Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anatomy of an interview with Mr.Rajapaksa

In recent times Chindu has pulled off some major coups by means of interviews with Advani, coverage of the Nuclear deal with key participants and now the interview of Mr.Rajapaksa the Sri Lankan President.
This is an important time in that country with the recent heavy fighting between the Army and the rebels. There are hundreds of thousands of civilians whose lives have been significantly affected by the fighting. While it is not possible to interview LTTE given the risks, Chindu has attempted the right step by interviewing the Sri Lankan President and the CM of the northern province. I would definitely give them kudos for that.
Before reading further, I would recommend you to read this interview of Mr. Rajapaksa by Chindu editor Mr.Ram.
After reading the interview, I'm not sure that the tough questions were asked. Please do bear in mind I'm not a journalist, just a blogger.
There are a lot of softball questions in this interview like,
How do you see the relationship between your government’s military operations in the North and the political solution?

Are you satisfied with the state of bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and India?

How do you view the concerns expressed in India and elsewhere over the adverse impact of the military operations on a large number of Tamil civilians in the Wanni?

The answer by the President Mr. Rajapaksa is again very politically correct but reports from numerous resources seem to differ.
The military operations directed against the LTTE are not intended to harass Tamil civilians or cause any harm or hardship to them. Our policy in this regard is very clear. We are making, and will continue to make, every effort to avoid civilian casualties.

One would've have expected a veteran journalist like Mr.Ram to bring out statistics and leveraged investigative journalism done in the past like the Bofors incident to provide international readers the perspective of the current issues from Mr.Rajapaksa than a set of statements which any spokesman would've spouted. Also the interview reads like a set of canned questions with really no follow up questions based on the answers provided.
As a reader I would like to see more interviews of the same, but the questioning pattern change.
Do read the article and let us know of your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

N Ram asks pre-determined questions to be fed to Indian public.
Mahinda R in return showers N Ram with ' Awards ' and stuff. Truth is different---

Pilid said...

I was surprised by the editorial which went as far as to criticize the CPI in its quest to defend and endorse the actions of the Srilankan President. Here are the actual words: "Some of the political parties such as the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Pattali Makkal Katchi, and the Communist Party of India have allowed the mainstreaming of the fringe agenda of equating the difficulties posed by the current Sri Lankan military offensive for the LTTE with the sufferings of the civilians." Wow! The bonds of loyalty must be strong indeed!

Anonymous said...

Even Sri Lankans think N Ram got paid by Rajapakses to support his regime!
Shame on N Ram.

Anonymous said...

The above mentioned link says that the editor-in-chief of the Chennai-based The Hindu, Mr. N. Ram received the 'Best Journalist of Asia award'.

It would have been more appropriate for the chief to get the 'Best Indian Journalist for China' award.