Centre for Policy Alternatives on 11 October, 2007

CPA’s response to the Editor of the Island and Thinakaran newspapers regarding front page stories of 1st April 2004 and the Editor of Sudar Oli regarding the editorial of 1st April 2004

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CPA's
response to the Editor of the Island and Thinakaran
newspapers regarding front page stories of 1st April 2004
and
the Editor of Sudar Oli regarding the editorial of 1st
April 2004


Letter
to Editor of Island regarding front page story of
1st April 2004

Mr.
Gamini Weerakoon
Editor – Island Newspaper,
223 Bloemendhal Road,
Colombo 13.


Dear Sir,

“VOTE
AGAINST TNA IS VOTE FOR FREEDOM
OF POLITICAL CHOICE – CMEV”

I am
writing to you on behalf of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence
with regard to the above report by Brian Tissera on the front page
of your edition of 1st April 2004.

The
report is of a media conference held by the Centre for Monitoring
Election Violence (CMEV) on 31st March 2004, at which CMEV released
its Interim Report on Election Related Violence in the April 2004
General Election Campaign.

On
behalf of the Convenors of CMEV ? Ms Sunila Abeysekera, Mr
Sunanda Deshapriya and myself ? I write to point out that
the above title is misleading and to clarify the position of CMEV.
Ms. Abeysekera and Mr. Deshapriya would have joined me in signing
this letter but are unable to do so as they are out in the field
on election monitoring work.

CMEV
has monitored all elections since 1997. It has received official
accreditation by the Election Commissioner and at this election,
is one of two local monitoring organizations granted official permission
by the Commissioner to enter polling booths. Its integrity, impartiality
and commitment are fundamental to its monitoring. Any suggestion
of partiality could affect this and have consequences for its monitors
in the field.

At
our media conference we outlined the context in which the election
campaign in the North and East has been conducted. We did not, however,
make any evaluation or prior judgement of the nature, significance
or consequences of voting for or against any party, as the title
of your report indicates.

Given
the subject matter of the report, I would greatly appreciate it
if you would publish my letter in full and accord it the same prominence
in the next issue of your newspaper as the original report of 1st
April 2004.

I am
copying the letter to the appended list and releasing it to the
media.

Thank
you.


Yours sincerely,



Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Co-Convenor
CMEV

C.C:
HE The President
Hon Prime Minister
Commissioner of Elections
Chairman – Press Complaints Commission
Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar
European Union Election Monitoring Committee
Commonwealth Secretariat
PAFFREL
HE The Ambassador – Embassy of the USA
HE The High Commissioner – British High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Royal Norwegian Embassy
HE The High Commissioner – Canadian High Commission
HE The High Commissioner – Australian High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Royal Netherlands Embassy
HE The Ambassador – German Embassy
HE The High Commissioner – Indian High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Japanese Embassy
HE The Ambassador – Swedish Embassy
HE The Ambassador – Embassy of Switzerland
HE The Ambassador – Delegation of the EU
Secretaries – All Political Parties
All Print & Electronic Media Institutions
Members of the Board of Directors of CPA
Mr. S.P. Thamil Selvan

 


Letter
to Editor of Thinakaran regarding front page story of
1st April 2004

 

1st
April 2004

Mr
T.S. Senthil Wellawor
Editor in Chief
Thinakaran Newspaper
Lake House
Colombo 10.


Dear Sir,

'IF
NOT A SINGLE CANDIDATE FROM SANKARY OR EPDP ARE ELECTED, WE WILL
BE FORCED TO CONSIDER THAT THE ELECTIONS WERE FRAUDULENT”
– OPINION OF CMEV MONITORING GROUP

I am
writing to you on behalf of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence
with regard to the above report by Shatheeq Shihan on the front
page of your edition of 1st April 2004.

The
report is of a media conference held by the Centre for Monitoring
Election Violence (CMEV) on 31st March 2004, at which CMEV released
its Interim Report on Election Related Violence in the April 2004
General Election Campaign.

On
behalf of the Convenors of CMEV ? Ms. Sunila Abeysekera, Mr.
Sunanda Deshapriya and myself ? I write to point out that
the above title and report do not accurately present the views of
CMEV contained in its Interim Report or expressed at the media conference.
I therefore write to clarify the position of CMEV. Ms. Abeysekera
and Mr. Deshapriya would have joined me in signing this letter but
are unable to do so as they out in the field on election monitoring
work.

Your
above mentioned report, contains remarks attributed to me, including
the remark in the title of the report. I wish to state that I did
not make these remarks.

CMEV
has monitored all elections since 1997. It has received official
accreditation by the Election Commissioner and at this election,
is one of two local monitoring organizations granted official permission
by the Commissioner to enter polling booths. Its integrity, impartiality
and commitment are fundamental to its monitoring. Any suggestion
of partiality as in the remarks attributed to me in your report,
could affect this and have consequences for its monitors in the
field.

At
our media conference we outlined the context in which the election
campaign in the North and East has been conducted. We did not, however,
make any evaluation or prior judgement of the nature, significance
or consequences of voting for or against any party, as the title
of your report indicates.

Given
the subject matter of the report, I would greatly appreciate it
if you would publish my letter in full and accord it the same prominence
in the next issue of your newspaper as the original report of 1st
April 2004.

I am
copying the letter to the appended list and releasing it to the
media.

Thank
you.


Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Co-Convenor
CMEV

C.C:
HE The President
Hon Prime Minister
Commissioner of Elections
Chairman – Press Complaints Commission
Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar
European Union Election Monitoring Committee
Commonwealth Secretariat
PAFFREL
HE The Ambassador – Embassy of the USA
HE The High Commissioner – British High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Royal Norwegian Embassy
HE The High Commissioner – Canadian High Commission
HE The High Commissioner – Australian High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Royal Netherlands Embassy
HE The Ambassador – German Embassy
HE The High Commissioner – Indian High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Japanese Embassy
HE The Ambassador – Swedish Embassy
HE The Ambassador – Embassy of Switzerland
HE The Ambassador – Delegation of the EU
Secretaries – All Political Parties
All Print & Electronic Media Institutions
Members of the Board of Directors of CPA
Mr. S.P. Thamil Selvan


Letter
to Editor of Sudar Oli regarding Editorial of
1st April 2004

1st
April 2004

Mr
R.Ratnasingham
Editor – Sudar Oli
85, Mahawatte Rd.
Colombo 14.

Dear
Sir,

EDITORIAL
THURSDAY 1ST APRIL 2004

I am
writing on behalf of the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence
(CMEV) in response to your editorial today (1st April 2004). My
colleagues Ms. Sunila Abeysekera and Mr. Sunanda Deshapriya who
are also Co-Convenors of CMEV along with me, would also have signed
this letter but are unable to do so as they are out in the field
monitoring election related violence.

In
your editorial you allege that CMEV has changed the modalities of
its monitoring in the Jaffna District on account of pressure exerted
on it by certain political parties. Furthermore, you make reference
to the presence of Sinhala Monitors on behalf of CMEV and imply
that we in turn are implying that there are no neutral Tamil monitors
in Jaffna and that this brings ?disgrace? to the Tamil
community. You further allege that such actions are taken in a manner
to ?undermine? the Tamil community and should be ?condemned?.

I wish
to state to you that your editorial is a gross misrepresentation
of CMEV monitoring in general and the Jaffna District in particular.
Moreover, the allegations made in it are false and absurd, especially
given the track record of the individuals and organizations associated
with CMEV, in respect of a commitment to the human rights, dignity,
respect and equality of all communities in Sri Lanka.

CMEV
has monitored all elections since 1997. It has been recognized as
one of the two main election monitoring groups in the country and
in this election, being accorded official permission by the Election
Commissioner to enter polling booths. Impartiality, independence
and integrity are fundamental to CMEV monitoring and the basis on
which it has received accreditation and recognition by the Election
Commissioner. Your editorial containing serious allegations which
threaten to impugn this, could adversely impact on the contribution
of civil society organizations to protect the integrity of the electoral
process as well as have consequences for our monitors in the field.

Given
the nature of the allegations made and the prominence accorded to
them in an editorial, please accord the same prominence to my response
in full, in the next issue of your newspaper.

In
conclusion, I wish to reiterate that CMEV is committed to defending
the right of all citizens of Sri Lanka to monitor elections in any
part of Sri Lanka and in doing so, strengthen the institutions and
processes of democracy in our country.

I am
copying this letter to the list of persons identified below and
releasing it to the media.

Thank
you.

Yours
sincerely,


Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu
Co-Convenor
CMEV

C.C:
HE The President
Hon Prime Minister
Commissioner of Elections
Chairman – Press Complaints Commission
Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar
European Union Election Monitoring Committee
Commonwealth Secretariat
PAFFREL
HE The Ambassador – Embassy of the USA
HE The High Commissioner – British High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Royal Norwegian Embassy
HE The High Commissioner – Canadian High Commission
HE The High Commissioner – Australian High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Royal Netherlands Embassy
HE The Ambassador – German Embassy
HE The High Commissioner – Indian High Commission
HE The Ambassador – Japanese Embassy
HE The Ambassador – Swedish Embassy
HE The Ambassador – Embassy of Switzerland
HE The Ambassador – Delegation of the EU
Secretaries – All Political Parties
All Print & Electronic Media Institutions
Members of the Board of Directors of CPA
Mr. S.P. Thamil Selvan