Managing Genocide 101

May 14, 2009

The Sri Lankan government has killed hundreds, probably thousands of tamil civilians this year, and has been accused of using chemical weapons (not to mention firing on hospitals and murdering dissident newspaper editors).

It’s best to know how this is done these days. From Time Magazine:

The Defense Ministry set up the Media Center for National Security in 2006 specifically to monitor and control coverage of the war, and it has refused to allow journalists into the war zone in northern Sri Lanka since early 2008. That policy has not changed even with the announcement that the end is near. There have been hundreds of news stories written and broadcast about Sri Lanka in the last few weeks, but all of them have been written under tightly controlled conditions. The Army has arranged two recent trips, taking journalists first to the former Tiger political headquarters in Kilinochchi, which has been under Army control since Jan. 1, and then to Putumattalan, just west of the current combat zone. One group had time to speak to with some of the civilians fleeing the fighting. “We need to monitor the entire thing,” says Keheliya Rambukwella, a spokesman and minister in the Sri Lankan government, because, he says, media coverage has been biased in favor of the LTTE.

As a result, there are no recent pictures taken by independent photojournalists of Sri Lankan soldiers on the battlefield; of civilian or military casualties…The primary source of news about the war within Sri Lanka comes from a handful of reporters and photographers who are embedded with the military, filing stories mainly for government-run television networks.

Now I wonder where they got that idea from?

With rare exceptions, there are only two types of pictures to emerge over the last two years, during which the Army has wrested away nearly 16,000 sq km of territory: Sri Lankan Army soldiers posing on duty, and desperate civilians seeking their help. The enemy is all but invisible, reinforcing the Sri Lankan government’s position that its conflict with the LTTE isn’t a conventional war at all, but what Colombo calls a “war on terror.”


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