Publication Date

2000

Abstract

The ongoing civil war in Sri Lanka has remained virtually hidden from the outside world. International media trends in recent years have focussed on the reporting of conflicts within Eastern Europe and Africa, often neglecting to report in any detail on conflicts in Asia (East Timor being the current exception). With the conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and the Sudan, the spotlight has tended to land on images of mass forced migration, ethnic cleansing, and famine. While these conflicts are indeed newsworthy due to the dramatic escalation of tensions and human rights abuses, the outside world tends to forget that there are other conflicts throughout the world where grave human rights abuses continue to occur each day. The international media alone can not be blamed. The government of Sri Lanka has long imposed a ban on international and uncensored news reports regarding the conflict, and refuses to allow international press access to the war front. The Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (the opposition group fighting against the government, hereafter referred to as the LTTE) also have long sought to control information reaching the outside in order to control their propaganda machine. Due to these restrictions, knowledge of the reality of the civilian population living within the war zone is virtually non-existent.

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