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Issues

   
 

   Sri Lanka: 34 journalists and media workers
   killed during present government rule


Founder Editor, The Sunday Leader,
Lasantha Wickrematunge

Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) express its serious concern that even after the government’s declaration of war victory and end of war, intimidation and harassment of media and journalists continue with increasing ferocity. People of Sri Lanka are deprived of their right to information and media and journalists are forced to practice an unprecedented level of self censorship.

It is in this context JDS reports with anger and great sadness that 34 journalists and media workers have been killed with no recourse to justice since the present government was formed. Out of 34 killed three were Sinhala journalists, one Muslim and 30 were from the Tamil community. A complete list of all journalists is attached below.

In addition, 10 journalists and media workers were abducted. Journalist Jeyaprakash Tissainayagam, his printer Vetrivel Jesiharan and Jesiharan’s wife Vadivel Valarmathi remain in custody since their arrest over a year ago. These killings and abductions clearly demonstrate the culture of impunity that prevails in Sri Lanka.

The United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government came into power in April 2004 with the present President Mahinda Rajapakse as its prime minister. Never before in the history of Sri Lanka have such a number of journalists and media workers been killed in such a short period of time.

During the same period, intimidations and threats against journalists and media increased unabated. This situation resulted in more than 50 journalists leaving Sri Lanka fearing persecution: Austria 01; Australia 03; Canada 03; Denmark 01; France 12; Germany 04; India 05; Malaysia 01; Netherlands 02; Nepal 02; Norway 02; Switzerland 16; UK 10; USA 02.

JDS supports the 11 point plan put forward by International Press Freedom Mission to redress the perilous press freedom environment in Sri Lanka and pledges to work with all democratic forces within and outside the country to achieve human and democratic rights for all peoples in Sri Lanka.

JDS calls upon the United Nations, governments and other international organisations to put pressure on the government of President Rajapakse by taking all practical means at their disposal to end the culture of impunity and to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.

Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) is an action group of journalists, writers, artists and human rights defenders who fled persecution in their country and convened in Europe in order to campaign for democracy, human rights and media freedom in Sri Lanka.

Executive Committee

Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

Annex:

RECORDED LIST OF KILLINGS OF
JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA WORKERS

APRIL 2004 - MARCH 2O09 

2004

1.  Aiyathurai A. Nadesan - Journalist / 31 May

2.  Kandaswamy Aiyer Balanadaraj - Writer / 16 August

3. Lanka Jayasundera - Photo journalist/ 11 December

2005

4. Dharmaratnam Sivaram - Editor / 28 April

5. Kannamuttu Arsakumar - Media worker/ 29 June

6.  Relangee Selvarajah - Journalist / 12 August

7.  D. Selvaratnam - Media worker/ 29 August

8.         Yogakumar Krishnapillai - Media Worker / 30 September

9. L. M. Faleel (Netpittimunai Faleel) - Writer / 02 December

10. K. Navaratnam - Media worker/ 22 December

2006

11. Subramaniam Suhirtharajan - Journalist / 24 January

12. S. T. Gananathan - Owner / 01 February

13. Bastian George Sagayathas - Media worker / 03 May

14. Rajaratnam Ranjith Kumar - Media worker / 03 May

15. Sampath Lakmal de Silva - Journalist / 02 July

16. Mariadasan Manojanraj - Media worker/ 01 August

17. Pathmanathan Vismananthan - Singer and musician / 02 August

18. Sathasivam Baskaran - Media worker / 15 August

19. Sinnathamby Sivamaharajah - Media owner / 20 August

2007

20. S. Raveendran - Media worker / 12 February

21. Subramaniam Ramachandran - Media personnel / 15 February

22. Chandrabose Suthakar - Journalist / 16 April

23. Selvarasah Rajeevarman - Journalist / 29 April

24. Sahadevan Neelakshan - Journalist / 01 August

25.  Anthonypillai Sherin Siththiranjan - Media worker/ 05 November

26. Vadivel Nimalarajah - Media worker/ 17 November

27. Isaivizhi Chempian (Subhajini) - Media worker/ 27 November

28. Suresh Limbiyo - Media worker/ 27 November

29. T. Tharmalingam - Media worker/ 27 November

2008

30. Paranirupesingham Devakumar - Journalist / 28 May

31. Rashmi Mohamad - Journalist / 06 October

2009

32. Lasanntha Wickrematunge - Editor / 08 January

33. Punniyamurthy Sathyamurthy - Journalist / 12 February

34. Sasi Mathan - Media worker/ 06 March


Detainees or Internally Displaced Persons?

By R. Wijewardene 

UNP MP M.M. Naushad urges the government to come clean and formulate a comprehensive rehabilitation plan for all the north’s people.

Speaking on the subject of the Muslims evicted from their homes in Jaffna by the LTTE in 1990 the MP Naushad urged the government to devise a resettlement plan for all the civilians displaced by the conflict.  

Naushad urged the government to accept and state openly that the 300,000 people held in the Vavuniya refugee camps were not IDPs but in fact detainees as they did not have the right to freedom of movement and were being held on account of government fears that they are LTTE sympathizers.

“They should have the freedom to move when they wish. They should have the freedom to go home. But, they are not having that freedom. Therefore, they are detainees and the government must be bold enough to say, yes, these 300,000 people we are holding in these camps are detainees who need rehabilitation and we are rehabilitating them,” he said.

The MP argued that the genuine IDPs were not the 300,000 held in the camp but the 300, 000 additional civilians who had fled the north for other parts of the country over the last 20 year of the conflict. This number includes the Muslims evicted by the LTTE and the Tamils who, as a result of the conflict, fled the area and chose to settle in Colombo.    

In his speech Naushad suggested that a resettlement plan be drawn up for all these people and that a survey be conducted of all those people who had been displaced from the north  which makes clear whether these individuals / families wish to return to the north and what land holdings in the area they claim. “When the IDPs have the freedom to go back, how do you assure that they would get back the places where they originally lived?  What is the plan you have to do this?”

He stressed that the people now in camps had the ability to care for themselves; “they do not want your food. They want freedom. They want the ability to move out and live with their own people. I would say the northern people are people who can fend for themselves. They have proved it throughout history. We have known them as the most hardworking people that this country has ever had.”

And the MP insisted that any resettlement plan should respect the original demographic composition of the areas. “If we had Muslim majority areas, in the resettlement process you must ensure that it remains a Muslim majority area.  If it was a Catholic area, it should be the same because otherwise you start the conflict all over again.”

Naushad also urged that freedom of movement be restored to the north as swiftly as possible. “The Puttalam-Mannar Road, which makes it a very short journey to Mannar from Puttalam, needs to be re-opened. If that road is re-opened, you will find people will start moving even without your assistance.”

He attacked the government for its lack of a coherent plan on the resettlement issue.

“We need to know how these things are going to happen,” and insisted that the problem has to be looked at holistically, with the people being allowed to be part of the solution through their own hard work.  “If you say ‘we will first do this and then take these people,’ then you are going to create problems. But if you take the two in parallel we can ensure that the ‘Wasantham’ we are talking about will come to the north very soon,” he said.


CMA on ‘confusion’

I have read your article and wish to send a reply to matters you have raised to be published in your newspaper. I am sorry that I was not available as I was overseas. I wish to inform you that globally there are two fields of Professional Accountants, the Chartered Accountants and Management Accountants.

This is accepted by the international accounting bodies such as the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA). Two such bodies are existing in all South Asian countries India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bangladesh and in the UK, USA and Canada. CMA Sri Lanka was set up in the year 2000 to meet the deficiency or lack of a Management Accounting Body in Sri Lanka and was based on the technical assistance of CMA Canada and financial assistance of CIDA with the blessings of the Ministry of Trade and Commerce at that time. 

In the year 2009 a Bill was presented in Parliament by the Hon. Bandula Gunawardena Minister of Trade, Marketing Development, Consumer Affairs and Co-operatives for the incorporation of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka and this was debated and unanimously passed in parliament. Before placing the Bill in Parliament it was discussed at many meetings of the Consultative Committee of Parliament consisting of members of parliament from both the opposition and government and also the other accounting bodies. Chartered and CIMA were also invited for these meetings and many changes done as per their requests.

Regards the principle of the use of the designations I wish to keep you informed of the principle adopted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka when they were incorporated by an Act of Parliament in 1959. At that time the only professional chartered accounting body was that of UK and used the designation ACA. However once the ICA Act was passed the use of the designation ACA was reserved for the local Chartered Body and the foreign body had to use the same designation within the country. i.e. ACA(Eng & Wales).

This similar principle applies to CMA and as a Sri Lankan body we have the right to use the ACMA and FCMA and CIMA will have to use ACMA(UK) and FCMA(UK) indicating the country. This principle applies in all countries and even in Pakistan and Bangladesh they use ACMA and FCMA. For example in my qualifications the following apply in Sri Lanka. FCA, FCMA, FCMA (UK).

However if I am employed in the UK or foreign country then my designations will be FCA(Sri Lanka), FCMA(Sri Lanka), FCMA. One of the main reasons that this Sri Lankan Management Accounting Body was set up is to give opportunities to thousands of Sri Lankans who cannot afford to do the foreign qualifications. Our cost is 1/10 th that of foreign CIMA qualification and at present many students from the outstations have registered for the course and will produce professionals who will be in demand both in the Public and Private Sectors. This will also save valuable foreign exchange for the country.

I trust that the above clarifies the matters raised in your article and that you will publish this article with the same prominence as the earlier one. One has to serve his own motherland where as the time we served the foreign masters are now over when we gained independence in 1948. Therefore your support to a local body too will be appreciated. As some one who has held the post of President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, President, South Asian Federation of Accountants, Founder President, AAT Sri Lanka I am happy that we have been able to set up CMA Sri Lanka to serve the Sri Lankans who did not have opportunities earlier due to unaffordability.

Also business organisations are not confined only to Colombo but also the outstations and the government also needs qualified professional Management Accountants. Today the AAT founded by me has taken accounting education to the rural villages and has the largest number of registered  students of 45,000 for any one accounting body. This amply testifies the service we have done to Sri Lanka and the majority of the younger generation opening new avenues for them.

Kindly give the necessary publicity to this article and correct any misunderstandings created among your readers. 

Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala

President

CMA Sri Lanka


Our reporter responds.....

Dear Mr. Watawala 

Further to your response in connection with our above report.

 We have noted your comments and look forward to your response on our query dealing with the use of your title “Professor” on your return to the island.

 Shadow branding is a sharp business practice at best. The need to take education to the rural masses is indeed a lofty ideal — when it is done professionally and with a view towards achieving positive results.

 As you confirm yourself, the cost is 1/10th of the course as run by the original 90-year old UK body. As we have stated in our report, the syllabus — the content — offered by the Sri Lankan body on whose behalf you write, is at best 20% of the UK syllabus. Therefore, the standards and by implication, the quality is that much lower. In that context the local qualification is a poor answer to the long established one of the UK. We wonder, therefore how many of the 45,000 will actually secure worthwhile jobs either in Sri Lanka or abroad on the basis of these qualifications.

Is it not better to be proud of our own home-grown qualifications by being different and demonstrating that difference by using post nominals different to the ones used internationally and build up our reputation over the years rather than attempting to ride on the band wagon of “shadow branding”?

In fact, the name of your earlier institute, The Society of Certified Management Accountants, used part of the name of the Australian-based Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) that was operating at that time in Sri Lanka; as we said in our original article your earlier post nominals FSCMA, sufficiently differentiated yourself from CIMA and ICMA-Australia. Now you have copied — shadowed — exactly the name of ICMA and the post nominals of CIMA.

 You claim that you are no different to the South Asian professional management accounting bodies in name and use of post-nominals. However, we also note that in Pakistan and Bangladesh the names are “The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants” (i.e. ‘cost’ instead of ‘certified’) and in India the name of the body is The Institute of Cost and Works Accountants (ICWA). These brands have not thus indulged in ‘shadow branding’ as you have done. Please also note that CIMA is a relative new entrant to those markets, compared with the over 50 years of brand building in Sri Lanka by CIMA and 15-years by ICMA-Australia.

You also state that Chartered Accountants from overseas working in Sri Lanka needed to use their original country in their designations, i.e. FCA (E&W). This usage was by choice of the individual, and the local ICASL did not impose such a requirement on overseas qualified chartered accountants.

Also Chartered Accountants are known to be incorporated by a Royal Charter or Government Charter, and should not be confused with management accounting professional bodies, that have become international brands rather than domestic brands representing the profession in a country. Note also that the FCA (E&W) professionals sat their exams overseas; whilst the CIMA and ICMA-Australia qualified for their post-nominals in Sri Lanka.

 The basic point is that you could have achieved your lofty ideal of taking accounting to the rural areas, without having to use names and post-nominals identical to international brands operating in Sri Lanka — well before you set up your institution. Further, once you undertook the brand-copying exercise, you appear to have gone well beyond your mandate by taking out notices in the local press trying to prevent those with post-mominals obtained in Sri Lanka (well before you established your institute) from using them in this country.

We stand-by our report. 

Faraz Shauketaly

(faraz@thesundayleader.lk)

 


 

 

  More Issues Articles...

  Detainees or Internally Displaced Persons?

   CMA on ‘confusion’

   Our reporter responds.....

 

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