Sri Lankan media miserably failed to

Cover Israeli genocide in Gaza

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By Latheef Farook

Sri Lanka’s main stream media, both print and electronic, has miserably failed to highlight the ongoing US-European backed Israeli genocide of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Thereby they denied the right of the readers to know the truth.

There were a few feature articles analyzing the worst ever war crime since World War 11. However the daily killings and maiming of innocent Palestinian men, women, children and new born babies , flattening of more than 85 percent of the residential buildings besides the destruction of hospitals, schools and essential services never found any place in the local media.

Israeli genocide in Gaza by air, sea and land began in the wake of Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October to free their lands occupied by Israel  to restore their rigths and dignity. So far Israel has killed more than 19,000 innocent civilians and half of them children and more than 3000 women. Since Oct 7 Israel displaced more than 85 percent of the population  of 2.3 million and deprived them of water, food, electricity, fuel , medicine  and other essential items . Israeli cruelty has been such that its military bulldozers even  wrecked several burial grounds   and even  buried living civilians in the Kamal Adwan Hospital courtyard ,” according to Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila.

The United States, the sole super power and the so called champion of human rights ,stand fully behind this genocide supplying sophisticated weapons, providing financial and diplomatic support and blocking numerous United Nations resolutions calling for ceasefire to end the indiscriminate slaughter of Palestinian civilians.

In the entire west while governments support Israel’s genocide people in general support the just Palestinian cause. So much so young Americans are so fed up  with their government’s support to Israeli war crimes that more than 30 percent of them are demanding the dismantling of the artificial  state of Israel itself planted in Palestinian soil.

People all over the world including Sri Lanka- Christians, Muslims , Jews  Buddhists and others- began coming out in mass protests ,including US and European capitals ,demanding Israel stop  killing and starving Palestinians to death. Media worldwide, except pro Jewish western media, continue to provide wide coverage.

However what is happening in Gaza seems to be  not news worthy for the local media.Sri Lankan media in general depends on the Jewish owned and pro Israeli  western media for its  coverage of international affairs. This mindset also contributed to the failure of the local media to provide a true picture of the on going Israeli barbarity in Gaza.Irony is this also included television networks which claim to cover local and international developments.

Some senior journalists attributed this to ignorance and indifference of journalists while others suggested that such a news blackout was influenced by Israeli and US European embassies in Colombo.

Israeli embassy influencing the media in the island is not something new. For example they succeeded in doing so during the June 1967 US-European backed Israel war during which Israel captured Egypt’s Gaza and Sinai desert, Jordan’s West Bank and East Jerusalem, Syria’s Golan Heights and part of South Lebanon .

Another example is my own experience. It was the time, during the second half of 19760s,  I started my journalistic career with the now defunct Independent Newspapers . I had` seen the Israeli envoy visit this office frequently and spend long hours with Managing Director Mr D.B.Dhanapala who was in charge of the editorial .They were often joined by Mr Sepala Gunasena, the Owner  . During these visits he never failed to meet Dr Gamini Wijewardene, the Editor of English language daily SUN and Mr David Karunaratne, the Editor of Sinhala daily DAWASA.

It so happened that often the day after the Israeli envoy’s meeting with Dr Karunaratne, Dawasa used to carry cartoons ridiculing Muslims using derogatory words such as “thambiya”. .

It was during this period that Mr Dhanapala asked me whether I would like to go abroad. I was thrilled and said “yes” as going abroad was a dream in those days. Then came the shock when he told me” get ready to go to Israel”. Shattered within seconds I politely turned down the offer in view  of Israel’s crime records.

Few days later our colleague, the Muslim Sports Editor of Sun, was forced to accept the offer. His hastily arranged flight schedule by Air Ceylon was from Ratmalana, Bombay and Rome to Tel Aviv. He left Ratmalana Airport around 11 am and by 11.30 noon proof copy of the following day’s SUN first page carrying a despatch supposed to have been filed by this   journalist from Tel Aviv stating that the Muslims in Israel were very happy under Israel, was on the table of Dr Wijewardene.

We were all shocked at what the Israeli envoy was up to. This utterly false story was written by the Israeli legation in Colombo without the journaist’s  knowledge. Few days later when I asked Dr Gamini Wijewardene “ how could sports editor write such a story half hour after he left the island , the always cheerful Dr Wijewardene said with a smile“ ask LOKKA”-meaning Dhanapala.

So much for Israel’s longstanding and  well established policy of exploiting the media to sell lies and deception to mislead the public. Judging from the refusal of local media to adequately cover Israeli barbarity in Gaza one cannot help but suspect that they had successfully penetrated the media .

On the other hand  the local media in general, except a few, also refuse to entertain articles providing the true picture depriving the readers the right to know what is happening in the world.

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Cover Israeli genocide in Gaza - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect point-of-view

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