The Classic Case Of Journalist Paul Harris Where Honesty Does Not Seem To Have Paid Off.
Periscope - Global Sinhala Village for LankaWeb
In an unprecedented manner yet typical of the bourgeoisie of the Sri Lankan Government, British journalist and London Daily Telegraph's Colombo correspondent Paul Harris is being forced to leave the country. The Foreign Ministry together with the self styled conclusions of (the lately very arrogant!)Misnister for Constitutional Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris has rather unfortunately concluded that Mr Harris could be a threat to National Security reportedly based on Anton Balasingham led LTTE coercion and pressure applied to the Government, according to intelligence sources and the conclusions of Mr. Harris himself known for factual representation rather than speculative conjecture. In this instance unfortunately his honesty does not seem to have paid off!
This is an apathetic decision by the Government of Sri Lanka, an insult to all the precepts of foreign journalism and foreign correspondence and in particular to a highly respected individual within the profession who has been one of the few journalists fearless in reporting the truth with impeccable accuracy, a fact which the high ups within the Administration have shown their disapproval of through this decision as their transparencies were more than likely in jeapordy of being exposed.
Mr. Harris is a renowned Journalist with the London Telegraph and a foremost analyst and reporter for the Globally Acclaimed Jane's Intelligence Review specializing in Global Insurgency and Terrorism and someone whose observation have been very accurate and relevant to the unfolding of events which have exposed the darker side of the Peace Accord in a very realistic sense as it has continually pointed out the possible division of the country broadbased on the unreliability of the LTTE and its track record which has seen three previous attempts at peace breakdown purely because of the incumbent Governments' unwillingness to compromise in their favour and as many have remarked as being an indication of LTTE sincerity and an entity which cannot be trusted.
Much to the chagrin of the LTTE Mr. Harris was outspoken in predicting the LTTE's real intentions towards their quest for Eelam based on their strategies inflaming and inciting the civilian population to overrun the Armed Forces Strategic Locations which stood in the way of the LTTE and proved to be of unerring accuracy as the events which infolded in Point Pedro Jaffna at the Army Headquarters on September 3rd , 2002, the storming of the Valachennai Police Station on October 1,2002 and the confrontation at the Special Task Force Contingent at Kanjirankudah on October 9, 2002 although downplayed by both the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE as being of no consequence.
Unconfirmed reports which may certainly have a ring of truth to it knowing the individual 's modus operandi indicate that Anton Balasingham has been lobbying for sometime to have Mr. Harris removed from the area in which he was based and Mr. Harris has indicated that intelligence sources have indeed confirmed Balasingham's involvement in having stated that his reporting was unlepful to the 'progress' of the LTTE and speculative as to what progress the LTTE was refering to, whether it was towards a lasting peace or their goal of secession!
To add insult to injury where all subtleties have been cast to the wind, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson and secretary Mr.Navaratnarajah has informed Mr. Harris with no compunctions that his work visa would not be renewed as he 'Posed A Security Threat' and the bluntness of the statement and its lack of decorum or respect towards Press Journalism has even prompted the President of Sri Lanka to observe that quote "Mr. Harris has done nothing illegal or improper in Sri Lanka and had written articles in an analytical and objective manner" end quote, in commending his work and striking out synonymously at the prejudicial decision of the Wickremasinghe Administration.
There have been concerns expressed by Mr. Harris about 'armed stalkers' around his residence in Colombo recently identified as MSD Personnel and also anonymous callers which appear to be a reflection of possible atempted intimidation by those who objected to his reporting. Mr Harris has also been advised by the British High Commisioner to relinquish intentions of renewing his visa and return to the United Kingdom which he has accepted.
An indication of the Government's disapproval of Mr. Harris seems to have presented itself through the indifference shown by Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Prof. Peiris who has virtually shrugged his shoulders and given no guarantees towards Mr. Harris's safety and a rather shocking display of protocol and diplomacy lacking by someone of his high office towards a respected foreign journalist, but then again when have the credibilities of Prof. Peiris ever shown itself leaning towards personal integrity? let alone that of an honest foreign correspondent!
It must be observed that contrary to the attitude presented by the Sri Lankan Authorities towards Mr Harris and his endeavour to present the truth as it happens, there has been a very different response and one of support and encouragement towards the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) which someone once termed the "Biased Broadcasting Corporation!!) which openly takes a pro LTTE stance in the manner it reports current events in Sri Lanka.
That the decision not to renew Mr. Harris' Work Visa was incongruous is reflected by the Sri Lankan President's observation in dissent that she was not presented with a valid or acceptable reason for refusing the extension although Mr. Harris has now decided that discretion is the better part of valour in returning to the UK knowing the unpredictable political climate within Sri Lanka and probably a wise one in his best interests.
Global Sinhala Village takes this opportunity to thank Mr. Harris for his courageous approach towards impartial honest news reporting and the undaunted resolve shown by him in the face of adversity imposed upon him by the Sri Lankan Authorities in collaboration with the LTTE where an apology may just be in order but nevertheless too much to expect as the lack of ethics and scruples seem to have taken a precedent over diplomacy and protocol as mentioned earlier.
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