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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2677

On The Tigers' Pay List

By Rohan Nawaniwasa

The conflict situation in Sri Lanka has changed dramatically during the last two odd decades. The advanced nature of the tactics used by Tigers, their weaponry, craft, attempts towards forming up of an Air Arm and most importantly the methodology that the Tigers have used in taking their terror campaign to the international community. Helped their organization to develop during the past few decades, and they have taken the media battle to the international arena. The importance of having the media battle on par with the ground battle was identified by the Tigers when they were defeated mainly by the Government lead media sections locally during the mid nineties.

After three Eelam wars, we are almost observing the fourth during these days. Defence analysts believe the closure of Mavil Aru sluice by the Tigers was in fact aimed at provocating the Government to declare all out war against Tigers. The Government reacted diplomatically keeping the military option at last, but when it was felt that the Tigers are no where going to open the sluice, Government was forced to react militarily but certainly with a humanitarian view as a responsible Government at no stage can allow thousands of people to die. The whole story starts from there. Two battle fronts opened from Tiger's and the Government's end while one front was fighting on the ground the other was launched through the print and electronic media.

Tigers as usual used their pro Tiger web site(s), Radio and TV stations to the maximum effect to project the combat image of the Tiger battle to the Tamil Diaspora living abroad. The importance of sending the message initially to the international community either in the wrong or fabricated form was always considered paramount by the Tigers. A higher battle was fought through the Tiger media segments to positively support the ground terrorist cadres. The image of the Tigers was enhanced to a level which resulted in listing them as the No.1 terrorist group in the world. Thanks to the Tiger and other media segments.

Today we have a completely a fragile situation. As the military offensives are on going, real identities of media institutions, individuals (both foreign and local) and their line of thinking is being revealed day by day.

What exactly have we seen during the past two months? If we closely monitor the print and electronic media both local and international, you will be able to unearth the unbelievable story of how the Tigers were successful in tackling both local and international media organizations and individuals to their (Tiger's) advantage.

Forget about the Government media campaigns, any way they (print and electronic media) have to carry the Government's version. It was seen and many praised the Government for not imposing restrictions on media arms (local and international) as freedom of expression is always considered vital. Let's try to analyze what you and I see daily through our TV channels and what we read on papers.

If we observe news telecasts of certain private TV channel(s), their motives and media ethics are very much visible. Despite the view of the common public have on these TV channel(s), they have been tactful enough to keep intact the common public through their low grade imitative programs. Of course the audiences which I referred here have no interest about sovereignty or the territorial integrity. Tactics of such TV channel(s) have been well planned in order to win the hearts and minds of the public at first and then to deliver the lethal dose once it come to matters related to defence. Those sections of the public, who are bonded so closely to such channels, are any way will not at their favorite channel(s) when they see tolerance. That is the crucial side of the story.

If you observe closely, all the news items related to Tigers’ terrorist activities, some channels never even mention the word "terrorists" (forget about Tiger terrorists). According to some news items read - "suicide bombers have suddenly emerged from the public in order to carry out the mission and they have taken those suicide kits etc from the open market." This is really a shameful affair once it comes to media ethics. If the security forces and Police do a raid to security check an area where Tamils reside or Tiger informants are disclosed from the military, these channels will carry the exact wordings of such stories, but never in the case of Tiger terrorists’ activities. Here are some examples:

a. Late Mr Laxhsman Kadirgamar was assassinated by the Tiger snipers, those channels reported it as an unidentified sniper carried out the assassination. This assassination was condemned by the international community and even by the UN Secretary General.

b. When the present Army Commander was targeted by the Tiger suicide cadres in April, those channels reported it as an act of a suicide attempt. When the whole country was fingering at Tigers and a large number of evidence was there to prove that the Tiger terrorists did it, these media sections intentionally avoid blaming the LTTE.

c. When the Tiger terrorists destroyed a bus transporting innocent civilians at Kebetigollewa, those channels reported it as just another claymore explosion but refrained from indicating who did it.

d. When General Parami Kulathunga was assassinated by Tigers suicide cadres, those channels reported it as another suicide attempt but not by the Tiger terrorists.

e. When the Director General of the SCOPP Mr K. Loganathan was gunned down by Tiger pistol cadres, those channels reported this as an act of a group of unidentified gunmen

There are enough examples to show the pro Tiger media reports telecast on those channels. The present security situation in the country has offered more options for these pro-Tiger local TV channel(s) to continue their effort of safeguarding the world ruthless terrorist organization.

But why is that they behave in this strange way?

What they really want to achieve?

Whom are they trying to satisfy?

Are they being paid?

Do they want the Tigers to have a separate state in this country?

Are they justifying all that the Tigers do?

This list of questions can go on and on. But the media entities that we are referring will not be able to answer those questions.

But being slightly sensitive of such media segments, definitely you and I will be able to point finger accurately with the common sense that we have but not so common among the media pundits who run those Tiger supporting media arms. The simple answer for this is that, irrespective of their race, religion and caste these bunches of so called media businessmen are trading the National Security of the country at large and assisting the Tigers to continue their never ending battle against all fronts. I for sure know that they are being paid by the Tigers for not highlighting words such as Tigers, Terrorists and LTTE during their news telecasts.

They are paid by the Eelam banks in Sri Lankan notes (in Dollars and Euros some times) for the excellent support they render to Tiger terrorists.

But remarkably the general public has come to note this development recently. Thanks to the Tiger initiated offensives in the East and North defence related incidents are talked too much and public is questioning as to why on earth these institutions so close to us in entertainment TV programmes are not so close when it comes to reporting of defence news? Why aren’t they fingering at Tigers for hundreds of terror activities the Tigers carried out?

The so called Sri Lankan defence news reporters working for various foreign news agencies too fall into the same category as the above that I have discussed. The identities of such news agencies will be kept as a secret, but if any one is in need of documentary proof, the writer is in possession. It is disgusting to see that these defence journalists being Sri Lanka at the first place carry the news versions in favor of the Tigers. If a couple of Dollars and Euros can trade the Sri Lankan identity to project the views of the heads of those foreign media institutions, I have no other word to name them as Traitors.

The damage that such journalists do to the image of the country as well to the security situation cannot be corrected in any way once a news release is sent to the world. No one needs to carry news versions in favor of the Government or the Government forces. At least such reporting should be unbiased. When those reporters indicate the Tiger terrorists as Rebels, the only idea that I get is, these so called foreign (local skinned) defence journalists have not read about the great struggles of great rebellions and their movements. By indicating Tigers as rebels are they trying to justify the killings and other violence carried out by the Tigers?

Or are they trying to make happy their heads who have the right of controlling and adding the version as want prior releasing it to the world? Or else to keep the monthly salary flow to their bank accounts without interruptions even though the national interests, sovereignty and integrity are gone for a six.

If you can go through some news releases of those patriotic Sri Lankans, you will understand what and to whom I'm really referring.

Those reporters today have a peaceful sleep only because of the contribution and sacrifice the Security Forces personnel have made to date. The contribution of those men in uniform does not required to be given an international publicity. But the true picture should be given to the world as those reporters are taking the international version of the situation. The present offensives are primarily due to the Tiger violence. Government forces are doing the proactive role as quite rightly mentioned by the Government; the National Security at no stage will be compromised.

When a large number of civilians were displaced these journalists failed to indicate that this is a result of the Tiger offensives. When a large number of civilians were running short of food, they failed to report it is because the Tiger offensives, when a considerable number of NGOs left the areas in North and East, they failed to indicate that it was because of the Tiger offensives.

Why is it difficult for them to tell to the world "the government did not initiated the offensives but it is only the Tigers who initiated it? The question of the integrity of these Lankans is indeed a doubt.

The reality cannot be hidden at any stage, its all business and money matters a lot. For money, people have done wonders. When their bank accounts are monthly filled with Dollars and Euros, they do not worry about what they talk, write on TV channels and papers and even the important aspects of national security is put to the risk. It is high time the Government takes a serious decision on such reporters (local and foreign), news papers and TV channels and to give them guide lines for what they are reporting on especially defence matters. As the Government does not have a media censoring policy, the Government then needs to formulate a better channel at least to observe what these reporters are reporting without harm to the stories that they carry.

Then the officials of the Government will be able to at least ask some questions from those writers and most importantly can understand who writes for whom and with what intentions.
The tasks of streamlining such type of TV channels are not so hard, but the difficult part is to trace the integrity of certain Sri Lankan reporters who represent foreign news agencies. As an immediate measure, we the Sri Lankans have only one option, and that is to conduct a protest in terms of boycotting those pro Tiger media entities and individuals.

The military battle which the soldiers are fighting and the victories that they gain sacrificing their lives need to be given the due respect, let not a media battle launched by pro Tiger entities disrespect it.

- Asian Tribune -

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