Apr 02, 2020

Derana Chathura's issue takes a new twist Featured

Oshala Herath, who is to contest the upcoming General election from Colombo District under the ticket of the United National Party (UNP) has called for the arrest of 'Derana' journalist Chathura Alwis.

In a Facebook page, Mr. Herath had called for the arrest of Mr. Alwis under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) No 56 of 2007, for expressing racist views during a live political debate programme broadcast on Derana TV.

A video of Chathura Alwis, who is the show host, has been trending on social media since yesterday evening. On the video, Mr. Alwis claimed that he should be paid separately for giving an opportunity, apparently to former state minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage.

The conversation then takes a racist turn, which had infuriated many. It is said that the conversation took place during a commercial break, and had been mistakenly broadcast for around 2 minutes.

(Please note that although we too had received a copy of the video, we choose not to re-publish it and to add to anyone's inconvenience)

Backstabbed? 

However, in a Facebook post, veteran journalist Ravindra Pushpakumara states that this could also be a tactic by Chathura & Co. as the General election was drawing near.

He had said : "Who leaked it? Where were these recorded? Who can copy and extract? Who uploaded to Youtube?" It is the company itself ... elections are drawing near. ”

It is an open secret that entire campaign of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa during last year's presidential election, was spearheaded by the 'Derana' media network.

Meanwhile, the 'Lanka News Web' website charges that while 'Derana' used false news, unethical propaganda, illegal propaganda at the presidential campaign, the fundamental basis of it had been the anti-Muslim stance. Noting that the network must be handling the propaganda of the Sri Lanka Podujana Party at the upcoming General election as well, the website adds that 'Derana' is currently shattering moral and human dimensions, to set their course for the election.

Not the first time!

This is not the first time Chathura had landed in controversy. His conversation with former fraudster Sakvithi Ranasinghe also sparked much controversy. (Related : Sakvithi cheats again : Chatura paves the way )

Arrests under ICCPR

During the previous regime, award-winning writer Shaktika Sakumara was arrested by the police following a complaint lodged by a group of Buddhist monks in the Polgahawela area.
It was alleged that the contents of a fictional short story posted on his Facebook account could have led to a public uproar.

Also, in a separate incident, a woman named Raheem Masahina was arrested by the Hasalaka police, who alleged the back of the Kaftan she was wearing had print resembling the Buddhist symbol - 'Dharma Chakra'.

Back then, the police said that the arrests were made in accordance with the law enforced by the provisions of the ICCPR.

Reasons for the Act

Faced with allegations that certain fundamental rights were constrained by the nearly 30-year-long war, Sri Lanka had to comply with international conventions that complied with legislation to prevent the recurrence of such situations after the war.

As a result, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has been implemented in Sri Lanka since 2007.

It seeks to assert certain human rights not contained in the Constitution.

Sri Lanka also became a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 16, 1966 and effective from March 1976.

On June 11, 1980, substantial international and civil rights were constitutionally endorsed by the Constitution of Sri Lanka as well as other laws enacted by Parliament, in accordance with the respective international conventions.

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