SL highlights ‘Channel 4 News’ role in C4 episode

‘Producer and broadcaster different, Tamil Diaspora leadership evident’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The government of Sri Lanka alleges the Channel 4 News, based at the Independent Television Network (ITN) building, 200 Grays Inn Road, London, WCIX8X, had produced a controversial documentary – ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ – at the behest of those hell-bent on undermining post-war reconciliation efforts.

Government sources told The Island that Channel 4, which telecast the documentary on June 14 and Channel 4 News were two different organizations involved in an operation spearheaded by the UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) to discredit the Sri Lankan military.

Responding to a query, intelligence sources said that in spite of the Channel 4 being the broadcaster, which commissioned the documentary, the Tamil Diaspora was behind the operation. Sources said that both Channel 4 and Channel 4 News had no reason to target the government of Sri Lanka until the Tamil Diaspora moved in, with some disgruntled elements throwing their weight behind the project.

"How much it cost the LTTE rump. The film project, while causing irreparable damage to Sri Lanka’s reputation sought to justify continuing influx of Tamil asylum seekers," an officer, holding the rank of Colonel, told The Island. The official said that those involved in the GTF project, including some British MPs, had made an abortive attempt to thwart the deportation of a group of Tamils citing ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ as evidence of ongoing repression targeting minorities.

Sources said that Channel 4 based at 124, Horseferry Road, London SWIP 2TX, had nothing to do with research, production and presentation of the 50-minute documentary.

UK based sources said that Jon Snow, who presented ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ and Sri Lanka critics, Jonathan Miller and Krishan Gurumurthy, were employees of Channel 4 News at the ITN building. Sources alleged that those behind the documentary had articulated that the real trouble began in September 2008, whereas eelam war IV erupted in mid 2006.

Snow in his introductory remarks said that the ITN had spent two years on the project

Army headquarters pointed out that by September 2008, the LTE had lost the entire Eastern Province and was rapidly losing its hold on the Vanni west.

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Island that nothing could be as ridiculous as the Channel 4 News allegation that the government had forced expatriate relief workers out of the Vanni to make way for the military to target civilians. "They couldn’t be unaware the ICRC remained in the eastern part of the Vanni even in January 2009," the Defence Secretary said.

The ICRC told The Island it quit Puthukudirippu in January 2009 following the battle for Kilinochchi. The Army regained Kilinochchi on January 1, 2009.

Responding to Al Jazeera regarding ‘Sri Lanka Killing Fields’ UPFA National List MP Prof Rajiva Wijesinha recalled how former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband played politics with the Sri Lankan issue for his personal gain and that of the Labour party at the last parliamentary polls. Wijesinha cited US diplomatic cables originating from US mission in London leaked by Wiki Leaks as evidence of Miliband’s appalling conduct.

Wijesinha alleged some Sri Lankans based in Germany had been involved in the Channel 4 project.

External Affairs Ministry sources alleged that ‘Sri Lanka Killing Fields’ had been produced especially for a screening at the recently concluded UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva.


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