The Island Questions New York Times' Stoic Silence On Asian Mirror Query Over State Propaganda Involvement

The Sunday Island newspaper has highlighted the fact that the New York has avoided to a query made by Asian Mirror on using a politically appointed government propaganda person to write an article on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa's deals with China.

In his political analysis today, the newspaper's political analyst C.A. Chandraprema said the New York Times had 'tattered credentials'. 

He also pointed out the fact that the New York Times had failed to give due space for a clarification sent by Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa in response to the story questioning Rajapaksa's alleged deals with China. 

Chandraprema went on to explain that the New York times article was written based on a "recycled story" that was published in the state-run Daily News in July 2015. He also added the Editor of the state-run 'The Sunday Newspaper' was involved in writing the NY Times article. 

Asian Mirror sent the following query to the New York Times on Saturday (June 30) questioning the rationale behind using a member of the current Sri Lankan government's propaganda machinery as a contributor to the story. She was appointed the Editor of the Sunday Observer by the politically appointed management of the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited, the state newspaper company of Sri Lanka. 

"We are aware the New York Times adopts a strict ethical framework when producing content, but questions have been raised if these were adhered to when the aforesaid article was being produced. According to the article, one of its contributors is Dharisha Bastians, who currently holds a position with the Sri Lankan government propaganda machinery - she is the editor of the government's propaganda newspaper 'The Sunday Observer', and was hired by a politically appointed management of the state newspaper company. Concerns have been raised in certain quarters that her association with the current government has allowed her to manipulate and influence certain aspects of the information given to the author of the article. We would like to know if the editorial team of the New York Times, which typically followed strict guidelines and processes when vetting staff, was aware of the fact that Ms. Bastians is employed by the state propaganda machinery when soliciting information from her, and would like to know if the NYT would like to comment on the political affiliation of a reporter paid for by the organisation?," Asian Mirror asked. 

The New York Times, which recently asked former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contact its senior Editorial team over the content published on its platform, has avoided responding to our question thus far.


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