Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka questions the status and role of reporters without Borders (RSF)
Posted on February 3rd, 2011

Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO Paris

Newly appointed Permanent Delegate of Sri Lanka to UNESCO, Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka participating in the International Symposium on the Freedom of Expression at UNESCO in Paris questioned the right of Reporters without Borders (RSF) to stand in judgment of legitimate member states.
The Secretary General of Reporters without Borders, Mr. Jean-Francois Julliard, a panelist at the symposium, in his remarks earlier noted several countries and their leaders, as being infringers of the freedom of expression, which has also been highlighted in the material displayed and referred to by the organisation.

Ambassador Jayatilleka cautioned against a discourse in which there was an implicit ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬moral food chainƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ where the states of the Global South were at the bottom, with those of the Global North above and Non Governmental Organisations of the North super imposed on top of the chain. He said that he didnƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢t advocate a reversal of the order either but stressed that bodies like UNESCO must not be misled by groups such as RSF with defamatory material projected as being accurate. Ambassador Jayatilleka questioned as to how such groups, like RSF in particular, could sit as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”judge, jury and executionerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and claim a moral high ground.ƒÆ’-¡ 

Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Permanent Delegate criticised the UNESCO website for featuring the bio data of the Secretary General of RSF which boasted of him having campaigned for a boycott of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and having demonstrated at the ceremony in Olympia.

Ambassador Jayatilleka pointed out that although the RSF put up on a screen a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”rogues galleryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ as it were of leaders such as Fidel Castro as ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-enemies of the freedom of expressionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬, it was indeed courageous individuals like Fidel who gave shelter and voice to the voiceless during the long dark night of dictatorships in Latin America, thereby contributing to the freedom that the entire region enjoys today.

Recently RSF called for a boycott of the Galle Literary Festival which opened today (26 January 2011) in Sri Lanka, citing several factors as being against the freedom of expression, but were thwarted in their attempt by social media and human rights activists within the country who contradicted the basis for the boycott call.

Speakers from China, Cuba, Venezuela, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Cameroon and several other States also raised queries on the moralising postures being adopted by NGOs and especially questioned the right for such stances to be adopted at intergovernmental organizations like UNESCO.
ƒÆ’-¡ 
Permanent Delegation of Sri Lanka to UNESCO
Paris

One Response to “Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka questions the status and role of reporters without Borders (RSF)”

  1. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    Organisations like RSF are self proclaimed paragons of virtue which do not hessitate to level ludicrous allegations without hard evidence, against weaker nations which are not in the orbit of powerful Western nations. A good example is Cuba as you have highlighted. So, thank you Ambassodor Jayatilleka for challenging RSF on their attempt to mislead UNESCO and other world bodies, which are important for the progress and wellbeing of people of all nation.

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