Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Headlines you will not see

My post about child soldiers yesterday was partially out of frustration with BBC for their reporting style of Sri Lankan civil war.I'm Sinhalese who believe that Tamil minority have been wronged in the past and the way out is only through negotiations.I firmly believe that Tigers are terrosists and should be defeated but we have take into consideration the ground realities.I witnessed how the moderates had to get in line on get killed during '87-'90 era in the south. I sympathasize with the remaining Tamil moderates who try not to antagonize LTTE in the north .This post is not about LTTE ,GOSL or Karuna.It's about the actual "Third Party" in the Sri Lankan conflict ,international media.

BBC has changed the headline substantially from yesterday.(check the google cache for news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/south_asia/6144200.stm "S Lanka 'recruits child fighters'")
Sri Lankan government forces are recruiting child soldiers to fight against the Tamil Tiger rebels, the United Nations has said.
A senior UN official said the troops had been rounding up children to fight with the renegade Karuna rebel group.
(emphasis mine)
Let's assume you are a ordinary person who checks the international news of the day.What is your first impression?
Now it has been watered down(Sri Lanka youth 'seized to fight' ).
"Elements in the Sri Lankan military are helping a breakaway rebel faction to abduct children as soldiers to fight Tamil Tiger rebels, the UN has said"(emphasis is mine)

The damage is already done .Who gives a ---- about a third world country where this headline could make life miserable for a lot of people for a long period of time?

Let's apply the same standards for another conflict ,Iraq.We can take the headline today . Since Iraqi army ,which is mainly shia ,is recriuted and trained by USA and UK(as occupiers since it is their ultimate responsibility as well ) ,I took the liberty of writing the news for the BBC guys(and gals specialy Dumeetha Luthra,Frances Harrison) !

Headline : US government is training Iraqi kidnappers
US government forces are training Iraqi kidnappers to fight against militants , the United Nations has said.
Iraqi military and Police which is recruited ,trained and armed by US and UK is fighting a increasingly brutal war, today kidnapped 150 civilians.
About 20 of the abductees were released on Tuesday evening, while Iraqi officials suggested some 40 to 50 hostages remained in captivity.
However, figures varied substantially. Initial estimates suggested that more than 100 people had been seized, but that was later revised down.
A spokesman at the education ministry said about 70 people worked in the building, but there was no way of knowing who was in the building at the time.
The attackers,initaily trained and armed by US , stormed the education ministry's research department, locked women in a room and took the men away.
Correspondents say many Iraqis believe mass kidnappings like this latest incident are committed by members of the Shia Muslim-dominated security forces, or take place with their collusion. The security forces are trained and armed by US and UK security forces .
Such kidnappings are often for ransom, but many victims are subsequently found dead.

D.B.S.Jeyaraj does a fair round up I think.


t4011 said...

The truth is, there are lots of racist Tamils and white left wingers sympathetic to the LTTE in the BBC. Just look at the number of Tamils in its Sri Lankan branch.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is the local media being polarized on the issue. Every day the Tamil papers reports the current affairs differently compared to the sinhala and English papers. I think this is largely due to the the amount of intellingence the tamils have in the war zone as opposed to the sinhala and english media getting their reports off the govt who has vested interests in how the story should be told to the outside world. Often when an international reporter finds out ground realities (and his reports are similar to the Tamil papers) he gets labelled as a LTTE supporter or being on their payroll.

N said...

I had a friend working for an environmental advocacy tell me something very interesting once. She had a contact in Reuters size news agency that could with pretty much impunity post stories saying whatever she wanted and they were only modified later. It looks like that is whats happening with the BBC as well, their 'checks and balances' are pretty poor on their 'breaking news' and there is the possibility a LTTE sympathizer within the organization posts those headlines...would explain why they are later changed...

sittingnut said...

good illustration of double standards !

there is no doubt some at bbc dealing with sl are clearly biased. this is not the first time, they changed headlines and even stories in same url without mentioning. what i don't get is why bbc bosses don't take action even after multiple repeat offenses and complaints.
sinhala and english media getting their reports off the govt
you in sl ? if so read "sinhala and english media" first

Canadian said...

I'm not sure what you hoped to achieve by ridiculing Allan Rock. He is actually a highly respected politician here in Canada - he wouldn't have served as cabinet minister for key positions (Health, Justice) for nearly a decade if he wasn't. He wouldn't have been appointed to the prominent and highly visible role of UN ambassador if he was 'characterized by controversy' as you said yesterday.

Tainting the Liberal Party as tiger supporters is pathetic. An international organization found a democratically elected government complicit in recruiting children to fight in a bloody civil war. Spend more time dealing with this fact and less time with character assassination and you might find more support from those sectors not already in your corner.

The moral basis for supporting the sri lankan government is that it is democratically elected and, thus, legitimate. That legitimacy - and subsequent moral authority to fight - is eroded when they engage in practices like this. The Tigers don't have anyone to answer to, an elected government does.