30 October, 2020

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Why I stand By Our Cartoon

LAKBIMAnEWS Cartoon Controversy: Why I stand By Our Cartoon

By Ranga Jayasuriya

Ranga Jayasuriya

The LAKBIMAnEWS cartoon on Sunday seemed to have ruffled some feathers. Going by the tweets that were critical of the cartoon, I noticed some card-carrying activists of the anti- Sri Lankan lobby, who may have mistaken LAKBIMAnEWS for one of the Sri Lankan government mouthpieces – which LAKBIMAnEWS is not – and decided to make avail of this opportunity to go for another round of Sri Lanka bashing. That is a sad miscalculation on their part, and they would have known better, if they had happened to go through the editorial content of LAKBIMAnEWS.

To begin with, the cartoon by my colleague Hasantha Wijenayake should be treated as a matter of artistic expression. Cartoons can, sometimes, be provocative, irritating and even outrageous in the way they lampoon the powers that be. Our cartoon depicts the Indian political dynamics vis-à-vis  Sri Lanka, as viewed by our cartoonist. A cartoon could hardly cover the full range of the story. Our cartoon, in my opinion, did not cover the full scope of the Indian foreign policy approach towards Sri Lanka as per the Tamil question. But it covered a part of it, i.e. Tamil Nadu’s increasing belligerence towards Sri Lanka and a prime minister who appeared to be lost in this power dynamic.

Is our cartoon vulgar?  I would say, vulgarity, like beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. While puritans would now be calling for our blood, for the subtle sexual connotation in the cartoon, my position was that it should not be a reason for censorship. Art should not be viewed through puritanical lenses and I do not believe that I, as the acting editor of LAKBIMAnEWS, a post I agreed to hold only until the management finds a replacement, should replicate the censor board of Sri Lanka’s film cooperation. It is a well thought out decision on my part to publish the cartoon and I stand by it.

Going by some of the initial reactions to the cartoon, I suspect that some egos might have been challenged, but our Indian colleagues should understand that Sri Lankans are also entitled to express themselves, even though sometimes such expressions could be mildly irritating, as our cartoon happened to be. A good dose of tolerance is a prerequisite for any healthy society and I have always believed thatIndiawith its flourishing free press, institutional democracy and newfound self confidence can be a beacon of hope for us in this part of world, which has recently witnessed a fresh wave of intolerance and extremism.

LAKBIMAnEWS has never been an Indian basher. Our editorial on Sunday stated that any attempt to reproach New Delhi for the rising pro-Eelam activism in South India was both flawed and counter-productive. We went further to suggest that Sri Lanka seemed to have learnt from its previous mistakes vis-à-vis  the handling of its much larger neighbour, describing it as perhaps the greatest foreign policy lesson as far as Colombo is concerned in recent times.

PS: Indian  political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi  was today (10) arrested and jailed on sedition charges for his drawings that mock the government and politicians. Perhaps, the outrage at our cartoon is symptomatic of a greater wave of intolerance to criticism.

*Ranga Jayasuriya is the acting editor of the LAKBIMAnEWS

Related stories;

LAKBIMAnEWS Cartoon Controversy: ‘Women And Media’ Urges Editor To Apologize

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Why is it that Ranga Jayasuriya is only acting until a replacement for Rajpal Abeynayake is found? He certainly fills the bill in the matter of replacing that indescribable in the matter of self-righteous pomposity (not to mention bad grammar and syntax!) are concerned. If Lakbimanews has not been a mouthpiece for the government, I don’t know what is!

    In addition it has promoted journalism of a most reprehensible type inclusive of encouraging and publishing an argument between the two Muller cousins, J.B. & Carl, wherein the latter accused the former of being the fruit of an incestuous relationship.

    Its homophobic attacks against Ranil Wickremesinghe, the fact that Rajpal Abeynayake and his chosen journalistic acolytes (all supporters of the current regime) used the protection of Lakbimanews to launch personal attacks of the most reprehensible kind against those who disagreed with them is a matter of record.

    Going after Bookiepala’s newspaper at this point seems like too little, too late.

    Ranga Jayasuriya is not the problem, he is only a symptom of a larger one and the second echelon of the vicious cabal that operates in defence of an indefensible regime!

  • 0
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    How would you like if Jayalalita was replaced by Gym-pappa (Duminda Silva) and Manmohan (Indian hhead of state) replaced by SL head of state?

  • 1
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    I’m sorry Ranga but this cartoon is indeed terribly vulgar. As a woman, I object to it. Lakbima, by the way, under your past non-esteemed editor Rajpal Abeynayake certainly did have a tradition of vulgarity towars women whon they attacked and also a tradition of personal attacks. The newspaper was very well known for this and also heavily criticised at least by the civil among us. It is sad to find this tradition continuing.

    Please realise this mistake without being stubborn and taking cover under the wide excuse of ‘art’ which could be said, like the priest’s cassock, to cover a multitude of sins!

    Trivedi’s arrest has nothing to do with this so do not confuse the two for the sake of a convenient argument.

    • 0
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      Poor Chrissy…. Trying to put a logical argument to a brainless!

  • 1
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    “subtle sexual connotation in the cartoon” what bunk! This blatantly offensive image gives ‘subtlety’ a whole new meaning..
    this so-called editor obviously does not understand the English language, never mind journalistic ethics..!

  • 0
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    ps; and to add, Trivedi was arrested over the fact that he replaced the three lions in India’s national emblem with three wolves, their teeth dripping blood, with the message “Long live corruption” written underneath and another cartoon that depicts the Indian parliament as a giant toilet bowl.

    This is very different to a a man politician peeking up a woman politician’s skirts. I would like to see how the strong feminist lobby in India would have reacted to that. They would have eaten him up alive!

    It appears that we still have to learn the proper meaning of vulgarity to abstain from it.

  • 0
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    keep up the good work brother,and show the Indians who are the boss’s.

    the worlds most smelly people dont get it.

    • 0
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      We are apeaking from the country of Malaka and Mervin?

  • 0
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    There is no need for LakbimaNews to apologise. They are merely excercising one of the most noble qualities of democracy – freedom of expression. Vulgar? Provocative? Polically sensitive? Maybe. This is
    subject to interpretation. JayLolita is no sacrosanct divine being – above criticism or reproach. She is used to very tough umbrage.

    The dividing line is we should not exacerbate Indo-Lankan (and more particularly SL-Tamlinadu relations) to decline further. People from both sides should be able to travel both ways without let or hinderance. The challenge is to elevate the equation to sublime levels- because people from Sri Lanka and Tamilnadu are basically friendly and affectionate to the other. The media has a responsible and important role to play here. The forthcoming Cricket festival is a fair barometer to check where we are and where we are going.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    Hasantha… Full marks for you creating a master piece of “obvious”
    We need more…

    • 0
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      Send your wifes picture..he will portray it along with your neighbor!! hahahah

  • 0
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    SO THIS GUY RANGA IS ACTING EDITOR!!!!!!!!!!
    WHAT HAPPENNED TO RAJPAL????/////
    JUST REMEMBERED HE WAS ASSAULTED AT THE BASL DINNER!!!!!!!!!!1
    RANGA, RUN BEFORE YOU GET THE SAME TREATMENT. YOU ARE A GUTTER JOURNALIST.

  • 0
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    Good article dear ranga,weldone. you got a promotion too…Sabra is great..

  • 1
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    I think your cartoon is a disgrace. Showing a person eagerly looking at a woman’s genital is not an artistic expression, but a sign of a psychosomatic disorder of the persons who has drawn and approved it. You and your cartoonist should consult a Psychiatrist.
    We don’t deny freedom of expression for people with psychosomatic disorders’ But an editor of a professional news publication should not treat all its readers as people with psychosomatic disorders.

  • 0
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    What decency readers are expecting from a news rag owned by a Bookiepala. This Bookiepala got his own catcher, whom he took to UK on Cricket Board money to see the world cup, killed inside the Court House, when he turned state witness. The assasin was caught and charges were framed. Does anyone know what happened to the case? Never will. This is JUSTICE a la’ Carte Sri Lanka.

  • 1
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    How on earth this could be an artistic expression Mr. Jayasuriya. This is a pure expression of sexual depression that you and your cartonist go through. People accept nudism and exposing nudism through artistic expression is well accepted but not sexual depression.

  • 0
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    Who is this Ranga like a ….

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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  • 0
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    Cartoons explains the news. Don’t look at it cockeyed! One person has even imagined that the premier is looking at the female’s genital. Now he is the one who is a sadist imagine what is not there!!! CM was a super Tamil Screen actress and we hope she won’t mind such cartoons as she has been in the gossip circle for several decades when she was rocking in the silver screen.

  • 1
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    u know what… u r a jerk…i think it is guys like you who look inside their mothers and sisters skirts, saaries and also rape them…u spread incest..how the f@ck do u justify this cartoon. its people like u who rape women… i wanna beat the hell out of u and guys like u… u incestuous pest…u f@cking parasite…burn in hell assh@le

  • 0
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    u and ur cartoonist are sick…u need therapy… u r a disgrace to journalism. u r a disgrace to the male society…Its because of people like u that all men are categorised as cheap and rapist..this cartoon is bl@@DY CHEAP MAN… U AND UR CARTOONIST NEED HELP…. U R DERANGED IF U R JUSTIFYING THIS SICK CARTOON

  • 1
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    Ranga by the looks of him is trying valiantly to mask his Dravidian origins by being a “chandiya”

    This is what we can expect from the socalled ‘intellectuals’ in Sri Lanka who have reached a new low.

    they keep harping on about toilet fasciliites in India just like the Suddha and to feel superior to the indians.

    they cant even take care of less than 2 million of their own population let alone giving them toilets.

    I hope their behinds will turn white soon…

  • 0
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    Ranga,

    Let me suggest you an interesting and provocative thought for cartoonist. I think you are very deeply involve talking about freedom of speech. I appreciate that. Can I imagine replacing your mother or sister or your wife to Ms. Jayalalitha’s position in the cartoon.

    Is that freedom of speech too?

    In Sri Lanka more 50% population is female. Do you know that?
    Do you know your mother is female
    Do you know your wife is female (if you are married)
    Do you know our sisters are female (if you have)
    Do you know Mr. Sumathipala’s wife and mother are female
    Most importantly, Do you know Lord Buddha’s mother is female

    Can you imagine to replace any of these respectable figures into Jayalaitha’s position.

    Is that freedom of speech too?
    Good luck man.

    • 0
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      Citizen, you seriously have no idea as to what free speech is, and how it works do you?

      The advantage of free speech is that it allows for the exchange of ideas (no matter how ‘offensive’) without violence. The cartoon killed no body. The cartoon broke no bones.

      However it seems the reaction to the cartoon can achieve violence. Is that the fault of free speech, or the stupidity of the human race? Sensitivity is ignorance. People need to learn to grow up and stop taking offense at everything and anything. That will be a good starting point for all of us to communicate better, instead of shooting and bombing each other at the first sight of ‘offensive’ material.

      You seem to put an emphasis on Lord Buddha. What did he teach about taking offense?

      • 1
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        Navin,yesterday some fellow in the US did a movie with prophet mohammed having sex etc.Libyans burnt down the US consulate and killed a american in it.I noticed a Libyan Slogan saying if you can have freedom of speech why can’t we have freedom of action?Makes you think doesn’t it?There is logic in the Libyan argument too.Freedom of speech,freedom of action cannot be allowed to become like wild horses.They have to be tamed and controlled by the governments.They should see that offensive material to others must not be published,because the repercussions may become far more than it actually warrants and innocents may have to suffer like that poor american.

        A government is responsible for its people and it should see that they do not offend people in other countries.They just can’t say that they are private citizens and wash their hands off.Then the next step could be they could harbour terrorist etc and the government can say they are not responsible for it too.

        Western nations should bring in laws to stop offensive material being published and so should srilanka.Freedom of speech,my ass.

        • 0
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          Shankar, to state that there has to be laws to stop people offending others is to state that politicians are somehow superior to society. No. It is society who demands freedom and peace, thus it is the role of politicians to provide that. Only politicians don’t know how to deliver. They think creating knee jerk laws that completely fail to address real issues is job well done. And people like you who demand such knee jerk reactions help them remain in power, while continuing to fail society.

          The idea of free speech is to allow people to express themselves, and for others to hear what even the most extreme of people are thinking, so that they can be corrected or helped, before they act out. The fact society consist of immature people gagging for an opportunity to get offended and kill each other is a failure of humanity, not the principle of human rights or free speech. Law and order only works if obeying the law gives society something in return, such as peace, freedom and security. The recent London riots was a great example of how law and order does not work when people are offered little in return for obeying (London is after all a showcase for inequality). Civilisation means all people in a society living in a civilised way. Peace is the result of equality and freedom. Not laws! Having the masses following a bunch of instructions, like robots, is not the way to create peace, or civilised societies. Equality and freedom is the solution. The Law is simply what makes sure everyone is on an even playing field when it comes to playing their part in a civilised society.

          You state ‘Libyan Slogan saying if you can have freedom of speech why can’t we have freedom of action?Makes you think doesn’t it?’.

          Well, yes, it does make me think. It also helps me realise. It helps me realise just how ignorant, stupid, and lazy some people can be, and why all religion, and other great human philosophies such as democracy and human rights (including free speech) are all such failures. It is not the fault of the teachings, just the ignorance and stupidity of the followers. Great ideas in the hands of idiots will still only produce idiotic results (including idiotic slogans which idiotic people find to be genius).

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          Navin,you say the idea of free speech is for people to express themselves.You yourself have defined its objectives properly.So can you tell me denigrating the prophet mohammed falls into that category of ‘expressing’ themselves?Ridiculing manmohan singh and showing him peering up into jayalalitha’s pussy is ‘expressing’ ones thoughts?

          I agree with you that people should have the freedom to express themselves.Where i differ is we can’t give them the freedom of the wild ass to express themselves by offending others.Already the world is having enough problems and we cannot allow some fools to create more problems,and as you rightly pointed out about the libyans, greater fools to retaliate and make it worse.

        • 0
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          Shankar, it takes two to tango. What I am saying is, just because one acts out offensively, that doesn’t mean the others have to retaliate. In doing so, they only play into the hands of the stirrer.

          I have seen this video you speak of, and it is atrocious. It has clearly been created to stir and cause trouble. Muslims could have set a fantastic example of the strength and wisdom of Islam by not retaliating. But by retaliating the way they have, these people have proven themselves to be just as ignorant and intolerant as those who created the video.

          Words will never kill or break bones. To kill and break bones because of words is a sign of immaturity. Afterall, why resort to violence, when you can use words to discredit the offensive words? Violence is for uncivilised barbarians.

      • 0
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        HI navin,

        why dont u tell us about what Buddha taught about how to take offense? And r u a follower urself to preach in this forum?

        • 0
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          Lakshmi, the Buddha taught the root of all suffering to come from our attachments. Taking offense is a form of suffering, and it is as the Buddha himself put, a result of attachment. If we detach from all worldly things, then there will be nothing on this world that could offend us.

          I am not claiming to be completely detached. However this understanding alone helps me to put taking offense into its proper context. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

          If you take the Islam issue, these people are ‘offended’ because of their attachment to Mohammad and their religious identity. However Mohammad himself taught the importance of not attaching to him, or anyone else, and gave instructions to not make statues etc of him. How sad the way it has been misinterpreted and twisted. And then we have the exact opposite in Buddhism, though the same teaching from the Buddha. Only we build statues and attack anyone who ‘disrespects’ the statue. These are all results of ignorance and unfavorable attachments.

          As for your question ‘And r u a follower urself to preach in this forum?’

          I am quite simply a fan. The Buddha taught us to seek our own path, as such, I have no interest in following anyone or anything. However that is not to say I do not respect and appreciate wise teachings.

  • 0
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    Like teh King like the cartooniist. Sexual depravation is their main stay. Whether it is the cartoon in the paper or war in the North or Millitarised peace in the North

  • 0
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    why do you look like a monkey. you must be related to apes.

  • 0
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    Artistic,my ass.One man’s art is another man’s fart,they say.I suppose if Ranga was peering up instead of Manmohan he would have found it very ‘artistic’,but i doubt Manmohan will.

    Ranga says that vulgarity like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.That is why even wild horses would not be able to drag Ranga from that strategic position,if he had exchanged places with Singh.

    • 0
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      Hah….hah…hahhhh Ranga must have by now discovered the true meaning of aesthetic beauty!!! Lol…!!!!

  • 1
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    you can see hundreds of cartoons of JayaLalitha. But you would never find a Cartoon like this. This is not a humour. This is showing real filthy taste of the cartoonist and the Editor.

  • 0
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    Good cartoon, an Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi recently did something fabulous about India. This country is anyway a toilet bowl corrupt to the core and full of immorality; Jayalalitha is a confirmed [Edited out]
    Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
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  • 0
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    WHY LOOK AT CARTOONS, WHEN YOUR PICTURE IS THERE.
    YOUR PUBLISHERS, YOUR BOSS AND YOU ARE THE “SCUM” OF THE EARTH

  • 0
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    How would you like if Jyalalitha is replaced by Gym pappa Duminda Silva and Indian head of state Dr. Manmohan Singh, replaced by SL head of state?

    This our culture; nude parades of Wanni, Pahalagama thero’s child abuse……

  • 0
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    Cartoon is a catoon. Let it hit any where it may hit. Job well done sir.

  • 0
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    The cartoon in your newspaper is a reflection of the dirty mind of the cratoonist. However much cartoons can be attributed to creativity, freedom of expression etc yet this is a case of crossing the limits and influencing dirty thoughts in the minds of many a reader.

    Hasantha Wijenayake needs to be warned on such acts of blatant sexual ridicule. And you,Ranga Jayasuriya, have the gaul and sheer audacity to support your colleague.That is indeed a shame! You need to apologize for this act of vulgar ridicule! This cannot be pardoned!

    You & Hasantha better get into hiding before you get booted out by a mob for this act of sheer disgrace.

    • 0
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      Lakshmi, are you an advocate of mobs are you? Mobs are for the ignorant and uncivilized. Eye for an eye is bad enough. Eye for a drawing…? Woow, you may have a skill for picking dirty minds, but when it comes to picking ignorance and shear stupidity, you are clearly less talented…

  • 0
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    In a country where the mere act of love, kissing a Buddha statue is an offence punishable by rigorous imprisonment for 6 months one wonders what the stance and official position of the GOSL about this indecent cartoon and shameless assault on the national pride and ego of the Indian state! Taking into grave consideration the fact that the President of the GOSL directed its law enforcement authority to raid, ransak and take prisoner the staff of a lawfully established website, Srilankaxnews, with a search warrant from a court of law under the direct supervison and purview of the President alleging that the articles posted by the website “hurt the glory of the king” what official stance and actions the same President, government and the law enforcement authroties and the courts in Sri Lanka would resort to on this grave violation of the good name and pride of a nation and its Prime Minister.

  • 0
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    WHY HAVE A CARTOON???????///

    YOUR PHOTO’ WOULD SUFFICE.

    LOOKING AT YOU, REMINDED OF “THE MISSING LINK”

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