The Timing of ‘Communal’ Violence in Sri Lanka Raises Questions

By Kalinga Seneviratne

This article is the 21st in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

BANGKOK (IDN) – The damage has already been done. Buddhists are accused of Islamaphobic communal attacks in Sri Lanka and tourists are cancelling their trips to the country as the international media follow a common formula denigrating the Buddhist majority, while ignoring questions that are being raised in the country on the timing of these latest “communal” attacks.

Continue reading “The Timing of ‘Communal’ Violence in Sri Lanka Raises Questions”

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Sustainable Livelihoods Behind Street Vending in Thailand

By Kalinga Seneviratne

KHAOSAN, Bangkok (IDN) – When people talk about sustainable development there is rarely any mention of the many street vendors who make a living on streets in Thailand, as across the rest of Asia.

Even attempts to stop them doing business – like the unsuccessful year-long attempt by the governor of Bangkok to clean the city’s streets of street vendors – passes unnoticed in the media. Continue reading “Sustainable Livelihoods Behind Street Vending in Thailand”

Myanmar: Suu Kyi Slams “Disinformation” As Information War Intensifies

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – The information war on Myanmar’s Bengali/Rohingya problem has intensified as Myanmar’s de-facto leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Aung Sung Suu Kyi finally broke her silence on the issue on September 6 and slammed the international media and human rights organisations for spreading “misinformation” on the conflict. Continue reading “Myanmar: Suu Kyi Slams “Disinformation” As Information War Intensifies”

Fifty Years After Recognition As “People” Australian Aborigines Demand Political Voice

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) – In 1967, in a historic referendum, some 92 percent of Australians voted for the original inhabitants to be recognized as “people” to be counted in the census.

Exactly 50 years later, over 250 Indigenous Australians met in a historic summit overlooking the sacred Uluru rock in Central Australia May 24-26 and called upon the Australian government to change the constitution to give them a voice in parliament and a treaty to recognize their relationship to the land. Continue reading “Fifty Years After Recognition As “People” Australian Aborigines Demand Political Voice”

Exercising Power Fairly More Important SDG Yardstick than Democratic Accountability

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – In its 2017 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, the Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) makes an interesting argument in regards to achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in seemingly downplaying the importance of democratic accountability and emphasising that how power is exercised is more important. Continue reading “Exercising Power Fairly More Important SDG Yardstick than Democratic Accountability”

Asia needs ‘thinking’ media to avoid ‘Arab Spring’ chaos

April 25, 2017

By Kalinga Seneviratne

Special to The Nation (Thailand)

In December last year two UN agencies – UNDP and Unesco – organised a gathering in Bangkok called “Case 4 Space” where young activist communicators from Asia were brought together and largely addressed by westerners on how to demand space for their voices to be heard.

The event was coordinated by an activist group from the UK called “Restless Development” that was promoting a “restless” type of activism for “democratic” development – the same recipe of the “Arab Spring” uprising that has created chaos and mayhem in the Arab world. 

Attending the event as an observer, I was alarmed by the fact that these two UN agencies were able to organise this event in Asia without being scrutinised by Asian media or the governments in the region. Continue reading “Asia needs ‘thinking’ media to avoid ‘Arab Spring’ chaos”

India’s Yogi Chief Minister May Rewrite Democracy Textbooks

Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

NEW DELHI (IDN) – From across Asia to Europe and the United States voters have shown their dismay at corrupt political systems by voting in unconventional politicians who promise to “clean the swamp”.

So the election mid-March of a Yogi Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state – may well herald in a new era for Asian politics, where religion could step in to clean up the corruption in politics. Continue reading “India’s Yogi Chief Minister May Rewrite Democracy Textbooks”