Countering false propaganda
IMMEDIATELY after the 1983 July riots,
the country’s image sank to its nadir. It took another battering during
the 1988-89 insurgency.
The late Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar spearheaded Lanka’s
efforts to clear its name and paint a true picture of the governance and
human rights situation.
He also unmasked the LTTE for what it really is - a ruthless
terrorist organisation - which led many countries to ban it despite a
concerted campaign by the LTTE propaganda machine to describe themselves
as the liberators of the Tamil masses.
Right now, an international campaign has been launched against Sri
Lanka by LTTE-backed individuals and organisations, including certain
international Non-Governmental Organisations.
The thrust of their campaign is the human rights situation and the
escalating conflict in the North-East. Some organisations have taken
this campaign to the extreme, as in the case of Amnesty International’s
‘Sri Lanka Play By the Rules’ operation at the Cricket World Cup.
The Government has not been slow to react to these damaging
manoeuvres. On the human rights front, the Government has appointed a
High Powered Commission to probe several high-profile cases.
This is assisted by the International Group of Eminent Persons,
comprising foreign human rights experts.
In another development, the UN Human Rights Commission did not go
ahead with planned resolutions against Sri Lanka on alleged human rights
violations at the recent sessions in Geneva.
On the military front, it must be borne in mind that it was the LTTE
which arbitrarily attacked the Security Forces soon after the victory of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in November 2005.
The subsequent closure of the Mavilaru anicut forced the Government
to order the Security Forces to engage in a humanitarian mission to take
over the anicut and release the water for farming.
Similarly, the LTTE’s use of civilians as a human shield compelled
the Government to liberate them from the LTTE’s grip in areas such as
In any case, a 100 per cent human rights record would be very hard to
maintain in a conflict environment.
Civilian casualties and excesses can occur on both sides, but it is
lamentable that many human rights groups maintain a deafening silence
when the LTTE is implicated in atrocities such as civilian bus bombings.
Amidst all these developments, the need for a comprehensive programme
to counter the disinformation campaign is being acutely felt.
Responding to this need, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has
said the Government would take immediate measures to develop a strategy
to counter the disinformation campaign against the Sri Lankan Government
with “clarity and credibility”.
Although the Government is conscious of the concerns raised by the
international community on human rights and had indeed taken meaningful
steps, this message is not being effectively communicated to the
This has unfortunately led to a situation where the international
community often falls prey to LTTE and third parties’ misinformation.
Under the new initiative the Government will seek to put to rest
false allegations, investigate instances where credible evidence exists
and institute modalities that would help prevent the occurrence of any
incidents of concern.
A team of dedicated officers should lead this campaign from Colombo
under the guidance of the Minister and the Foreign Secretary and our
foreign missions should be deeply involved. Defence, Human Rights and
Tourism Ministries too should actively participate in this exercise.
At the end of the day, a coherent, credible and accurate picture
should emerge on any given incident or development to pre-empt the false
propaganda spread by the enemy.
It should be sustained in the long-term, so that Sri Lanka can
silence its critics and detractors and present the true picture to the
‘We have to be more imaginative in our enterprises’
IT IS very necessary that our country positions
itself, uses its hub status, uses all those very favourable factors
that we have to attract the highest amount of foreign investment,
foreign trade and foreign inflows of capital which will then
strengthen the rupee and thereby even help alleviating the cost of
living. We have to manufacture more, we have to be more imaginative
in our enterprise;
Human Resources Development of Sri Lanka for the 21st Century
THE present complex situation requires our
serious thought and consideration as we have to prepare the next
generation for a different world, a largely a borderless world. It
has been observed that more and more knowledge is produced and as
estimates indicate the global knowledge now doubles in less than
every five years.
Nature’s most spectacular sights under threat
The scattered carcasses of dead turtles bake on
the hot sand. Scraps of the white shells of turtle eggs surround a
hole where stray dogs have dug up a nest.