgotten some of the Prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay whose criminalities have yet to be proven despite languishing in jail cells with ball and chains around their legs whose only crime as apparent in some cases is being at the wrong place at the wrong time whereas Tissainayagam has obviously flaunted the Law in Sri Lanka and committed treason in the eyes of the Law!!
 
When in June 2009, the Government  with no mincing of words has unequivocally said it would re-establish a powerful Press Council with the authority to jail journalists it finds guilty of defamation or inaccurate reporting it has taken a very appropriate stand with a no nonsense attitude  and zero tolerance towards false news reporting which seems rampant and rife in Sri Lanka in these days and at times not only misleading and exaggerated but also very malicious  orchestrated by sympathisers of the Tamil Tigers.
 
The Government has every right to defend the credibilities of the Nation as the Tamils Tigers the world knows now are a vanquised entity! The ony logical conclusion one can arrive at regarding the Tissainayagam verdict is that Breaching Protocols governing press freedoms relative to the Prevention of Terrorism Act to pander to terrorists is illegal regardless of who gets sanctimonious about it!

5 Responses to “Breaching Protocols Governing Press Freedoms To Pander To Terrorists Is Illegal Regardless Of Who Gets Sanctimonious About it!”

  1. Ariya Says:

    A terrorist a terrorist, and a traitor is a traitor, whether he is a journalist or not. Journalists are not some special people with special powers, its a job like any other, so the court verdict is just. No one should incite ethnic hatred and/or take arms against their motherland. Period!

  2. nuwans Says:

    I didn’t read the opinion article he published to get 20 years of prison sentence. so I am not in a position to say whether the punishment fit the judgement or not. But if Sri Lankan is a country that uphold the law as those so called patriots claimed, why are the police in the country is having a license to kill innocent people ? Take law into their own hand to beat, threaten and bruitaly murder them. Only few cases surface to get the attention and to punish those involved. Secondly, if we think publishing a opinion article on the war is a treason, what do we call when politicians starting from the top leadership who engage in huge corruptions and waste public money and sinking Sri Lanka economically. I do not know what kind of social impact that article had on Sri Lankan people. But we can clearly see the social impact those other crimes having on Sri Lanka. Now where is the punishment for them. For writing a article about war deserves 20 years in prison with hard labour, what punishment would those politicians and police deserve for the crimes they commit against the people of Sri Lanka ? Why those who brags about this punishment and trying to justify it are silence when it comes to the real crimes which are much more sever happening every day in Sri Lanka ?

    Btw, according to the recent news president may pardon this person. Lets see how that will be interpreted if that happens.

  3. Raj Says:

    Tissanayagam did not write an article about war as some people think. He was writing blatant lies causing hatred among citizens, and supporting the now defunct world’s most ruthless terrorist organization, who killed so many innocent people in Sri Lanka, not to mention Rajiv Ghandi. The LTTE supporters such as HRW, AI etc will jump up and down, but what has been done is fair. Everyone must obey the law. Talking about corruptions and other crimes mentioned by some commentators here are irrelevant to this case. This is a good lesson for irresponsible reporters in Sri Lanka. One LTTE supporter has already published a letter today (01.09.09) in the ‘Independent’ in the UK, anonymously, saying he fears death by the SL government. The whole world now knows who tells the truth and the lies. This case will last for another few weeks until they find something else to moan about.

  4. Chintha Says:

    Just being a journalist does not mean you can break laws of a country. If journalist is proven a CROOK he has to go to jail. Present day ,most journalist publish any damn lie and misinformation for large sums of money. They are not independent nor follow any ethics. Times online, BBC,Chanel 4 UK have bunch of CROOKS of this calibure who are hired to publish lies and misinformation to the world by LTTE terrorists to hood wink the world. Nobody cares because the victim here is poor Sri Lanka who is struggling to overcome the terrorist menance. Wow ,a terrorist CROOK is Sri Lanka get awarded in France. What a world.

  5. Chintha Says:

    Nuwans,

    Talking of our politicians curruption- Mind you ,our politicians are angels compared to broke(debt upto thier nose) currupted poiliticians in USA, who tried to save the lives of top criminal LTTE terrorists of Sri lanka for money. I don’t think even any of our worst politicians will go to that extent of corruption. Because a few policeman doing misconduct does not give anyone else right to break laws of a country.

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