Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Island seems to be desperate for a ‘Headline’ – the Norway story

The Island newspaper headline of July 16th about the Norwegians trying to forge alliances between the TNA and SLMC was a little bit of mischievous reporting on the part of newspaper to stir a hornet’s nest. After all the paper takes a dim view of NGO’s and foreign interference and this is exposed as  just another aspect of the interference of a foreign power in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.

Norwegians for their part immediately refuted the statement, which the Govt. of Sri Lanka also disputes, despite the absence of the Norwegian Ambassador. The real story is that some minor diplomats of the Norwegian Embassy who are also on friendly terms with TNA and SLMC politicians, including politicians of all parties including government, had suggested in passing that it may be a better strategy to join together if they have any hope of being a counter to the weight and might of the government which will no doubt be able somehow to win if the SLMC joins with them.

It now looks like the SLMC is bent on being the king maker, by fielding candidates on their own for the main districts where they have a formidable force. This will no doubt alter the balance of power to them, and due to the recent incidents they may be able to gain or keep their support together without falling to other parties. However if they join forces with the Govt. parties to form a coalition after the election, it is with a chief ministerial candidate they will insist on.

Getting back to the main topic of the ‘Norwegian Interference’, it must be stated in no uncertain terms that Norway is helping the Government of Sri Lanka in numerous ways even today with funding for various projects. So it is very mischievous for them to use the Island Newspaper to substantiate allegations of Norway being directly involved in trying to change the political landscape in Sri Lanka, a serious allegation.

If there was any truth in it, Wimal Weerawansa would be the first person to pounce on a strip of evidence to sound his anti imperialist, anti NGO horn.

If that was not proof enough of the Island trying to be sensational based on flimsy evidence what is? I would respectfully request that a newspaper such as the Island which has high editorial standards stop mudslinging and try to approach the issues of the day in a rational and responsible manner.

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