Ref Special Report: Sri Lanka:Tamil Mothers Waiting for Their Sons
Sunday, March 1, 2008
February 26, 2008
Mr Gregoire Deniau
Directeur de la Redaction
France 24
5 rue Des Nations Unis
92130 Issy Les Moulineaux

Dear Mr Deniau,

Ref Special Report: Sri Lanka:Tamil Mothers Waiting for Their Sons

1. Further to my telephone conversation with your colleague, I am sending this letter to you to bring to your notice the concerns of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Paris on the programme which portrays a one-sided view of the situation in Sri Lanka.

2. The English Service of the France 24 is a news channel which is generally seen as a reputed news channel which has gain grounds during the short period it has been on the air. It is, therefore with much regret that I send this letter to point out many factual inaccuracies and exaggerations in the report and some of the interviews have been edited to give an out of context and twisted meaning. Hence, the Government of Sri Lanka wishes to clarify the actual position with regard to some unfair allegations made in the report.

3. Mr Mano Ganesan, Member of Parliament who accuses the Government of 'ethnic cleansing' is not in 'exile for security reasons' as alleged in the special report. He is living in Sri Lanka and the Government has provided him with 8 police personnel and a back-up vehicle for his protection. He lives in Colombo.

4. Mr Ganesan charges that the government has evicted Colombo Tamils and taken them to their villages by buses. Of the 200,000 Tamil population of Colombo, only 379 persons were taken to temporary centres for displaced persons for 2 days and all of them were taken back to Colombo after two days and all of them live in Colombo.

5. The allegation that hundreds have been abducted or disappeared is an absolute canard. After his return from India last month, Mr Ganesan has complained about 6 disappearances and all the six persons have been traced and they are alive and safe.

The allegation that people have been detained for '5 or 6 years' is totally false and not a single person has been detained for such a long period. Such sweeping statements should not be reported without verification.

6. There is no truth whatsoever about the absurd charge of 'ethnic cleansing' and in Colombo city population comprises of 35 percent Tamils who live safely. The road checks and security measures are strictly to curb terrorist activities and the checking of people and vehicles has not been restricted to one community. These checking and security measures are essential in any country faced with terrorist threats.

7. The narrator says the ceasefire is in tatters and blames the government. He ignores the fact that the LTTE has violated the ceasefire agreement by over 7000 times, which has been documented by the Scandinavian ceasefire monitors.

8. The report also failed to tell the audience that the alleged killer of Mr Maheswaran, who was shot dead in a Hindu temple was arrested on the spot and the investigations have revealed that he was a member of the Tamil Tigers.

9. The situation in Sri Lanka is very complex brought about primarily by the Tamil Tigers who have, for more than two decades resorted to terrorism. The Tamil civilians living in France have also fallen victims to their terrorist tactics which are well known to the French Foreign Office and the Police.

10. The programme has not followed the usual journalistic ethics of seeking clarifications or explanations from the government on any of the dozens of allegations levelled against the government in this special report.

11. As the Special Report is to be telecast once again on February 29, 2008 the Sri Lanka Ambassador in France would appreciate to have a slot in your programme to clarify the position before the controversial Special Report is telecast for the second time.

An urgent response in this regard will be much appreciated.

Yours Sincerely

Sugeeswara Senadhira
Minister Counsellor
for Ambassador