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 “Army Officer”.
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 and Afghanistan.
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 Sri Lanka.