Activists of Delhi Tamil Students’ Union, Democratic Students Union, Students for Resistance and other common students raised slogans against N. Ram accusing him of being a ‘media fascist’ and ‘a stooge of Rajapaksa’ at a public meeting in JNU after his reply to a question on The Hindu’s role in whitewashing the Sri Lankan state genocide of the Eezham Tamils, wherein he had extensively blamed the LTTE. The meeting on ‘Paid news and media ethics’ was organized at JNU on Wednesday by the Student’s Federation of India, which is the students wing of the CPI(M). The fact that N.Ram and The Hindu have unethically manipulated news to cover up the war crimes of Colombo makes them complicit in the genocide committed on the Eezham Tamils, a Tamil Nadu research scholar in JNU told TamilNet.
Mr. Ram was talking about journalist coverage in India elections and during the US’ wars and on the theme of media ethics, referring greatly to Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent, a classic on understanding how news is manipulated and on editorial bias.
An activist of the DTSU raised a question on why Ram, who had talked about journalists being attacked in Palestine and Iraq, had nothing to say about media freedom and assault on journalists in Sri Lanka, including murder of Sinhala journalist Lasantha Wikramatunga.
When he has been silent about this, used his newspaper to support the genocidal war on the Eezham Tamils, called a visit to the IDP camps in Vavuniya an uplifting experience when they were reality in concentration camps, how could he talk about the ethics of journalism, the activist further asked.
As a reply, N. Ram had said that those who criticize the GoSL do not criticize the LTTE [an argument highlighted by Mahinda Rajapaksa too nowadays]. After criticizing the ‘ruthlessness’ of the LTTE in his reply, he added a line that had the GoSL committed excesses, he would criticize that too.
When an activist of the DSU observed that his bias was obvious in his reply itself, where he had criticized the LTTE for ten minutes, but had only one line to say about the GoSL, and whether this was his idea of media ethics, Ram fumbled for a response. At this, students in the audience remarked loudly that ‘this is why they gave you Sri Lanka Ratna’ and shouted ‘shame’.
Student organizations and common students then raised slogans calling him a ‘media fascist’ and a ‘stooge of Rajapaksa’.
“More than anyone else, N. Ram and The Hindu know what happened in Vanni was genocide. They had access to not just the highest rungs of power, but their reporters were also in the field, with the invading Sinhala army. The fact that they have unethically manipulated news to cover up all the war crimes which are now being exposed by outlets like Channel 4, makes them complicit in the genocide of the Eezham Tamils,” a DTSU activist in JNU told TamilNet.