Curator of the Galle Literary Festival, Shyam Selvadurai, answers a host of questions about the event. Once again, it’s clear that our boycott call has placed necessary focus on Sri Lanka’s human rights abuses:
Q: There were also reports of a panel on media freedom, which was eventually cancelled. What went wrong there?
A: We just couldn’t put it together. It was a last minute thing. It was just hard to find the panel we wanted because it has to be fair and balanced. You have to give voice to both sides, it’s very important we have to appear non partisan and impartial and we couldn’t find the panelists that we felt would reflect a balanced point of view. We stand above all this partisan politics and it’s very important we keep that.
Q: Is it true that you were unable to find any government representatives who were willing to speak at the panel?
A: We looked. It was a bit hard. But at some point we just couldn’t, and you have to move on. At the end I wasn’t happy with what I had before me and as a curator you should always stand behind it. Being fair and balanced is very important for me.
Q: What are your opinions on freedom of expression in this country?
A: Well, I think it’s an ongoing problem that has to be addressed.