Centre for Policy Alternatives on 25 May, 2009

CPA’s response to the Daily News headline story ?Daily News sets the record straight? – 27th March 2004

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CPA’s
response to the Daily News headline story “Daily
News sets the record straight”
of 27th March 2004


29th March, 2004

Mr.
Geoff Wijeysinghe
Editor
Daily News
Lake House
Colombo 10

Dear
Sir,


Daily News sets the record straight, Daily News,
Saturday, March 27, 2004

I am
writing with reference to the above headline story and letter to
me dated 26th March, 2004 along with an appended document titled
“Snap Poll Results”, hereafter referred to as the “Document”.
I have received two copies of this said letter and “Document”
today, one of which bears your stamp under your signature and at
the bottom of the first page of the “Document” appended
to it, there is an asterisk after which follows the handwritten
comment:

The
lines across the graphs were made by the Sub-Editor to indicate
he had dealt with the copy.

Both
copies of the “Document” carry what appears to be a
reference number “C20NRR60”, on the top right hand corner
of the first page.

You
maintain, as in your Editor’s Note of 23rd March 2004, that
your 20th March 2004 front page headline report of the CPA/Social
Indicator Survey, was based on the above mentioned “Document”.
In your letter of 26th March 2004, you state that :

The
Report I received from the CPA had between the cover page and first
page another loose document consisting of 4 pages divided into two
parts titled “Snap Poll Results, Phase 1” (3 pages)
and “Snap Poll Results Phase 2” (1 page).

As
you will note from the copy of the CPA/Social Indicator Poll Report,
entitled “The Sri Lankan Voter and the April 2004 Elections”
which was sent to you on Friday 19 March 2004, every page of the
Report is marked at the bottom left hand corner with

©
Copyright Social Indicator – March 2004

You will note that this is not the case with the “Document”
or as described by you “another loose document…..titled
‘ Snap Poll Results….”.

Furthermore,
your letter of 26th March 2004 is the first reference to the “Document”.
Your Editor’s Note in the issue of the Daily News of 23rd
March 2004 reads in full as follows:

This
report was based on a report (italics mine) sent to the
Daily News by the CPA.
It is regrettable that the CPA is not completely aware of all documents
sent to the Daily News from his (sic) Institution.
We stand by our report.

There
is no reference to “another loose document
consisting of 4 pages …….”, as in your letter
to me of 26th March 2004 in response to the challenge I made to
you to produce and publicly disclose the document on which your
20th March front page headline report, was purportedly based.

This “Document” is not a CPA publication. All references
to it in your last letter to me dated 26th March 2004 and in your
front page headline story of 27March 2004 are therefore irrelevant
and a red herring. This includes the allegation that I am partisan
and supporting the Prime Minister. In my letter to you of 21st March
2004, I stated that the inclusion of fabricated material in your
front page headline story of 20 March 2004 as being part of the
CPA survey, was “contemptible and unpardonable”. I further
stated that:

It
smacks of the worst forms of shoddy journalism. It leaves me no
other conclusion than that these fabricated survey results were
inserted into the article for cheap and narrow partisan advantage,
aimed at misleading the voting public. Furthermore, given the serious
nature of the fabricated data, these insertions have the potential
of inflaming sections of public opinion and poisoning relationships
between the peoples of different religious faiths who inhabit Sri
Lanka. This is a serious breach of media ethics and responsibility,
by any standard.

Your
letter of 26th March 2004 and headline story the following day,
Saturday the 27th of March, only reinforces the above points made
by me in my letter to you of 21st March 2004.

I
trust you will abandon the “Document” and move to restore
basic standards of ethics, responsibility and professionalism in
your media institution.

Thank
you.

Yours
sincerely,


Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Executive Director
Centre for Policy Alternatives

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