BBC, Aid Agencies and Sri Lanka
Today more than half the world is fighting terrorism in one form or
another. Some of the countries directly involved are the US, the UK, Sri
Lanka, India and Pakistan. Sri Lanka has been fighting terrorism for
nearly three decades at a high cost-human and financial.
With the recent developments in the conflict the international media
have been keeping a close tab on the events in Sri Lanka. Of all, the
most popular of them which is the BBC has been supplying inaccurate
reports relayed by the LTTE and their sympathisers.
The Security Forces battling the world’s most ruthless terrorist
For example, on March 8th, BBC South Asia reported that, “...A senior
Health Official working inside Tiger held areas has told by telephone
that shells by artillery from security forces fell inside Government
designated safe zones causing civilian casualties and 15 deaths...” When
the Health Ministry verified this with the Health Official he had
categorically denied making a phone call. It is obvious that anyone can
make a fake call and this confirms that the BBC does not check the
authenticity of statements made to them.
In their report of the conflict, there was no mention of the
civilians forcibly held by the Tigers as human shields and preventing
them from leaving the combat zone. The BBC did not refer to the fact
that the Security Forces had toned down the pressure on the Tigers by
not using heavy weapons.
In contrast, the Tigers have accelerated attacks by taking cover
behind civilians. This was cleary indicated by the Disaster Management
and Human Rights Minister during the interview for “HardTalk” on March,
2. The BBC reporter at the interview pointed the finger at the
Government Security Forces treating the Tigers as ‘freedom fighters’
despite the fact that they are ruthless terrorists banned in so many
Further on March 5, the BBC World News reported that the ICRC had
warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka. But when the
Secretariate for Coordinating Peace Process in Sri Lanka checked this
with the ICRC, there had been no such assertion.
Thus it appears that the BBC reports are based on hearsay evidence,
distortions and propoganda by the LTTE. If the ‘Al Qaeda’ were cornered
by the US and the British forces in Afghanistan and there is an end in
sight, will the BBC try to bail them out as they try do to the Tigers
now in Sri Lanka?
During recent times the role of Aid Agencies as well had come under
greater scrutiny. For instance , the question has come up as to how the
LTTE possessed heavy machinery for the construction of earth bunds and
bunkers. On March 10, an English Daily reported that the 55 Division of
the Army made a startling revelation of a possible flow of ‘Combat
Rations’ to the LTTE.
A high protein “BP-100” packet of biscuits had been in the possession
of an LTTE cadre killed in combat. What is astonishing is that last year
a police check point had apprehended a lorry destined to Vavuniya with a
stock of 39,000 Kg’s of “BP-100” compact therapeutical high protein
biscuits sent by the World Food Program.
The activities of the Aid Agencies have been closely investigated by
other countries as well. An extreme case is Sudan, where last week the
Aid workers from the International Rescue Committee, Oxfam and Amnesty
International were taken to task and asked to cease functioning. Thus
the credibility of these organisations have been eroded due to their
dual role in developing countries.