by Tsering Wangchuk*
In a classical fashion of Yellow journalism, the Tibetan Political Review (TPR) in a recent article titled ‘The Cost of Missed Opportunities’ sought to conclude through a series of preposterous ‘opinions’ that the Central Tibetan Administration has been ‘silent’ on issues ranging from Hong Kong protests to South African government’s refusal of visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
What is more appalling is that the journal in question promote itself as ‘online journal dedicated to advancing constructive discussion of the important political issues facing the Tibetan nation’.
Demonstrating its non-neutral ‘journalistic’ disposition, the article published on 14 October 2014, claims that CTA leadership is silent on Hong Kong pro-democracy protest based on the reasons they have ‘opinionated’ in their previous articles. Have TPR not rushed to an unsubstantiated hasty conclusions, these misunderstandings and misrepresentation could have been avoided. On 13 October 2014, just a day before publishing their article, Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay spoke at length about the aspiration of Tibetans, Chinese and of the people of Hong Kong for democracy at Forum 2000, to which His Holiness the Dalai Lama was invited last year. Sikyong had responded to questions by AFP and Times Now regarding Hong Kong protest within few days after Occupy Central movement began.
Even more damning allegation came regarding South African government barring visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama to attend Nobel Summit. TPR states that “the CTA leadership was silent on this entire issue until the day when the summit cancellation was announced. That day, two Nobel laureates happened to be in Dharamsala on a long-scheduled visit timed with Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday”. TPR decided to omit the crucial information that the two Nobel laureates were in fact invited by the CTA. It is a blatant attempt to mislead the readers to conform to their narration.
On 2nd October 2014, at the invitation of the CTA, nobel laureates Ms. Jody Williams, Ms. Shirin Ebadi and a representative of ICBL, who were first to cancel their schedule for Nobel summit, participated in an event held in Dharamshala which is a part of ‘Year of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’. To quote Nobel Women’s Initiative regarding the South Africa visa issue, “Nobel peace laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Leymah Gbowee and a representative of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) are pulling the plug on their scheduled trip to South Africa to attend the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, being held October 13-15.” In addition to these Nobel laureates, Liz Bernstein, executive director of Nobel Women’s Initiative and her team also converged in Dharamshala at the invitation of CTA. However, this is a collective victory for all the Tibetans for whom the CTA represents. And most importantly, because of His Holiness’s stature as a global leader of conscience.
To remind the TPR editorial, the CTA has a Representative Office in Pretoria, South Africa. And one of the most important mandates of all the 11 offices of Tibet around the world is regarding His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Unbelievably, TPR is unaware of the fact that Offices of Tibet under CTA directly engages with governments, organizers of His Holiness’s visit and all related issues to it which may not necessarily be conducted on tabloid.
The TPR further states that the CTA had been silent on the Scotland referendum and on the jailing of Ilham Tohti, a prominent ethnic Uyghur scholar. While it is important to share the sorrow and joy of those akin to Tibetans, it is more important to judge whether any comment or statement may jeopardize an ongoing process. However, again, if only TPR had watched the most recent proceedings of the Tibetan Parliament in exile which is available on internet, they would not have missed Sikyong speaking on the Scotland referendum.
The Central Tibetan Administration as the democratic representative of the Tibetan people has the two main objectives: to restore freedom in Tibet and the welfare of Tibetans in exile. While individuals have the freedom to express their views and opinions, the freedom entails responsibility. Recently, the TPR journal accepted an award for journalism given by Students for a Free Tibet called ‘Lhakar Award for Journalism 2014’. To be a responsible journal, it would be wise to offer its readers an apology for factually incorrect article to uphold the ethics of journalism.
* Tsering Wangchuk is the press officer of the Department of Information and International Relations, Central Tibetan Administrations. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the CTA.