Parliamentarian and Adviser to the Sri Lankan President on Reconciliation Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha accused the British media of conducting a hostile campaign against the Sri Lanka Government singling out The Times and Channel 4 for what he described as their attempts to “falsify” facts.
Prof.. Wijesinha said Sri Lanka had been the target of an “astonishing spate of attacks” with several British media outlets appeared “determined to falsify’’.
“The Times engaged in a particularly vicious campaign which another British journalist explained as arising from its association with New Labour…,’’ he said addressing a gathering of expatriates at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London today.
In his presentation `‘Reconciliation in the Context of Channel 4 allegations”, Prof.Wijesinha said the British media coverage had contributed to polarization among Sri Lankans thus hindering efforts at reconciliation. The Channel recently screened a film containing footage that it claimed showed human rights abuses by government forces.
Criticising a Guardian stringer for his “erroneous reports’’, Prof.Wijesinha said:`` His stories had often to be corrected, though he flatly refused to correct the most outrageous of them, when he claimed that 11 women had been found with their throats cut. He confessed that there was no basis for this, and that his source could not be trusted.’’
About Channel 4’s coverage, he said: “From the start it seemed there was a conspiratorial element to it, and their team was soon asked to leave. So it was not surprising that later… they produced the first aggressive attack on Sri Lanka, in the form of a brief clip shown in August 2009. They refused to allow the High Commission to see this in advance, and indeed did not show anyone the video they had received. They even refused to give it to the U.N. Special Rapporteur, who was instead shown another version, different in some particulars, supplied by an outfit called Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.’
Prof.Wijesinha enumerated the efforts the Government was making to heal the ethnic divide and, answering questions from the audience, urged expatriates of all ethnicities to come forward and help the Government.