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 on Sunday 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 the globe.
“During Rajapakse’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 Rajapakse’s defence regime, journalists could be picked up at random. The situation, however, does not exist anymore, he added.
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 Rajapakse’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 brave.
Sivaram was abducted on April 28 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. (Source: New Indian Express)
Taking the life of a person, whether he be a Sinhala or Tamil, just for articulating the case of his race is a heinous crime. which is condemned by the civilised societySimilarly if members of one race kill the members of the other race aiming at such articulation is also a crime of that magnitude. When Prabhakaran started such killing no member of his ethnicity condemned that act.
navin Tuesday, 05 May 2015 11:03 AM
We did. but it was not publicized like this, because of these media. when royal baby gives birth its all over news but when a african baby losses its life because of no food it nowhere in the news.
Tin Tuesday, 05 May 2015 11:35 AM
Correction. Not pro-Tamil but pro-LTTE
BuffaloaCitizen Tuesday, 05 May 2015 11:57 AM
Much b4 Pirabakaran, when ordinary Sinhalese attacked tamils, looted houses and shops in 1915, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983 no Sinhalese stood up to say this was wrong. Until now, not one Sinhalese has been prosecuted for such crimes. Pirabakaran and the silence of the Tamils is a result and product of that.
AIA Tuesday, 05 May 2015 12:34 PM
Sivaram was killed, not during Rajapakse regime, but months before he first came into power in 2005. The killing has to be condemned, but there should be accurate reporting of facts.
Pasel Tuesday, 05 May 2015 01:13 PM
All the journalist killing and abduction during the MR era became a closed casket funeral, no justice at all ,
Lokka Tuesday, 05 May 2015 01:28 PM
Killing of a person can never be justified, but when a nation was fighting a ferocious battle, the media should have know its limits. During the 2nd world war Britain limited media freedom.
Gam Tuesday, 05 May 2015 01:38 PM
An attempt at resurrecting a dead body with the motive of keeping the fires burning. They ought to know that every person who died in the war is precious.
Vishnavi Tuesday, 05 May 2015 02:09 PM
If u could ensure the safety of those ethnicity then definitely they will condemn his killing
Perumal Tuesday, 05 May 2015 02:21 PM
Do not say there were no proper instigations! There were, always!!
nic Tuesday, 05 May 2015 03:48 PM
No one dared to condemn that meglomaniac for fear that they would be dead next! Let us not forget the parallel we experience lately!
Comments will be edited (grammar, spelling and slang) and authorized at the discretion of Daily Mirror online. The website also has the right not to publish selected comments.