Times Online owes an apology to the Sri Lankan army, government and the people
Posted on June 2nd, 2009

Ajit Randeniya

The Times of London’s reporters Catherine “ƒ”¹…”Five times’ Philp and Jeremy “ƒ”¹…”Airport’ Page seem to live by the axiom attributed to the Canadian communications theorist Marshall McLuhan that “All media exist to invest peoples lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values”.

They also seem to expect the world to believe their lies without scrutiny, let alone the application of common sense. Their recent attempts to create artificial perceptions about the number of civilian casualties in the Sri Lankan war and the conspiracy-theory about a UN cover up suggest so.

Philp’s lies about the Sri Lankan civilian casualties, after circulating limply in international media for a few days, have died an ignominious death on the UN General Assembly floor, in the hands of the secretary general Ban Ki Moon and the Human Rights chief John Holmes.

A man noted for austerity of language to a fault, Ban did not mince his words on this issue. He said: “In regard to some reports in the media, I should emphasise that the final total is not yet known. Most of these figures do not emanate from the UN and most are not consistent with the information at our disposal”. He added: “I categorically reject – repeat, categorically reject – any suggestion that the United Nations has deliberately underestimated any figures”. The 20000 figure was also rejected by the Human Rights Chief John Holmes: “I think a lot of the figures which are floating around don’t have much justification behind them”, Holmes said.

The “ƒ”¹…”official’ UN repudiation of this shameful lie, and the journalistic credentials of Catherine Philp and Jeremy Page, could not have been any clearer or more public and complete.

The Times Online is now obliged to publish a correction of this shameful and conspiratorial lie and to apologise to the Sri Lankan nation. If a correction and an apology is not published, the Sri Lankan government would be justified in expelling Times reporters from the country with their passports stamped “ƒ”¹…”never to return’.

While the cleaners at the UN building were wiping the floor with her shredded journalistic credentials, Catherine Philp was “ƒ”¹…”breaking’ another story from Colombo; this time on the sale of military equipment by Britain and other European Union countries to Sri Lanka!

The only surprise emanating from this latest story is Philp’s apparent ignorance about the extremely high chance that Britain, as the world’s biggest arms dealer who accounts for 38% of arms sales, could have sold weapons to Sri Lanka.

It is a tragic irony that “ƒ”¹…”wannabe’ legendary war reporter Philp has to go through the misery of reviewing every story she expects to be her “ƒ”¹…”revelation’. Nothing, including the rather dangerous gimmick of subjecting herself to test a bulletproof jacket in Colombia, has helped her achieve the legendary status she seems to be craving for. She was among the reporters “ƒ”¹…”embedded’ (in more senses than one probably!) with the US and UK armies during the “ƒ”¹…”shock and awe’ campaign in Iraq in March 2003; the British media pack of hyenas led by the BBC that tried to maul Robert Mugabe and his regime in Zimbabwe; and she has been in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Still she has not been able t make the ‘breakthrough’ and the world hardly knows who Catherine Philp is.

The Sri Lankan civilian casualties certainly have not helped her gain media glory. She’ll keep trying; the Times Online will be the poorer for that!

One Response to “Times Online owes an apology to the Sri Lankan army, government and the people”

  1. Raj Says:

    Well said Mr Randeniya, Sir!

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