Media Talk: Sri Lanka – the Forgotten War?

Talk Thursday 11th October, 2007

With more than 70,000 dead after a conflict between Tamil Tiger rebels and the Sri Lankan government that has lasted for nearly three decades, peace seems further away than ever. How does the media cover this ongoing conflict?

The civil war between the mainly Hindu Tamils and the Buddhist Sinhalese erupted in the 1980s with Tamils pressing for self-rule.

While the majority of the fighting took place in the north and east of the country, Tamil Tiger rebels carried out devastating suicide bombings in Colombo in the 1990s.

A ceasefire and a political agreement brokered by Norway in 2002 raised hopes for a peaceful solution, but with violence escalating in 2006 the conflict is once again turning into fully-fledged civil war.

Is the western media covering Sri Lanka properly or is the conflict now just another forgotten war? Just how difficult is it for local journalists in Sri Lanka to cover the story?

Prof Sumantra Bose – Professor of International and Comparative Politics at LSE, specialises in the politics of sovereignty and self-determination conflicts and is the author of Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus and Sri Lanka.

Sunanda Deshapriya – Convener Free Media Movement in Sri Lanka & Head of the Media Unit, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka

Nadaraja Kuruparan –  News Manager (Tamil), ABC Radio Network, Sri Lanka

Juliana Ruhfus – producer and reporter at Al Jazeera International. Made several films on Sri Lanka: How the East Was Won, Peace Wars and Tiger Tax.

Moderated by George Arney – former BBC correspondent in Sri Lanka, journalist and presenter of the BBC World Service programme The World Today.

The event is organised with the support of Exiled Journalists Network (EJN).