Dr. P. Saravanamutthu
Over the last so many weeks and still continuing, there have been a number of critical reports on the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)- the election monitoring body of which CPA serves as the Secretariat, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (MEV), in particular – the National Peace Council (NPC), and Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL). There have also been personal attacks on me. Consequently, I am taking the liberty to clarify and comment on a number of aspects of this reportage and personal attacks.
Questions arise as to why such an investigation is being conducted at all, at this time, and by the CID. Are these organizations guilty of a crime or crimes, breaking the law of the land in any way, and what has prompted this investigation into these particular organizations at this time? They do have in common a critique of the regime from the
Questions have been raised yet again about CMEV funding. This has been a constant refrain ever since the Wayamba election in 1999, which CMEV called upon the Election Commissioner to annul in the early afternoon of the polls and before any other organization. Interestingly the government of Sri Lanka and private media houses used to give CMEV free advertising space for its media campaign against election violence, before that infamous assault on the electoral process. CMEV has nevertheless survived to be recognized by the Election Commissioner’s office as one of two national election monitoring organizations – the other being PAFFREL. Both organizations have been authorized to station monitors in polling centres on the day of elections.
CMEV is made up of CPA, the Free Media Movement, and INFORM – Human Rights Documentation Centre, and is activated at the time of elections. It has engaged in public interest litigation to strengthen the electoral process, called for the annulment of elections on the basis of evidence supplied by its monitors in the field, including in the Northern Province when the LTTE engaged in major ballot stuffing. Its methodology has influenced the way in which
The foreign donors who fund CMEV, PAFFREL and more recently CAFFE are well aware of the methodology of each monitoring organization and of the work of each organization. It has been their practice to ascertain the funding needs of these organizations at meetings at which all three organizations have been present, and all three organizations have jointly reported on their monitoring to funders at meetings convened by funders.
The barrage of attacks by reporters and columnists, and not restricted to any one publishing house or media organ, raises a number of questions. Are these individuals acting on their own accord and devotion to governance, or are they an integral part of the investigative process that passes for investigation by
Interestingly, although these reports and columns allege lack of transparency and accountability, they contain specific information about who signed agreements with funders and the sums of money received. Did they obtain this information from intrepid and ingenious investigative reporting or from the recipients, the funders or the regime? In a number of these reports, there is a constant reference to government sources saying this or that, begging the question that if it is transparency and accountability that is at issue with organizations accused of supporting terrorism, why is there a reluctance, even reticence, to name the government source? Is this excluded from the public interest? In one instance one of these individuals did phone me to clarify a typographical error he had encountered in a document. Interesting that he did not seek clarification in respect of the issues he raised in his subsequent articles.
Are these individuals acting alone or are they acting on instruction? Were it to be the former, it appears to be a case of devotees straining to be more Catholic than the Pope, and in the process bringing the Pope and the faith into disrepute!
Given the hate and the harm that is their stock in trade, it would seem that a motley crew of toxic hacks are destroying journalism in this country.
Toxic hacks: toxic waste.