NDTV Fail: The Ranil Tweets

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( January 19, 2015, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) NDTV published two paraphrased tweets quoting Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Those tweets said essentially what Rajapaksa loyalists had been fear-mongering about – that the new government would give ‘full autonomy’ to Tamil areas and that it would engage with the UN on war crimes probes. If you read the transcript (via Republic Square), however, Ranil said nothing like the tweets imply. It’s really irresponsible of NDTV and they should retract. You can watch the full video here.

These are the tweets put next to the relevant part of the transcript:

NDTV: What about the question of prosecution of war crimes?

PM: Our position has been that we are not a party to the statute of Rome, so whatever we have to do has to be within our domestic jurisdiction.

NDTV: So you are saying no international probe will be allowed?

PM: No what we are saying is that the jurisdiction to try any person who has committed a crime lies with Sri Lanka.

NDTV: So your stand is the same as the previous government. UN probe will not be welcome. You will do your own internal probe?

PM: The UN can give it’s report. We will engage the UN on these issues. That’s the difference. We are going to engage the UNHRC on these issues. All we are saying is any criminal jurisdiction must be exercised in Sri Lanka.
So Ranil is essentially say there will be no foreign war crimes probes, but we’ll talk to the UN. If I were to paraphrase, I’d say Ranil rejects international war crimes jurisdiction but will engage with the UN.

And what he actually says:

In principle, all have agreed that the 13th amendment should be implemented. We’re only having discussion about the police powers and how it should function. Police powers is a provincial subject but there are certain concerns, once we bring an independent commission in, how do we do that.
Given the full context, I don’t see how NDTVs tweets are accurate at all. Full autonomy is very different from talking about provincial police powers. Saying that Sri Lanka will engage with the UN is also very different from saying they’ll engage on war crimes probes.

What NDTV has falsely said puts a stamp on everything Rajapaksa loyalists have been asserting. Their tweets simply aren’t true based on the transcript and viewing of the video and they’re not government policy. The video story is actually quite good, but they should retract and apologize for the misleading tweets.


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