UK's Frontline Club suppresses genocide debate

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 February 2009, 07:20 GMT]
Reinforcing the growing evidence of systematic attempts at suppressing debate on genocide in Sri Lanka, one of London's well known media avenues, the Frontline Club, Wednesday withdrew invitation to a Tamil genocide legal advocacy group to participate in a panel discussion on the crisis in Sri Lanka scheduled to take place on the 24th February. The reason given for Wednesday's decision not to include Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), by Frontline Programme Manager, Deborah Dwek, was that Frontline felt the discussion wouldn't be balanced without a spokesperson for the Sri Lankan government being on the panel.

A TAG spokesperson said “we pointed out that TAG was already invited and it remained only to invite the spokesperson for the Sri Lankan state.” However Ms Dwek clarified to TAG they are withdrawing the invitation "due to lack of space."

The club said it had invited Sri Lankan High Commission Representative, Douglas Wickremaratne, to be a guest member of the audience and to participate from the floor, together with Tamils Against Genocide.

While the Government of Sri Lanka had apparently agreed to participate as a guest from the floor, TAG declined, and recommended that Frontline replace one of the the British panelists, the BBC reporter Frances Harrison and Charu Hogg of Human Rights Watch who also works for leading British political think-tank Chatham House, to make the required space. Frontline didn't respond, and appeared to have decided against debating genocide, according to TAG spokesperson

The discussion is to be moderated by Priyath Liyanage from the BBC Sinhala Service, with phone participation from Colombo of Lal Wickrematunge, brother of the murdered Sunday Leader journalist as well as a representative of the recently formed “Alliance for Peace and Reconciliation in Sri Lanka”.

TAG says the group is deeply disappointed that a debate on Sri Lanka will take place in current circumstances without discussion of the horrendous, ongoing genocide faced by Tamil civilians. The group pointed out that where genocide is ongoing, deliberate suppression of its discussion amounts to collusion.


External Links:
TAG: Tamils Against Genocide
FLC: Frontline: Championing independent journalism

 

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