Harvard lays bare Sri Lanka newspaper's distorted reporting

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 March 2011, 00:48 GMT]
Professor Nicholas Burns of Belfar Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, in a letter to Colombo-based Nations news paper, pointed out several inaccuracies in the reporting of the March 1 Harvard event on Sri Lanka, and said, the article neglected to mention the substance of the discussions where the wartime conduct of Sri Lanka Government was criticised. Prof. Burns added that "the LTTE had no role whatsoever in the event" whereas the paper had alleged that LTTE was occupying most of the seats.

Excerpts from Harvard's letter to Nation's editor:
    Your claim that J.S. Tissainayagam, a Sri Lankan journalist and Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, organized a mass protest of the event is simply untrue. Mr. Tissainayagam attended and participated in the event, contributing greatly to the audience’s understanding of the end of the war and challenges ahead for Sri Lanka.

    Second, the LTTE had no role whatsoever in this event. You allege the LTTE was “occupying most of the seats,” but the audience was composed of students and fellows from the Kennedy School of Government and community members interested in the topic. The claim of over five hundred protest e-mails and phone calls greatly exaggerates community response.

    Finally, the article neglects the substance of the panel discussion. It fails to mention the criticism of the Sri Lankan government’s wartime conduct voiced by panelists, the audience, and by me. It also ignores questions and comments from the audience, inaccurately claiming response time was curtailed.
Diaspora sources say the behavior of Sri Lanka media is not surprising considering the repressive atmosphere prevailing in Colombo, and the "leadership" shown by Sri lanka's ambassadors and officials at Sri Lanka UN mission, who routinely label criticisms of Sri Lanka conduct as "LTTE sponsored."


Related Articles:
23.10.10   Tissainayagam speaks at 2010 Mackler Award ceremony


External Links:
RSF: J. S. Tissainayagam Named First Winner of Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism
Nation: LTTE threat to disrupt Havard discussion on Lanka turns into damp squib
Harvard: Response to Sri Lanka Nation Article on Harvard Seminar
AI: Standing in Support of ‘Tissa’
Times: J.S. Tissainayagam, journalist lauded by Obama, is jailed in Sri Lanka

 

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