'Taraki' screened in India
Taraki, a documentary on the travails of a pro-Tamil Sri Lankan
journalist who was abducted and later found dead in the vicinity of the
Sri Lankan Parliament a decade ago, was screened at the Chennai Press
Club last week, to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Reminiscing about the protagonist of the movie 'Taraki' Sivaram, the
filmmaker S. Someetharan explained how the documentary tried to depict
the larger issue of curbs on freedom of expression of journalists across
"During Rajapaksa's time, most of the Tamil journalists left Sri
Lanka. The situation is now better as many are able to express
themselves freely, but the fear remains. Journalists are still under the
intelligence scanner in Sri Lanka," said the 34-year-old, who was born
and brought up in Lanka.
Under Gotabaya Rajapaksa's defence regime, journalists could be
picked up at random. The situation, however, does not exist anymore, he
Someetharan, who shot the film for around four years and released it
in 2012, noted that many of the journalists interviewed for the
documentary were either shot dead later, or had to flee the country.
Some were still missing, he said.
Sivaram, a militant-turned-journalist and a well-read social
scientist, would work hard and travel extensively to churn out
hard-hitting stories in the time of Rajapaksa's dictatorial rule. "He
would wear the same clothes for many days while in search of stories,"
said Thisanayagam, his editor at Northern Herald.
"He was a freedom fighter; he first fought with arms and later with
the pen," said another editor. His wife and children said he would never
tell them about the threats to his life and always advised them to be
Sivaram was abducted and the next day, his body was found in the
vicinity of the Sri Lankan Parliament, around 15 km away.
On the issue of his death, journalists and Someetharan himself
acknowledged that no government in power in Lanka would conduct a proper
investigations into Sivaram or other journalists' death, as it would
point fingers at the complicity of the Lankan Armed Forces.
"Right now, the new dispensation is busy attacking the predecessor,
so this is the best time for journalists to write as freely as
possible," Someetharan added.
- New Indian Express