Campaign for Channel-4 programme gains momentum in UK

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 14 June 2011, 17:33 GMT]
Human rights and media activists in UK have published advertisements on TV channels, full page ads on Sunday and Tuesday papers and have distributed over two million leaflets urging the public in UK to view ‘Sri Lanka's Killings Fields’, a documentary produced by Channel 4 that has won awards for exposing Sri Lanka's war crimes. The show follows a group of Sinhala journalists, the Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) exiled from the island initially, chose the channel to release a gruesome execution video they had acquired from their sources on the ground in 2009. "Sri Lanka's Killing Fields" would be globally viewable from the website of Channel-4 as the station has removed 'geo blocking' software from this programme for 7 days, to facilitate those outside the UK and Ireland to view the documentary after its broadcast Tuesday night.

The documentary will be available for global viewers at URL http://www.channel4.com/4od

“What deeply worries me is the shyness of Indian media. With India’s so called diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka, our Media could have easily sneaked into Sri Lanka and exposed these crimes while it was happening and could have saved a life or two at the least. Our media needs to take some deep introspection on what failed us from doing this. Is it fear, prejudice or lack of respect towards humanity?,” writes an Indian Tamil blogger, Sunderapandyan, questioning the state of journalism in India.

In reality, it is only a few Sinhala journalists, who played the crucial role in setting the trend now being carried on by the Channel-4.

The determined group of the journalists in the JDS had even braved the opposition from a section of its own Sinhala media activists who didn't wish to expose their Sinhala nation and chose to leave the group over controversies.

The execution video was later proven to be authentic by several experts, including the experts chosen by the UN.

Channel 4 campaign
Yolanda Foster, Sri Lanka researcher at Amnesty International with BTF Tamil activist Nilavan
Channel 4 campaign
Yolanda Foster, Sri Lanka researcher at Amnesty International on Tuesday joined British Tamils Forum (BTF) campaigners in London distributing leaflets outside King Cross station urging the public to view the documentary.

Nilavan, a British Eezham Tamil, who hails from Batticaloa seen on the photo with Yolanda Foster, said: “It is a big day for Eezham Tamils, The British public is going to see some of the bloody secrets of the atrocities by the occupying Sri Lankan military.”

On Tuesday's 50 minute programme, Channel 4's head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, said: “The footage is probably the most horrific the channel has ever shown.”

“The programme features devastating new video evidence of war crimes – some of the most horrific footage Channel 4 has ever broadcast. Captured on mobile phones, both by Tamils under attack and government soldiers as war trophies, the disturbing footage shows: the extra-judicial executions of prisoners; the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian camps; and dead female Tamil fighters who appear to have been raped or sexually assaulted, abused and murdered,” according to Channel 4.



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