Sri Lanka: Truth, bias and the BBC

Article Date: 
16 May 2009

Apart from all the above, there are some difficult problems reporting Sri Lanka.

Lots of the worst things that happen go on well away from the eyes of independent journalists.

In these circumstances, when we can't be sure for ourselves who has done what, all we can do is report what people say has happened.

In Sri Lanka that often means this: A group of people are killed, quite possibly civilians. The government and the Tigers accuse each other of the killings.

To complicate matters further, "shadowy paramilitary groups" may have been involved.

In other words, a lot of lying goes on, but unless you have the proof of who is lying, all you can do is report what the different sides say.

That can be frustrating for journalists. But for victims of the violence, and their friends and relatives, it is sometimes seen as bias on our part if we carry the denials of those accused of the attacks.

Article Author: 
Bernard Gabony
Article Source: 
BBC