LTTE's money talks again
Channel4 has come up with another disgusting piece of
journalism aimed at tarnishing Sri Lanka's reputation. We deny outright
the wild allegations contained therein.
The programme is yet another example of western media
arrogance in dealing with or claiming to report on the emergent and
developing world. Sri Lanka may be in focus at the moment, but it will
be another developing world country in the not too distant future.
The programme represents nothing more than the
self-indulgent and deeply-flawed focus of self-selecting, middle-class
white elite. This white, western elite is represented by British
journalists, British politicians, British international bureaucrats,
Canadian and American Human Rights activists - all of whom were
commenting on the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
This western self-indulgence - interventionism as it
were by media - clearly endangers peace and reconciliation within
post-war Sri Lanka. It inevitably fans the flames of the very extremism
that was defeated at the end of the civil war. This sort of external
media campaigning will encourage intransigence within those political
forces historically identified with LTTE extremism - intransigence which
will postpone a final political settlement within Sri Lanka.
The programme was made up in large part of essentially
rehashed and repackaged allegations edited and reformatted in time for
presentation at - and with the clear intention of influencing - the
United Nations Human Rights Council meetings in Geneva, and any possible
vote regarding Sri Lanka within those meetings. Channel 4 News'
objective was self-evidently more political and partisan than objective
and journalistic. It was "advocacy" in the guise of journalism.
The self-publicised presence of Callum Macrae, the
director of both of Channel 4 News' programmes on Sri Lanka, in Geneva
during the meetings of the Human Rights Council amply demonstrates the
real motivation for the programme and why it was screened when it was.
That Channel 4 News has continued to rely largely upon
sensationalist materials made available to it by anti-government groups
and individuals. Unnamed and disguised "witnesses" are once again used
by Channel 4, together with sworn statements by an unnamed Sri Lankan
For all the focus on Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan
government and military and the country's civil war, Channel 4 still
makes fundamental mistakes in describing Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the
Minister of Defence as opposed to his actual position as the Permanent
Secretary at the Ministry of Defence.
There is no mention yet again of the fact that the
LTTE were a terrorist organisation.
There is no focus on the fact that the LTTE forced
hundreds of thousands of civilians to accompany them or that they killed
civilians to prevent them leaving.
There is no mention whatsoever of the fact that the
LTTE had artillery and mortar units and that these fired into the No
Fire Zones and at hospitals. Ironically, the only picture of an
artillery piece being fired appears to be one manned by the LTTE.
David Miliband's comments are somewhat undermined by
the fact that Wikileaks showed that his interest in Sri Lankan was
solely the result of the influence of Tamil voters within the United
Kingdom. Miliband's stated concerns for Human Rights investigations and
justice do not extend to his own country's 30 year civil war in Northern
Ireland (ended with an amnesty) or the responsibility the government of
which he was part for thousands of civilian deaths and injuries in Iraq
The consistent telecasts have had no objectives other
than to name and shame Sri Lanka with unsubstantiated materials quite
contrary to the ethics of journalism and international norms. The
commercialization behind the telecast is possibly the only motivating
factor that drives Channel 4 towards this scurrilous campaign against