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Who leaked UN report?

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by Rajasingham Jayadevan

Why ‘The Island’ newspaper best source to leak?

The report was published with typographical errors causing embarrassment for the UN panel and the UN media Inner City Press has highlighted these errors in its news. Some of them are so material, distorting the very meaning of the comments.

In a country where leaking of information is damaging to the ruling class and is considered anti-national activity , leaking of the UN expert panel report handed over to the government for its comments has not come under critical comments from the state so far.

The response for leaking of any serious news in Sri Lanka is systematic attack on the media outlets but this time ‘The Island’ is enjoying a heroic stand for publishing the report. If it was an under cover work, the government goons would have gone on the rampage on the newspaper concerned. Attack on the Sunday Leader and the subsequent killing of its founder editor Lasantha Wickramatunga and many other independent newspapers bear testimony to the rough handling by the state.

“The leak took place after the Sri Lankan  government, issuing a statement calling  the report “fundamentally flawed and
patently biased,” saying it was “presented without any verification.” The government said it will respond to the allegations
in detail soon.”

The report given to the External Affairs Ministry by the UN would have been seen by the Rajapakse brothers and gone through the hotheads of the government. The leak did not take place through an odd newspaper, but a broadsheet that is an icon of the state to espouse the government cause and a newspaper that is thriving on the hybrid racism regularly.

‘The Island’ newspaper was praised by the government for performing better than the state run ‘Daily News’ and its sister newspapers. Instead of passing the UN report to the state run newspapers and getting criticised, the leak was carefully channelled through the government’s blue eyed ‘The Island’ newspaper. It is a reward for ‘The Island’ for doing more than just towing the line of the government.

For ‘The Island’ the dish-out was golden egg given in a gold platter. Its involvement gave international publicity for the newspaper and it was a mini ‘Islyleak’ to prop up its readership.

There are no comments from the government about the leak, but strong opinions were expressed by the government following the leak.

The leak facilitated the Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse to give a detailed interview to the ‘Sunday Times’ and Secretary to the External Affairs Ministry also damned the report. The President has initiated his campaign following the publication, by calling for a mass demonstration on the May Day to give him the support following the damning report.

It is unknown whether the UN Expert Panel report was given under a mutual agreement, that it will only become public following response from Sri Lanka. If so, why did Sri Lanka pre-empt and unilaterally leaked it? It is no surprise, Sri Lanka is progressively becoming an expert in skulduggery and its action to leak the report confirms its intent not to respect basic courtesies. If this is what it does by kicking on the teeth of the UN, one could imagine the scale of its governance in the island nation.
The leak took place after the Sri Lankan government, issuing a statement calling the report “fundamentally flawed and patently biased,” saying it was “presented without any verification.” The government said it will respond to the allegations in detail soon.

The UN panel gathered evidence for 10 months and submitted its report to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this past week. The UN spokesman’s office said it was “deeply regrettable” that the report had been leaked before its official release next week.

Tom Hockley, a UN official in Sri Lanka, said yesterday that his team had not seen the report, other than what had appeared in The Island, a Sri Lankan newspaper. The UN Secretary General said: “It is deeply regrettable that parts of the report found their way prematurely to a Sri Lankan newspaper. The full report will be released next week.”

The report was published with typographical errors causing embarrassment for the UN panel and the UN media Inner City Press has highlighted these errors in its news. Some of them are so material, distorting the very meaning of the comments.

The government’s blue eyed euphoric ‘The Island’ went on to publish news and an editorial about its leak. In its Sunday edition, it went on to state: ‘There was no word in Colombo of the source of the leak although some diplomats and observers said that the reference in the note to UN correspondents about the report finding its way to a Sri Lankan newspaper seemed to hint that the leak occurred in Colombo. It could have happened from anywhere,” a senior official said. “Several people had it”.

Interestingly the culprit ‘The Island’ went on the merry-go-round with the leak without specifying its source.

LG

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