Wake-up call for
We need communication strategy - Prof. Gunaratna
Prematillake in Singapore
The cancellation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s
Oxford Union speech and the events leading to that
controversial decision is a good wake-up call for
the External Affairs Ministry to get their act
together to develop a proper communication strategy
and plan, international terrorism expert Prof Rohan
“I think this is a good reminder to the Sri
Lankan Government that the country needs to develop
proper counter propaganda strategies. They also need
to develop a proper communication strategy and plan,
to bring out the reality of what happened in Sri
Lanka. They can point out that the civilian deaths
in Sri Lanka is much lower as a percentage compared
to the civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan by US
and British troops,” he said.
According to the professor, the first step in the
strategy is to dismantle the Global Tamil Forum.
The second step should be to disable Nediyavan’s
organisation, which is operating in Norway with
considerable strength and expanding influence, he
And thirdly, he said the Sri Lankan Government
should engage the NGOs.
With the demise of the LTTE’s military wing, Prof
Gunaratna said the ‘public face’ of the terrorist
group had become quite active in propagating their
ideology in western countries, and they were mainly
doing it through NGOs.
“Up till this day, the Sri Lankan Foreign
Ministry does not have an NGO division. You must
create a specialist NGO division because today NGOs
are very powerful in the international system. And
if the government continues to resist the NGOs, the
LTTE and its fronts like the Global Tamil Forum will
keep engaging these NGOs, and getting what they
want,” he added.
He also said Sri Lanka should handle
international relations very delicately and pointed
out that when some of the British leaders visited
Sri Lanka they faced a difficult time here.
“When those politicians returned to their home
country the Tamil Tigers very cunningly adopted them
as friends, and it is those British leaders who were
humiliated in Sri Lanka earlier, who are now playing
an active role against Sri Lanka.”