Good Journalism Channel Four
Posted on July 3rd, 2011

by Chandrin Katuwawala

Channel Four’s ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ is the most biased one-sided reporting of an international conflict I’ve seen in ages.  Sure I bet the Sri Lankan government forces aren’t saints but there is a coordinated effort to rewrite what actually happened in this conflict which I followed to its end. Given the behaviour of the LTTE from corralling civilian human shields around heavy weaponry, shooting escaping civilians in the back, basing military positions next to make-shift hospitals and fighting to the death while holding hundreds of thousands as hostages there is no better label for them than die-hard yet cowardly terrorists. Before the LTTE’s end, they targeted civilians with weekly suicide bombing campaigns killing literally thousands, raided villages and killed all of other ethnicities including pregnant women, and murdered hundreds of Muslims at prayer, all in the effort of creating a mono-ethnic fiefdom in Sri Lanka.

The No-Fire zones were a naive effort by the Sri Lankan government to separate civilians from combatants so the LTTE and government forces could deck it out away from civilians. Of course what happened was that the LTTE immediately rushed their cadres and heavy weaponry into the No-Fire zones, corralled civilians around themselves and continued fighting. History has completely been rewritten by supposedly objective journalists like John Snow by implying that the Sri Lankan Government tricked Tamil civilians to go to their deaths in the No-Fire zones. The Sri Lankan government had absolutely nothing to gain by killing Tamil civilians and in this case is only guilty of naivety in creating No-Fire zones when dealing with terrorists.

Sri Lanka was faced with the possibility of an unending conflict with a cornered die-hard terrorist force with civilian hostages. Repeated offers were made for the LTTE to give up their arms and surrender, all to no avail. There could only be one outcome. Channel 4 conveniently glosses over the fact that when Sri Lankan government forces finally broke through LTTE defences, live satellite video showed Tamil civilians rushing en masse towards the Sri Lankan Army not away from them.

I certainly do not want to give a blanket endorsement to the Sri Lankan government, as it does seem to resemble many other tin pot dictatorships. The Sri Lankan military is probably as respectful of human rights as many other third world country’s armed forces.  I don’t doubt some LTTE leaders were killed by Sri Lankan forces after being captured (reminds me of what happened in Pakistan last month). Civilians where held in miserable conditions by western standards, while the government tried to weed out the terrorists who hid amongst hostages. Freedom of speech is probably almost non-existent in the country.  From frequently visiting Sri Lanka over the last 35 years the Tamil minority do not identify with a Sri Lankan identity (like some British Muslims don’t feel like they belong in England).  However, 45% of the inhabitants of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo are Tamil and the Mayor of Colombo is a Tamil speaking gentleman.  These statistics don’t seem to corroborate the allegation of a coordinated government sponsored genocide against Tamils.

Creating international diplomatic efforts against the Sri Lankan government will only strengthen its support by the vast majority of Sri Lankans who are willing to forgive the blatant corruption, nepotism and breaches of human rights when Sri Lanka is threatened by suicide-bombing terrorists.

LTTE supporters in London have millions of pounds in their coffers obtained through coercion, people smuggling and credit card fraud (the British police even had to create a specialist Tamil Taskforce in 2003 to fight these activities). There is evidence that LTTE suicide bombing campaigns were coordinated by mobile phone from aboard, potentially from London. LTTE supporters even have some British politicians in their pockets (see Wikileaks entry about David Milliband). Therefore, it will not be surprising if Channel 4 is also at the trough.  Horrific visuals from any international conflict will, by definition, horrify. Similar one-sided videos can very easily be created for many other historical conflicts such as Vietnam, and especially for recent military actions in Iraq, Afganistan to Pakistan where in total literally millions of civilians have been killed, medical aid has been denied to civilians and rape been committed by military forces. The difference it that these acts were committed by Western forces and soldiers, not those of third world country mired in an almost three decade long civil war. Clearly there are machinations afoot with the one-sided reporting of Channel 4.

One Response to “Good Journalism Channel Four”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    After nearly thirty years of terrorism some Tamils have not realize that they cannot have their separate state in Sri Lanka.Now they are doing their best to destabilize Sri Lanka. What are they going to gain by doing that? If their aim is to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government they should think again .The intervention of the Americans, British and other western governments will only strengthen the support for the president.
    Having said that, it is time the Tamil population in Sri Lanka think who is their real enemy is.Is it the majority Sinhalese or the Tamil nationalist politicians? What have these Tamil political parties done to improve their lives other than separate them from the majority Sinhalese?
    Isn’t it time for the Tamil people to join the major political parties and work as one nation?Do the Tamils really think the Americans and the Westerners really love them. Just look at Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libiya.

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