Award winning filmmaker presents documentary on exiled Sinhala, Tamil journalists
‘Silenced Voices – Tales of Sri Lankan Journalists in Exile’, a new documentary by Norwegian filmmaker Beate Arnestad, who directed and produced the award winning documentary ‘My Daughter the Terrorist’ in 2007, is to be pre-premiered in Oslo, Norway, on February 09. The screening of ‘Silenced Voices’, which is about journalists, who contributed to international exposure of the internationally abetted genocidal war without witnesses, will be followed by a debate featuring journalists Bashana Abeywardane, the former chief editor of Hiru weekly, Frances Harrison, the former BBC foreign correspondent to Sri Lanka and Sverre Tom Radøy, a Norwegian journalist. The film features Mr. Bashana Abeywardene, his wife Sharmila Logeswaram, Sonali Wickrematunge and A. Lokeesan, TamilNet wartime correspondent, who was reporting from 2005 to April 2009 from Vanni.
Mr. Lokeesan was given safe passage to Europe with assistance from international media organisations by the efforts of the progressive Sinhalese of the Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS). Lokeesan is currently documenting his experiences as a TamilNet correspondent.
The documentary about journalists from the island of Sri Lanka in exile, with focus on issues of freedom of speech and media suppression in the island, will be screened at Vika Cinema from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by Norway’s The Fritt Ord Foundation and co-organized by the Human Rights Human Wrongs Documentary Film Festival.
“The film is told as a personal encounter with exiled journalists from Sri Lanka who have been “silenced” and almost killed in their home country because they exposed war crimes, corruption and massacres of civilians. They claim these crimes are being committed by the state. Sri Lanka is ranking one of the worst countries in Asia with respect to freedom of expression. In the past years, many have disappeared or are found tortured and killed. Close to 50 media workers have recently fled the country,” a media announcement by the Fritt Ord Foundation said.
Many journalists have faced and continue to face grave physical threats to life, family and property from the Sri Lankan state. Mylvaganam Nimalarajan, who filed news reports for TamilNet was killed in 2000 and Sivaram Dharmeratnam (Taraki), a senior editor of TamilNet was abducted and assassinated in 2005.
The Norwegian filmmaker Beate Arnestad has over twenty years of experience producing and directing content for departments at Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. Her first independent and award- winning documentary was My Daughter the Terrorist filmed during the time she lived in Sri Lanka. She is also behind the documentary Telling Truths in Arusha (2010).