EPDP Advisory to Free Media Movement

“The conundrum here is in understanding how the Free Media Movement can pair itself with a media aberration that is freely fascist and moves for blood and damnation.”

by I.Victor

(November 03, Jaffna, Sri Lanka Guardian) The EPDP notes with concern that the Free Media Movement (FMM) is being led into a position of unfounded anxiety through the manipulations of the notorious Subra Saravanapavan, Managing Director of the "Uthayan" and "Sudaroli" newspapers. This is evidenced by a statement supposedly released to the media by the FMM, deprecatory of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) and its statesman-leader Douglas Devananda, Minister of Social Services and Social Welfare, presumably inspired by the malicious urgings of the said Subra.

The EPDP with an abundance of responsibility and respect for the best intentions of the FMM, asks that the FMM disabuses itself of the distortions being fed to it by this Subra, whose background and motives are reprehensible.

The EPDP asseverates that Subra Saravanapavan is the compliant megaphone of the LTTE, and that his newspapers, "Uthayan" and "Sudaroli" took to championing Tiger terrorism as armour plating against the unpropitious fallout from a "Sakvithi" type scandal which he engineered through his fraudulent finance company, Subra Unico Finance Ltd. That is how he came to be invested with the derisive prefix "Subra" by the Tamil people. Among the large number of depositors rendered destitute as a result of his depredations, almost all of whom were innocent and trusting Tamils, several were led to suicide. It is this same Subra, a fugitive from moral justice and legal consequence, who now claims to advocate the cause of the people whom he cold-heartedly plundered.

Being the complaisant attendant of the LTTE, Subra has an editorial policy of pro-LTTE pamphleteering. Therefore, it is a given, that he must make noises that are disharmonious to the interests of democracy. This is not journalism on even the most accommodating interpretation. And by no means free media expression. These demented verbalizations seek only to subvert democracy. To the contrary, the EPDP and Douglas Devananda represent the best democratic aspirations of the Tamil people, and that is why Subra seeks to denigrate them. The conundrum here is in understanding how the Free Media Movement can pair itself with a media aberration that is freely fascist and moves for blood and damnation.

Subra's worst soundings avail nothing. October 23rd was the day the people of Jaffna observed a hartal in a peaceful manner. This is public knowledge. This was sharply in contrast with the past when the LTTE staged hartals in Jaffna. Those were events marked by violence with burning tyres and heavy logs in the middle of roads to prevent people from moving about. Weapons of death were brandished and clubs were wielded. The Tamil people know the truth and demonstrated it by calling and carrying out the recent hartal in Jaffna to protest the Tiger attack on their food ships. As the popular expression would have it, their hartal was a 110 percent success. Subra and the LTTE were thrown into confusion. They tried to tell the Tamil people that the ships were loaded with arms to be used against them, and accused the EPDP of disrupting the distribution of their newspaper and preventing the newspaper staff from leaving their homes. The EPDP did nothing of the sort.

Let it be known that Hon. Douglas Devananda, statesman-leader of the EPDP, has nothing to do with the said Subra, and has not had any contact with him since longer than anybody can remember. How then could he have possibly told Subra Saravanapavan that the army was “very angry” with him? However, Subra's brother-in-law and editor of his newspaper, is not queasy about calling the statesman-leader for certain favours and clarifications.

The reference to a threat last January, is a piece of low-tariff theatre stage-managed by Subra, who has also accused the EPDP of embargoing newsprint supplies to the peninsula to prevent news from being published there. This is wastebasket nonsense. Newsprint is readily available and newspapers are freely published in Jaffna.

The EPDP disaffirms any connection with an incident the FMM cites quoting Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF).

The FMM would be interested to know that Subra was on an LTTE propaganda mission to Canada, not long ago, where he was given high billing on CMR, the LTTE radio channel, and TVI, the LTTE television channel. He denounced Tamil democracy and preached Tiger militancy. What is of particular interest to the FMM is the fact that, at the same time, Subra denounced the Sri Lanka media as being weak and spiritless and without honesty of purpose. Where was the righteous indignation of the FMM then?

The FMM would be helped in knowing that "Thenee", widely acknowledged as an independent website, recently posted a catalogue of the shameful Subra's extravagant fabrications, to protect the Tamil people from falling prey to his malfeasance.

The EPDP states in all faith and with full consideration for the dignity of its statesman-leader Hon. Douglas Devananda, that the attempts made by the said Subra to mislead the FMM, distort the media, damage democracy, and pervert the truth are the strivings of a terrorist accessory, and the EPDP is constrained to repudiate the allegations in the FMM statement as irresponsible and breaching the borders of accuracy.

The EPDP records with regret that while its statesman-leader Douglas Devananda has personally invited, and repeatedly renewed his invitation to the FMM to speak with him for information and clarification on issues bearing on the EDP, the FMM has chosen to ignore these invitations and assumed an attitude of intransigent bias in its references to the EPDP.

In the cause of free and fair media, and for the sake of FMM credibility, the EPDP invites contact from all those interested on 011-2503476, its 24 hour hotline.
- Sri Lanka Guardian