Tamils: "Inaccurate reports damaging aid delivery"
"Inaccuracy in reporting damaging humanitarian delivery"
The LTTE issued an urgent appeal to the National and International Media to scrupulously verify ground information before reporting, and to avoid bias and inaccuracy in filing stories on post-Tsunami disaster situation in the North-East and the humanitarian delivery to the displaced, on Tuesday.
This is an urgent appeal to the National and International Media in the context of the post-Tsunami disaster situation in the North-East and the humanitarian delivery to the displaced. We observe inaccuracies in reports that tend to mislead the people on matters that are purely humanitarian. Any bias and inaccuracy in reporting tend to irreparably damage the collective efforts that are underway in humanitarian delivery and hence this appeal to exercise caution and responsibility that the situation demands.
It is true that media attention at the initial stage was focussed on locations closer to Colombo, where most of the media personnel are based. It is understandable. Now that focus has also turned to affected parts of the North-East, especially the areas that are administered by the LTTE by both National and International media, it is shocking to find inaccuracies in some reporting. Reports such as ÇæTiger rebels torch welfare centre in the northÇç ÇæAid from the south is prevented by the LTTEÇç, ÇæRussian doctors denied access to LTTE areasÇç etc are unfortunate. Verification from appropriate sources, for instance, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) or the relevant party would have clarified matters relating to the truth or otherwise, rather than depending on sources that have ulterior motives.
We consider it appropriate therefore to clarify certain issues that would facilitate the media on reporting matters relating to humanitarian delivery.
We welcome any individuals or organisations, irrespective of origin, to visit the devastated areas, see for themselves the devastation, meet the displaced in the welfare centres and verify the mechanism structured at the District level to ensure all relief is registered for accountability and transparency. The District level structure, inclusive of the Government Agent, INGOÇås, NGOÇås and civil society representatives has proven to be an effective mechanism. The efficacy of this mechanism has been the subject of commendation by visiting INGOÇås, Heads of UN agencies and the like. Anybody can have unfettered access and it is not true that relief convoys are returned by the LTTE. Neither is tax imposed on humanitarian relief consignments.
Any enquiries related to matters of humanitarian concern may be made from the LTTE Peace Secretariat Kilinochchi.
Thamilchelvan calls for end to fraudulent reports [TamilNet, January 04, 2005 13:47 GMT]
Denying rumours that the LTTE had burnt refuges or that aid had been stolen or incorrectly distributed, the head of the Liberation Tigers political wing, Mr S.P. Thamilchelvan, called on all media organisations to visit the affected areas and verify the fact for themselves before publishing unverified stories.
"In the East, nationalistic forces and organisations are engaged in spreading false rumours," Mr Thamilchelvan told reporters after the meeting with the Norwegian Ambassador.
"Believing this, there are press reports and rumours that aid coming to Tamil areas has been hijacked, snatched and redirected, and that the Liberation Tigers have burnt some refuges, etc."
"This is not true. Humanitarian assistance endeavours continue in our homelands in a manner that is highly trustworthy. It is with the intention of disrupting this assistance that these rumours are being spread from the east," he said.
"We wish to make a request for both international and local organisations: Please come to the affected areas and see the situation for yourselves before publishing unverified stories. Publishing unverified rumours adversely affects our people, who have already been hit once by the tsunami. Please avoid publishing such falsehoods which adversely affect the victims of this disaster," urged Mr Thamilchelvan.