Friday, March 14, 2008

US State Department report is a cut & past from tabloid-like Sunday Leader

Lazy Rice "cuts & pastes". Blake where were you?

Colombo: The U.S Department of State on March 11 2008 issued a series of Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in the year 2007. In its report on Sri Lanka, it projects the nation as a virulent violator of human rights.

In seeking an expert's opinion on the Report, The Colombo Post spoke to an eminent Mass Media and International Rights expert, renown amongst the academic circles in Sri Lanka. Due to the sensitivity of the subject, he chose to maintain his anonymity.

Speaking on the contents of the Report issued by the U.S. Department of State, the expert noted his disbelief at the manner in which the report appears to have been compiled.

He noted "I am extremely surprised and perturbed at the contents of the report, not because of the information it cites but because of the way in which it seems to have been compiled. By carefully analyzing the report, it seems obvious that there has been a great deal of reliance on a politically motivated newspaper publication as the fundamental source of information for the report. Stunningly, there are complete sections of information which has been derived from this newspaper, in some cases replicated word to word!"

Whilst the eminent academic noted his surprise at the lack of professionalism displayed by the U.S. Department of State, he further stated "despite the report citing incidents that are factually correct, the worrying trend seems to be the lack of research to underpin the authenticity of the report."

"The report did not contain adequate primary research and instead has relied on secondary sources, it admits in certain sections, for example in the 'arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life' that 'numbers reported by different organizations differ widely'. I believe that the United States government should have been more responsible in its approach to the compilation of this report, because it has the ability to drastically impact on the reputation of the Sri Lankan government by shaping perceptions and tarnishing the image of the nation. A critical evaluation of the contents should have been carried out by the Department of State without merely parroting the content of a politically motivated newspaper".

He continued to note; "this report only further substantiates the common view that the US Department of State is operating with a motive at hand, one that incites a scenario of bias to their observation of the situation in Sri Lanka. In fact, many of Sri Lanka's independent academics are disturbed and doubtful of the intentions of the United States especially as recent actions by the US government has worked towards the strengthening of the LTTE; one of the world's most feared terrorist organizations and one that they themselves have proscribed".

Colombo Post