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US condition to LTTE to lay down arms unacceptable - Sinhala journalist

[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 May 2004, 07:45 GMT]
''The condition laid by the US government for the LTTE to lay down arms is not acceptable. The question of handing over arms would cease automatically when an acceptable political solution to the Tamil people is found through talks, accepting the self determination of Tamils and their traditional homeland concept,'' said Mr.Ranath Kumarasinghe, Feature Editor of Haraya, a Sinhala political paper, addressing a seminar on Peace and Media Saturday evening held at Trincomalee Town Hall.

Peace & Media conference in Trincomalee
Mr. Ranath Kumarasinghe, Feature Editor of Haraya at the Peace & Media - Conference and Discussion conducted by Social Development & Research Organisation in Trincomalee

Mr. Kumarasinghe made the above comment on the reported statement by the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Ms Christina Rocca during her stay in Colombo recently at a press conference that the US stand was that it would have no relationship with the LTTE until it laid down arms.

Social Development and Research Organization in Trincomalee conducted the seminar with the financial assistance provided by the USAID, sources said. Mr. Kumarasinghe spoke on "Peace Process and Ideologies of Sinhala Media".

He said Colombo based Sinhala and English media do not give space to the views of the masses in the national problems. Instead these media controlled by the State and private sector impose their thinking on the readers. State and private media in the south work with their own agenda.

Southern media carry news, comments and articles, which have been against the peace process with the objective of prolonging the conflict without a political solution through negotiation, he said.

Sinhala and English media in the south have been spreading a false notion in the minds of Sinhalese readers that that no political solution could be found for Tamil question, as LTTE is not genuine in its peace attempt, said Mr. Kumarasinghe. Sinhala and English media give less space for articles to news, comments and articles for promoting peace process and more space to such materials about Jathika Hela Urumaya and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, which are working hard to sabotage the peace process, he pointed out.

Journalists in the south are not provided with the facility to visit Jaffna district and to obtain first hand information about the sufferings of the displaced Tamil families due to the high security zones, which are located in their agricultural lands, and dwellings where they lived and earned their livelihood for several years. Military authorities take these journalists by air and showing Jaffna by helicopter and bring them back to Colombo, Mr. Kumarasinghe said.

Peace & Media conference in Trincomalee
Mr. Kumarasinghe, Feature Editor of Haraya, and Mr. Balakrishnan, Director of National Peace Council (NPC) seated at the conference "Peace & Media" conducted by Social Development & Research Organisation in Trincomalee
The Sri Lanka media has failed to project the wish and will of the people. Media is not giving important place to the truth that the current ceasefire in operation has been saving several hundreds of human lives daily, said Mr. S.Balakriushnan, Director of National Peace Council (NPC) addressing on the "Peace Process and the role of English and Tamil Media".

A section of the media plays a role to meet their own ends by creating unnecessary suspicions in the minds of readers regarding the current peace process, he added.

Time has come to create a new media culture in the country that could promote peace, development and to stop cultural degradation in the country, Mr.Balakiruhsnan stressed.


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