Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 3 July 2011





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Film described as ‘misleading and misrepresentative’:

UK’s Ofcom to probe Channel 4 documentary

The UK Government’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) is to investigate the veracity of Channel 4’s recent documentary ‘Sri Lanka’s killing Fields’ following complaints that it was misleading and misrepresentative.

British-based TV website TV Pixie, in a report filed by Alex Guest, disclosed that Ofcom would probe the program, presented by Jon Snow and produced by Callum Macrae.

Ofcom is the UK’s Independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industries. “Ofcom will assess the complaints against the program under their Broadcasting Code to see if it needs further investigation and action. Ofcom is empowered to fine the broadcaster(s) if it determines that the Code has been violated.

Ofcom has received over 100 complaints since the film was aired on Channel 4 on June 14. Alex Guest commented that it is within the realm of possibilities that the additional material (presented by Channel 4) was partially or even entirely fabricated. “If Channel 4 has fabricated material or attempted to mislead the public through editing, Ofcom will see fit to censure the broadcaster.

“I await the conclusion of the investigation”. Sri Lankan diplomats and leading forensic video experts had contested Channel 4’s claims of accuracy.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan authorities on Friday revealed that they were in possession of an original video which had been altered by Channel 4.

This video was subsequently aired by Swarnavahini.

The TV station said the footage was originally in Tamil and was dubbed into Sinhala by Channel 4 to discredit the Sri Lankan Security Forces.

Major Gen. Shavendra Silva, commenting “live” on the original, unaltered video, told viewers that Channel 4 didn’t take up the challenge to prove the video’s authenticity.

Maj. Gen. Silva said the video actually depicted LTTE cadres dressed in Sri Lanka military uniforms and vowed to expose more lies by Channel 4. Earlier in New York, he had successfully exposed Channel 4’s duplicitous conduct at a screening of the documentary organised by Amnesty International.

The TV station said they have obtained original copies of some of the footage from Channel 4’s “Killing Fields”.

“We got this original video and we gave it to a local television station to air.

It shows the armed men speaking in Tamil and not Sinhalese.

That shows that the video aired in Britain was a fake,” military spokesman Major General Udaya Medawala said.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka High Commission in Australia and Sri Lankans living in Australia have complained to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation following its decision to telecast the Channel 4 documentary as part of its Four Corners programme.



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