Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tissainayagam: The Writings

i have been scouring the net and asking everyone who follows the case for a copy or link to the publications made by Mr. Tissainayagam which caused the current situation.
unfortunately, i have not been able to find an electronic copy of the the article(s) in it's/their entirety but found a reproduction of the court documents on The Sunday Leader provides a few leads.
click here for the article in The Leader.
to summarize, he is accused of;
  • receiving and remitting money to and from terrorists (the account in question was the account number for the magazine (North Eastern Monthly published by Rennaissance Publications Ltd.) that was printed with the magazine for readers/subscribers to remit money in advance)
  • mintaining communications with terrorists(identified as one K. Gnanakuma in Killinochchi)
  • writing and publishing articles critical of the government and security forces designed to incite communal violence. to this end, the following passages were highlighted;

“Providing security to Tamils now will define northeastern politics of the future”

“It is fairly obvious that the government is not going to offer them any protection. In fact it is the state security forces that are the main perpetrators of the killings”

“with no military options the government buys him by offering watered down devolution”

“Such offensives against the civilians are accompanied by attempts to starve the population by refusing them food as well as medicines and fuel with the hope of driving out the people of Vaharai and de-populating it. As this story is been written Vaharai is been subject to intense shelling and aerial bombardment,”

while any writing when taken out of context can be twisted to sound sinister, the exact wording of these phrases with the references to specific locations and actions remove the generalities that allows nuanced inference.

as a voracious follower of the war effort, devouring any and all news items and tid-bits in addition to first hand information from the front lines, i never came across any 'press releases' that indicated "intense shelling and bombardment" during the Vaharai phase (but i do expect it may have happened). i do remember the LTTE launching a barrage of pre-sighted artillery on the lines our boys captured and seeing the pictures displayed on tamilnet.

that being said, all sides in a conflict engage in propoganda. i do not buy the canned releases from the government nor do i pay any attention to tamilnet. however, the law was made clear that any war reporting outside of the parameters set by the Medica Center for National Security will be dealt with. Iqbal Athas of the Sunday Times and Amantha Perera of the Sunday Leader stopped their defence correspondence (one assumes due to the futility of repeating the MCNS line).

i am not well versed in law, that's why we have judges and lawyers. they came to a conclusion that Mr. Tissainayagam is guilty. it is not for me to decide whether he merits a presidential pardon or not as quite honestly, the president can do as he damn well pleases.

i would like to ask that once found guilty, why should a journalist (or any other member of society) be treated differently based on ones profession? (that it happens due to political connections etc. is not the topic here).

draconian they may be, but the prevention of terrorism act was put together, voted on and continued by the people that everyone voted in. to change the laws, change the idiots you send to parliament. only you can do that.

in another context, what Mr. Tissainayagam did would be considered treason for which the standard sentence (recognized by the Geneva conventions) is summary execution. he is receiving treatment that has been denied for every journalist that has died. the latest and greatest of which is Lasantha Wickrematunge. i have no love for his politics, but i do admire his passion and courage and mourn his passing. who made noise for him? who makes noise for him?


Atticus said...

A quick comment:

The Geneva Conventions don’t recognize summary execution as a “standard sentence” for treason, or for any crime. Common article 3 of the conventions prohibits extra-judicial executions.

More importantly in this context, if the definition of inciting racial hatred is going to be as diffuse as what the court has held it to be, then it is very difficult for journalists to provide critical analysis (or description) of any government action.

I agree with you that we cannot overturn the decisions of courts on a whim, but we can still criticize them if they are ill founded. We can also criticize the government which chooses to bring such cases.

As bloggers, we may one day become the next Tissainayagam.

sittingnut said...

he was not convicted solely on his writings, propagandist and hate mongering as they are .

it is dishonest and misleading to concentrate only on that and ignore the other charges (which were proved with evidence) as his defenders are doing. anyone doing that should be asked to explain why they are ignoring those.

btw vaharai did not sustain any major damage in the effort to capture it. gov countered the ltte propaganda by showing video of the place immediately after they captured it. hospital for instance which was supposed to be short of medicines and bombed to boot was found to be intact with stocks .