Sri Lanka’s Abuse of Press Freedom – Sept. 1,2009
Posted on September 3rd, 2009

Ira de Silva London, Canada

Date: Tue, 1 Sep 2009 21:25:32 -0400

The Editor
National Post
Toronto, Canada
 
Dear Sir:
 
Re: Sri Lanka’s Abuse of Press Freedom – Sept.1,2009
 
J.S. Tissanayagam, a Tamil reporter has received a 20 year sentence after his trial because he was found to have violated Sri Lanka’s laws, specifically the Prevention of Terrorism Act. As all your readers are aware, Sri Lanka has been suffering from Tamil Tiger (LTTE) terrorism for thirty years which is why there is such a law as the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It is no different to similar acts in the U.K. and other countries.
 
If Tissainayagam paid any attention to the laws of the country, he would have known that his actions and blatantly false publications would be subject to the laws of Sri Lanka. He has been tried and found guilty in Sri Lanka based on the laws of Sri Lanka. It does not matter about laws in other countries, although all countries faced with terrorism have such laws in place and some of them are more stringent than Sri Lanka’s laws. He was indicted, had the freedom to choose lawyers to defend him and he also has the right of appeal.
 
If there was “fabrication” it was on the part of the LTTE and Tissainayagam who as you say “criticised wartime tactics employed by the  Sri Lankan leaders including the alleged withholding of food, medicine and other essential items from Tamil areas as a way to strike back at the Tigers”. It can be proved that this was false as there is evidence that it was the Sri Lankan government (people) that provided the food, medicine, essential items FREE to the Tamil people during the entire period of the war and that the LTTE took all this and re-distributed it as they saw fit. It is a fact  (pictorial evidence) that they had so much dry rations that it was used to line their bunkers. Also, administration and education for all in the areas temporarily controlled by the LTTE was paid for by the government.
 
Is it the attitude of the so-called “world press” that journalists are above the laws of the country they reside in? Is it one law for journalists and another for the rest of the public? Where in the world is this the law?  
 
As for the U.S. president highlighting Tissainayagam’s case, it is a matter of presidential opinion. The U.S. president forgets that some of the prisoners being held in Guantanamo Bay, whose criminalities have still to be proven, have being jailed for many more years than Tissainayagam’s trial has taken – he was arrested in March 2008. Tissainayagam flaunted the law in Sri Lanka and is paying the price. Let the U.S. also deal with those they are holding as “terrorists” before they sit in judgement on any other country.
 
Yours truly,
 
Ira de Silva

London, Canada

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