Is it justifiable to show footage of people being killed?

Alison Parker, left, and Adam Ward. Parker, who were killed on 26 August. Photograph: AP Here’s a statistic to ponder: Reportedly, more US citizens have been killed by guns since 1968 than have died on battlefields in the entire history of America. This telling statistic featured in a useful debate this weekend – reproduced below – over the ethics of media coverage of atrocities stimulated by the recent ‘live’ shooting of two US TV journalists. (I for one elected not to watch this appalling incident, but clearly many chose the opposite path.) See what you think for yourself. ———— From The… More

Europe’s life-jacket capital

Currently there are so many eye-watering stories of the desperate plight of refugees from chronic instabilty and conflict in North Africa, the Middle East and beyond attempting to reach ‘Fortress Europe’ by any and every means possible. This one, a BBC News report on Syrian and Iraqi refugees attempting – and often failing – to reach Greece by boat from the Turkish coastal city of Izmir, is particularly poignant: not least for anyone who’s ever used a life-jacket for themselves, or their loved ones. ————– The city of Izmir on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast has long been known as a tourist… More

I’ll speak on behalf of Sri Lanka: Tony Blair

Not content with denying any responsibility for the continuing carnage in Iraq and beyond, and still dogged by acusations – notably from Desmond Tutu – of responsibility for war crimes, Tony Blair is now going the whole hog: he’s offering his services to the new Sri Lankan government. And exactly what are the ‘misconceptions about the country’ he’s offering to help the Sri Lankan authorities negate? Yes, like me you’ve probably guessed it folks: it’ll be all about war crimes allegations, chiefly those stemming from the final stages of the country’s civil war in 2009. Well at least our former… More

Roadmap to reconciliation: 4 challenges for Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe I have an op article assessing the post-electoral political landscape in Sri Lanka  in today’s Hindustan Times. It’s written jointly with Erik Solheim, lead Norwegian peace negotiator in Sri Lanka and a key interview source for my forthcoming book To End A Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka. The piece is below, and you’ll find it online here. HINDUSTAN TIMES Roadmap to reconciliation: 4 challenges for Sri Lanka after polls Erik Solheim and Mark Salter 20 August 2015 These are critical times for Sri Lanka. This week the country completed its second… More

Election Day in Sri Lanka

Today, 17 August 2015 is parliamentary election day in Sri Lanka. As I write in fact, the polls have just closed (16.00 Colombo time)  and we will probvably have the first results by around midnight local time (c. 18.30 CET). Plenty more to say on the subject later, but for now here are two thought-provoking offerings: The first, the aptly titled ‘No Way, Mr. Rajapaksa’, which is the best of the eve-of-elections local media commentaries I’ve seen – not least for managing to corral T.S. Elliot into the service of a passionate argument for why the Mahinda Rajapaksa worldview belongs,… More