He says the entire context of his interview has been distorted by the edited version
Sri Lankan cricketing legend Muttiah Muralitharan said today that Channel 4 had lost its credibility in his eyes due to airing an edited clip of an interview which distorted the context he spoke in.
"It was unethical for them to edit three minutes of a 45 minute interview and air it. Channel 4 lost all credibility in my eyes" he told Daily Mirror Online.
When asked if the journalists assured him of airing the entire interview prior to agreeing on it, he replied in the affirmative.
"Yes that's what they said and they promised they would carry everything. I was not the one who wanted to be interviewed. They are the ones who wanted it badly. If they published the entire interview that would have been the right thing to do and if they were to edit what I said they should have told me. I would have accepted it if they told me, but they did not and I think that was very unethical" he said.
Q: Murali could you tell us what actually happened during this interview which has been doing the rounds on social media?
I told them what I saw and what I felt. I didn't lie to them, it was honest. After I met the Prime Minister, Channel 4 said they wanted to interview me because I said the Prime Minister had been misled. They wanted to know on what grounds I said he was misled.
I took it up as a sportsman and gave my opinion to them. We spoke for about 45 minutes and they had just taken three minutes out of that entire interview. That was very unethical from my point of view, and they lost their credibility in my eyes. They didn't show everything that I said and that would have been the right way to do this and not just take a small clip and air it.
" I told them about the transition before and after the war in terms of development. I saw the transition and I spoke to them of all of that, but they just took three minutes out of the entire thing and I believe it was very unfair. "
Q: Did they tell you the interview will be edited or that they were going to carry it in full?
Yes that's what they said and they promised they would carry everything. I was not the one who wanted to be interviewed. They are the ones who wanted it badly. If they published the entire interview that would be the right thing to do and if they were to edit what I said they should have told me and I would have accepted it, but they did not and I think that was very unethical.
Q:Do you think the editing was unfair and a wrong picture was drawn after the editing?
No, what I said was said. I said the truth. But they took only a very small part of it instead of taking the whole picture. I gave so many points, so many examples and these would have been informative to the public the world over. I told them the truth which I have seen.
I spoke about our foundation and the work we are doing to bring the communities together. About cricket and how it has helped to achieve this. I told them about the development and how it has helped in bringing communities together
I told them about the transition before and after the war in terms of development. I saw the transition and I spoke to them of all that, but they just took three minutes out of the entire thing and I believe it was very unfair.
I don't regret speaking to them but it is an indictment on the Channel itself.
If they wanted to portray the truth they should have played the whole thing and not edited things out. I just lost regard for them.
Q:One thing that was highlighted during that clip was that you were not sensitive to the relatives of those who had disappeared during the war, what do you have to say to that?
No actually what I said was that the war affected both parties, not only the Tamils, the Sinhalese suffered as well and thousands of people died in Colombo and many mothers were weeping. What I said was that it is not only one party that was affected as a result of this war and finding answers for this was going to be very difficult. I didn't single out one person or another.
I am a Tamil and a Sri Lankan as well. I know my identity and I know what I am speaking about and the truth in what I am saying because I have said everything that I have seen. They haven't relayed everything and instead aired a one-sided story.
It was portrayed like I didn't care about the affected Tamils in the North. I care about both people, the Sinhalese and the Tamils who have been affected.
I told them how we were affected after the riots. Our factories and houses were burnt down and we had to restart our lives again. It was difficult and painful but we forgave and forgot and then moved on.
That's what I wanted to tell the world - that this is what war is and that both parties were affected.
Q:Do you think this portrayal will have some negative impact on you?
Once you tell the truth there will be people for and against - its life. As a bowler 60 to 70% say that I am a genuine bowler and 20-30% would say I am not. But I can't be bothered by thinking about what individuals are going to think and say.
I follow a simple philosophy which is to tell the truth, to be honest to myself and honest to the people. I can't speak on behalf of others but things that I never saw and heard I would never say it. But if there is something that I see or hear I will say it out loud.
That's what I meant when I told the Prime Minister that he was being misled, because he will be prejudiced.
The Prime Minister had never been to Sri Lanka before and he went to the North very briefly. All he had heard about the North was through secondary reports and if he had come here without reading he would have seen an entirely different picture and would know the correct story. That's why I believe he was misled.
Q:Moving away Murali, you are a national Icon respected by all communities, how do you believe this reconciliation should happen from here on?
I think if you trying to find faults you would find faults in both parties, and if you are going to dig these things up it could probably lead to another war and even if that doesn't happen the people will suffer. I don't want that to happen. We must forgive and forget.
I asked Channel 4 what a man wants from life? Food on the table, education and a shelter. These are basic needs of a human being. If you can provide that then they are safe and could go anywhere then it is better than the life they lived,
Individually people try to strive through hard work to go higher and if these could be provided the people would be happy.
There is no war, no weapons, children are going to school and are not taking up arms again.
So we also try to help through cricket which is all about life. We teach the children in the North and East about the importance of hard work, enjoyment and everything else. That makes them forget about everything else. That's why we want to promote Cricket in the north and east.
We want all the children to use cricket as a bridge to rebuild communities which is the way forward. They would all be friends through this sport.
We are trying to do our bit and other people should also start coming in and doing more things to ensure it happens. I won't say anything bad about the diaspora because they hold a view and that's something they have the right to hold. They have to however come here and help the people, they have to give a helping hand to these people to get back to life and to live a better life. So everyone, rather than trying to find fault with others, must help this country, which will result in prosperity and development.
There will be elements against this country. We should lend a hand to them and give our hand to those who want to help us to get back on our feet.,