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I had long wondered about the motives of a few media outlets which had engaged in constant disinformation about Sri Lanka while we were engaged in our struggle against terrorism. This has been extremely hurtful, not only in itself, but because it had hardened attitudes amongst some decision makers in Sri Lanka about opening up areas in the North to journalists.

I had myself felt that, whilst security had to be a paramount consideration, more good than harm would be accomplished by allowing journalists to report on the enormous work the government was doing for the displaced in Vavuniya. Around March 2009, I think it was, this position seemed to gain wider acceptance, and many journalists were taken up to see the actual situation.

By and large I believe optimism was justified, and most journalists reported fairly on the facts. Though some negative aspects were noticed, most maintained a balance with regard to these, and generally asked government to comment on what they thought amiss. The result was a better impression, certainly in India, about what was going on, and I think we need to record our appreciation of the objective reports that did much to assuage feelings which the Tigers and their allies had stirred up through misrepresentation of the Welfare Centres.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

April 2010
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