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Press Coverage No Fire Zone Anti Censorship campaign coverage Sat 22nd / Sun 23rd Feb 2014 Indian Media .................... Sri Lankan Media............... Malaysian Media............... Middle Eastern Media....... Pakistan Media.................. Chinese Media.................. Other International Media..

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INDIAN MEDIA COVERAGE


Amnesty urges India to revoke ban on Sri Lankan war documentary ‘’The documentary may also strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka,’’ noted the Central Board of Film Certification. Amnesty International India on Monday urged the Central Board of Film Certification and the Government to ``swiftly remove the ban’’ on the film `No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ – a documentary on the last phase of the war between the Sri Lankan forces and the LTTE in early 2009. Questioning the CBFC decision, Amnesty in a statement said the refusal of certification for the theatre release of the film was an attack on the freedom of speech and information in India. ``It also hurts the movement within India to push for an independent and international investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka’s 2009 war.’’ Of the view that the special screening of the film in India last year had helped mobilise opinion enough to force a ``response from Indian leaders’’, Amnesty added that this ban would prevent a larger Indian audience from learning about the serious allegations of war crimes levelled against Sri Lankan troops and the LTTE. Also, according to Amnesty, India ``risks undoing some of the great work it has done to support a just reconciliation process in Sri Lanka,’’ including the advocacy of a credible investigation that is to the satisfaction of the international community. The Board had refused to certify the film for theatre release on the grounds that most of the visuals were of a ``disturbing nature’’ and not fit for public exhibition. ``The documentary may also strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka,’’ the Board noted.


India

Sri Lanka war film released online in India after censorship AFP | Feb 23, 2014, 06.20 PM IST

The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka's northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. NEW DELHI: The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India on Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of " No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka", said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka — the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka's northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it "may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka". Macrae said India's reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country's deep-


rooted tradition of democracy and free speech. "I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship," he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student's group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India's Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment. The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a noholds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka's decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. "As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva... we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues," Macrae said.


Sri Lanka war film released online in India after censor ban NEW DELHI: The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India on Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of “No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka”, said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka — the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka's northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka”. Macrae said India's reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country's deeprooted tradition of democracy and free speech. “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship,” he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened on Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student's group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India's Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment.


The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka's decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. Sri Lanka denies causing civilian deaths and President Mahindra Rajapakse sees himself as having brought peace to the Indian Ocean island. Macrae said he hoped the film's release online will spur a debate ahead of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva starting March 3


SL war film released in India after censorship Monday, February 24, 2014 From Print Edition

MUMBAI: The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India on Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of “No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka”, said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka — the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka’s northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka”. Macrae said India’s reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country’s deeprooted tradition of democracy and free speech. “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship,” he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened on Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student’s group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India’s Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment. The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai.


Wall Street Journal (India)

India Bans Film About Sri Lankan War By Shanoor Seervai

A screenshot taken from the trailer for “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” No Fire Zone

India’s film censors have refused permission for the general release of a film chronicling the violent closing months of the civil war in Sri Lanka because the documentary may strain friendly relations between the two countries. The Central Board of Film Certification also said in a letter to the director of “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, that it would not grant a certificate to allow the documentary to be shown in theaters because “most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature and not fit for public exhibition.”


In response, the documentary’s director Callum Macrae has decided to make the film available free online on the film’s website starting Sunday. The censor board could not be reached immediately for comment. The film is a collection of footage recorded in the northeast region of the island nation by doctors, civilians, Tamil rebels and Sinhalese soldiers on cell phones and hand-held cameras as the Sri Lankan government allegedly bombarded areas filled with refugees fleeing the fighting. “This is an explicit admission that India doesn’t want the film to be seen for political expediency,” Mr. Macrae said in a telephone interview with the Journal. “India is denying access to evidence of war crimes, and participating in a process to prevent the truth from getting out,” he added. The film premiered at private screenings in Mumbai and Delhi in November, at which time the Indian government did not grant Mr. Macrae a visa to visit India. The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Wall Street Journal at the time that Mr. Macrae’s visa was denied because he had violated visa norms in 2011, but has not provided an explanation to the British director for their refusal to grant him a visa. Attempts to screen “No Fire Zone” in Nepal and Malaysia have also met with government opposition and censorship, said Mr. Macrae. In Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, police and censor board officials raided a film screening to prevent it from being shown. The government of Nepal also came under pressure from the Sri Lankan government to change venues for a screening in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, according to Mr. Macrae. But India’s reluctance to show the film is most concerning given the country’s tradition of free speech and democracy, said Mr. Macrae. “It is India’s moral duty to allow the truth to come out,” said Mr. Macrae. “India is the most important country in this conflict after Sri Lanka itself… It is the leading power in the region, the rest of the world looks to India for leadership on the [Sri Lankan conflict],” said Mr. Macrae. The decision to ban the film is the most recent example of curtailment of freedom of expression in India. Earlier this month, publishing house Penguin agreed to withdraw and pulp copies of a book about Hinduism written by a prominent American scholar after a legal battle with a nationalist group. Mr. Macrae’s 93-minute documentary contains eyewitness accounts and personal testimonies from U.N. workers and Sri Lankan civilians who were in Vanni province and other areas of the north east where the fighting was fiercest. The film pieces together this footage as evidence that the government failed to honor the “no fire zones” it created for civilians seeking shelter. Between January and May of 2009, Sri Lankan forces repeatedly opened fire on these “safe zones” and makeshift hospitals, the film alleges.


Mr. Macrae says that the footage has been verified by forensic experts who analyze evidence in British courts. A United Nations panel in 2011 said that up to 40,000 people, mainly ethnic Tamil civilians were killed as the decades-long Sri Lankan civil war came to an end in 2009, while members of the U.N.’s in-country team and humanitarian agencies claim that over 70,000 people are unaccounted for. The Sri Lankan government estimates that fewer than 10,000 civilians were killed in the war, according to a November 2012 internal U.N. report. Follow Shanoor and India Real Time on Twitter @shanoorseervai and @WSJIndia.


Monday, February 24, 2014 | 10:24 PM IST

CBFC refuses to certify film on Sri Lankan war The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has refused to certify a controversial documentary film on Sri Lanka's civil war, saying it could affect India's foreign relations. The documentary, 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka', directed by Callum Macrae, is based on the last stages of war between LTTE and Sri Lankan forces. A review committee has watched the film and felt it should not be screened in India as it has gory visuals and the narrative did not include versions of all parties, which could affect India's foreign relations, CBFC officials said. When contacted, CBFC Chairperson Leela Samson said the movie has been reviewed by a panel under the normal process. Samson said that as per her information the panel felt there were disturbing visuals in the movie and also that it could impinge India's relations with other countries as the version narrated focused on only one side of the story.


Mon,24 Feb 2014

Film on Sri Lankan war banned in India Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times Chennai, February 23, 2014 First Published: 12:15 IST(23/2/2014) | Last Updated: 13:13 IST(23/2/2014) Film censorship is a weapon that political authority uses so often. Sometimes to throttle dissent. Sometimes in apprehension of what a movie may provoke. India’s Central Board of Film Certification has refused to allow the public screening of the documentary, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka – which looks at the last phase in early 2009 of the ethnic war between the island nation’s army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, seeking a separate homeland for the minority community. (Sinhalas form the majority in the country.) Although the movie has been in the public domain for more than three years, Colombo has been lambasting it, calling the documentary propaganda to shame the Sri Lankan administration.

After India’s Censor Board refused to certify the film, the director of the documentary, Callum Macrae, said his work would now be freely available on the net in India. It will be in English with Hindi subtitles. On Saturday, the documentary was screened in Chennai by the Youths and Students Federation, a pro-Tamil group.


In recent years, cinema has been targeted by both the government and political organisations. Bollywood helmer Anurag Kashyap’s powerful feature, Black Friday, on the Mumbai riots was not allowed to get out of the cans for years. Documentary movie-maker Anand Patwardhan has had to fight innumerable legal battles to show his works.

Kamal Hassan fell afoul of a virtually unknown political outfit, which sought a ban on his Viswaroopam. It finally opened after a delay of several weeks. More famously, Deepa Mehta’s Water was not allowed to be shot in Varanasi by radical Hindu groups, which felt that the film would denigrate the plight of Vrindavan widows. And decades ago, Krishnaswamy’s wonderful documentary, From Indus Valley to Indira Gandhi, struggled to get a release. His documentary on Operation Blue Star could never see the light of day. So Macraé’s movie is one among the many in India that have been banned either by the government or radical political outfits. But such prohibitions merely tickle public curiosity – much like what happened years and years ago with the book, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. After it was proscribed, the novel – which later went to become a great classic – became such a hit that just about everybody keyed into reading somehow found a copy. I know high school kids reading the sexually graphic text in the Lawrence book.


Similarly, I am now told that after Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, was banned and the publisher, Penguin, forced to recall all the copies, the 779 tome is being sold clandestinely like hot cakes. Ultimately a ban proves to be absolutely counter-productive. It only helps arouse people’s curiosity. - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/worldcinema/film-on-srilankan-war-banned-in-india/article1-1187291.aspx#sthash.RU4HB08m.dpuf


Published: Monday February 24, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM Updated: Monday February 24, 2014 MYT 6:51:06 AM

Sri Lanka war film released online in India Email Facebook0

NEW DELHI: The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka, said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka – the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka’s northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka”. Macrae said India’s reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country’s deep-rooted tradition of democracy and free speech. “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship,” he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened yesterday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student’s group. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka’s decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. — AFP


Film on Sri Lankan war screened As part of their effort to mobilise public opinion in favour of the US resolution against Sri Lanka and for urging India to move a resolution seeking an independent inquiry into the war crimes in the last moments of civil war, Youths and Students Federation screened Callum Macrae’s film, No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka, followed by an interaction over Skype with him. “Our objective is to educate the people so that the Indian government will not fall prey to the designs of Sri Lanka and move a completely watered down resolution [at the UNHRC in Geneva next month] as it did last time,” said V. Prabakaran, co-ordinator of the federation, campaigning for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. In his interaction with the audience through Skype, while reiterating that what had happened in Sri Lanka was a “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing”, Mr Macrae also was critical of the LTTE for their miscalculation. “Their calculation about the ruthlessness of the Sri Lankan Army was wrong. They also miscalculated that the international community would interfere and stop the war,” Mr Macrae said, rejecting the suggestion that India denied him visa because he was pro-LTTE. “India is afraid of the truth. It also fears that its relation with Sri Lanka will be affected,” he further said. The journalist said he was not a campaigner, but a journalist defending his stories, when asked whether he would stand by the Tamils in their campaign for a credible international investigation into the alleged war crimes. But, he made it clear he was for a credible and independent international inquiry. Reiterating that the Sri Lankan Army shelled no-fire zones and denied humanitarian aid to the Tamil population, he said Sri Lanka could not hide behind the crimes of the LTTE. He said there was a wide international acceptance of the aspirations of the Tamils for their democratic rights and a political solution. Mr. Prabakaran said the organisation planned to screen the film, which has a few additions, across the State.


Sri Lanka war film released online in India after censorship All India | Agence France-Presse | Updated: February 23, 2014 18:29 IST

In this photograph taken on November 11, 2013, British Channel 4 television director of "No Fire Zone: Sri Lanka Killing Fields", Callum Macrae (C), speaks to reporters following his arrival at Sri Lanka's main international airport in Katunayake New Delhi: The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India today, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of "No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka", said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka - the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka's northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community.


In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it "may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka". Macrae said India's reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country's deeprooted tradition of democracy and free speech. "I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship," he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened today in Chennai by a student's group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. Officials of the Central Board of Film Certification, the censor board, were not immediately available for comment. The ban on the film comes after the government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka's decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. Sri Lanka denies causing civilian deaths and President Mahindra Rajapakse sees himself as having brought peace to the Indian Ocean island. Macrae said he hoped the film's release online will spur a debate ahead of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva starting March 3. The council will hear calls for the setting up of an international commission of enquiry into alleged crimes committed in the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka. "As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva... we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues," Macrae said


WORLD

Banned Sri lankan war film released online in India after censorship AFP | Feb 23, 2014, 21:17PM IST

New Delhi: The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India on Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of " No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka", said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka — the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka's northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it "may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka". Macrae said India's reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country's deeprooted tradition of democracy and free speech. "I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship," he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student's group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India's Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment.


The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka's decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. "As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva... we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues," Macrae said.


dbsjeyaraj.com India Bans Screening Updated Version of Channel 4 Documentary”No Fire Zone”Directed by Callum Macrae. 22 February 2014, 6:24 pm By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

Controversial Channel4 film director, Callum Macrae, yesterday told Ceylon Today that the ban imposed on his film, preventing it from screening in India, is an act of overt political censorship.The updated version of the original documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, which has some recent events, including violent demonstrations against Muslim and Christian communities and Isaipriya captured alive, had not been issued with a censor certificate for the release in theatres by the Indian Central Board of Film Certification, last week. Earlier, he released a TV documentary version of the film. In response, Macrae has decided to make it available online in India, free of charge. The film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the other countries where the screening of No Fire Zone has been banned. Macrae told Ceylon Today, “There was no suggestion that this was because the film was wrong in what it says. The accuracy of our journalism has been vindicated at every stage by independent examination – and by the continuing emergence of more video evidence backing our contentions. “When we applied for certification for our film, to allow it to be seen by cinema audiences in India, it was refused. One of the grounds given was that to let people see it might ‘strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka.’ This was an act of overt political censorship. “This ban was an act of short-term political expediency – an attempt to smooth over relations with the ruling regime ofSri Lanka. But my concern is about what this means in the long-term. “India is the most important country in this whole equation after Sri Lanka itself. I can understand India’s conflicting concerns in this situation and the many sensitivities involved. But, equally, India’s obligations in this situation cannot be ignored. India needs to show clear leadership. “It is a clear lesson of history that without truth you cannot have justice – and without justice you cannot easily move forward to peace, political solutions and reconciliation. So despite the difficulties for India, India has to take the lead here. “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship.” Macrae said he expects to be in Geneva when the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions take place in March. “I do hope to be there to cover the events and to talk to people there. I am sure there will be many events and opportunities to show people the film and present the evidence. I think that the message is getting through to the non-aligned countries that this is not about a Western attack on a small sovereign nation as the government would like to portray it, but actually a question of universal human rights and international humanitarian law.” COURTESY:CEYLON TODAY


SRI LANKAN MEDIA COVERAGE


India bans film about Sri Lankan war 0

February 23, 2014 2:31 pm

India's film censors have refused permission for the general release of a film chronicling the violent closing months of the civil war in Sri Lanka because the documentary may strain friendly relations between the two countries.

The Central Board of Film Certification also said in a letter to the director of "No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka," reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, that it would not grant a certificate to allow the documentary to be shown in theaters because "most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature and not fit for public exhibition."

In response, the documentary's director Callum Macrae has decided to make the film available free online on the film's website starting Sunday.

The censor board could not be reached immediately for comment.

The film is a collection of footage recorded in the northeast region of the island nation by doctors, civilians, Tamil rebels and Sinhalese soldiers on cell phones and hand-held cameras as the Sri Lankan government allegedly bombarded areas filled with refugees fleeing the fighting.

"This is an explicit admission that India doesn't want the film to be seen for political expediency," Mr. Macrae said in a telephone interview with the Journal. "India is denying access to evidence of war crimes, and participating in a process to prevent the truth from getting out," he added.

The film premiered at private screenings in Mumbai and Delhi in November, at which time the Indian government did not grant Mr. Macrae a visa to visit India. The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Wall Street Journal at the time that Mr. Macrae's visa was denied because he had violated visa norms in 2011, but has not provided an explanation to the British director for their refusal to grant him a visa.


Attempts to screen "No Fire Zone" in Nepal and Malaysia have also met with government opposition and censorship, said Mr. Macrae. In Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, police and censor board officials raided a film screening to prevent it from being shown. The government of Nepal also came under pressure from the Sri Lankan government to change venues for a screening in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, according to Mr. Macrae.

But India's reluctance to show the film is most concerning given the country's tradition of free speech and democracy, said Mr. Macrae. "It is India's moral duty to allow the truth to come out," said Mr. Macrae.

"India is the most important country in this conflict after Sri Lanka itself... It is the leading power in the region, the rest of the world looks to India for leadership on the [Sri Lankan conflict]," said Mr. Macrae.

The decision to ban the film is the most recent example of curtailment of freedom of expression in India. Earlier this month, publishing house Penguin agreed to withdraw and pulp copies of a book about Hinduism written by a prominent American scholar after a legal battle with a nationalist group.

Mr. Macrae's 93-minute documentary contains eyewitness accounts and personal testimonies from U.N. workers and Sri Lankan civilians who were in Vanni province and other areas of the north east where the fighting was fiercest.

The film pieces together this footage as evidence that the government failed to honor the "no fire zones" it created for civilians seeking shelter. Between January and May of 2009, Sri Lankan forces repeatedly opened fire on these "safe zones" and makeshift hospitals, the film alleges.

Mr. Macrae says that the footage has been verified by forensic experts who analyze evidence in British courts.

A United Nations panel in 2011 said that up to 40,000 people, mainly ethnic Tamil civilians were killed as the decades-long Sri Lankan civil war came to an end in 2009, while members of the U.N.'s in-country team and humanitarian agencies claim that over 70,000 people are unaccounted for.

The Sri Lankan government estimates that fewer than 10,000 civilians were killed in the war, according to a November 2012 internal U.N. report. (blogs.wsj.com)


India bans screening of Callum Macrae’s film February 23, 2014 3:00 am By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

Controversial Channel4 film director, Callum Macrae, yesterday told Ceylon Today that the ban imposed on his film, preventing it from screening in India, is an act of overt political censorship.The updated version of the original documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, which has some recent events, including violent demonstrations against Muslim and Christian communities and Isaipriya captured alive, had not been issued with a censor certificate for the release in theatres by the Indian Central Board of Film Certification, last week. Earlier, he released a TV documentary version of the film.

In response, Macrae has decided to make it available online in India, free of charge. The film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the other countries where the screening of No Fire Zone has been banned. Macrae told Ceylon Today, "There was no suggestion that this was because the film was wrong in what it says. The accuracy of our journalism has been vindicated at every stage by independent examination – and by the continuing emergence of more video evidence backing our contentions.

"When we applied for certification for our film, to allow it to be seen by cinema audiences in India, it was refused. One of the grounds given was that to let people see it might 'strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka.' This was an act of overt political censorship. "This ban was an act of short-term political expediency – an attempt to smooth over relations with the ruling regime ofSri Lanka. But my concern is about what this means in the long-term. "India is the most important country in this whole equation after Sri Lanka itself. I can understand India's conflicting concerns in this situation and the many sensitivities involved. But, equally, India's obligations in this situation cannot be ignored. India needs to show clear leadership. "It is a clear lesson of history that without truth you cannot have justice – and without justice you cannot easily move forward to peace, political solutions and reconciliation. So despite


the difficulties for India, India has to take the lead here. "I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship."

Macrae said he expects to be in Geneva when the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions take place in March. "I do hope to be there to cover the events and to talk to people there. I am sure there will be many events and opportunities to show people the film and present the evidence. I think that the message is getting through to the non-aligned countries that this is not about a Western attack on a small sovereign nation as the government would like to portray it, but actually a question of universal human rights and international humanitarian law."


India’s film censors have refused permission for the general release of a film chronicling the violent closing months of the civil war in Sri Lanka because the documentary may strain friendly relations between the two countries. The Central Board of Film Certification also said in a letter to the director of “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka,” reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, that it would not grant a certificate to allow the documentary to be shown in theaters because “most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature and not fit for public exhibition.” In response, the documentary’s director Callum Macrae has decided to make the film available free online on the film’s website starting Sunday. The censor board could not be reached immediately for comment. The film is a collection of footage recorded in the northeast region of the island nation by doctors, civilians, Tamil rebels and Sinhalese soldiers on cell phones and hand-held cameras as the Sri Lankan government allegedly bombarded areas filled with refugees fleeing the fighting. “This is an explicit admission that India doesn’t want the film to be seen for political expediency,” Mr. Macrae said in a telephone interview with the Journal. “India is denying access to evidence of war crimes, and participating in a process to prevent the truth from getting out,” he added. The film premiered at private screenings in Mumbai and Delhi in November, at which time the Indian government did not grant Mr. Macrae a visa to visit India. The Ministry of Home Affairs told the Wall Street Journal at the time that Mr. Macrae’s visa was denied because he had violated visa norms in 2011, but has not provided an explanation to the British director for their refusal to grant him a visa. Attempts to screen “No Fire Zone” in Nepal and Malaysia have also met with government opposition and censorship, said Mr. Macrae. In Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, police and censor board officials raided a film screening to prevent it from being shown. The government of Nepal also came under pressure from the Sri Lankan government to change venues for a screening in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, according to Mr. Macrae. But India’s reluctance to show the film is most concerning given the country’s tradition of free speech and democracy, said Mr. Macrae. “It is India’s moral duty to allow the truth to come out,” said Mr. Macrae. “India is the most important country in this conflict after Sri Lanka itself… It is the leading power in the region, the rest of the world looks to India for leadership on the [Sri Lankan


conflict],” said Mr. Macrae. The decision to ban the film is the most recent example of curtailment of freedom of expression in India. Earlier this month, publishing house Penguin agreed to withdraw and pulp copies of a book about Hinduism written by a prominent American scholar after a legal battle with a nationalist group. Mr. Macrae’s 93-minute documentary contains eyewitness accounts and personal testimonies from U.N. workers and Sri Lankan civilians who were in Vanni province and other areas of the north east where the fighting was fiercest. The film pieces together this footage as evidence that the government failed to honor the “no fire zones” it created for civilians seeking shelter. Between January and May of 2009, Sri Lankan forces repeatedly opened fire on these “safe zones” and makeshift hospitals, the film alleges. Mr. Macrae says that the footage has been verified by forensic experts who analyze evidence in British courts.


India Bans ‘No Fire Zone’ Film The controversial documentary ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ has been refused a censor certificate for release in theaters by the Indian Central Board of Film Certification. In response, Callum Macrae, the documentary’s director has decided to make it available free online in India. The film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, other countries where the screening of No Fire Zone has been banned, the producers said in a statement. The producers of the controversial documentary have accused the Indian authorities of “political censorship of unpalatable truths” for refusing a censor certificate on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka.” Claiming that “most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature,” the Board turned down the censor certificate for the documentary. This means that the film – which documents alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at the end of the Sri Lanka civil war – is banned from theatrical release in India. The ban on the film will add to the controversy over the Indian government’s refusal to grant a visa to the film’s director, Callum Macrae to attend a premiere of the documentary in New Delhi and Mumbai in November last year.


India bans release of British television film on Sri Lanka's war

Feb 22, Colombo: India has banned the release of controversial film on Sri Lanka's war "No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka "produced by Britain's Channel 4 Television. India's Central Board of Film Certification has refused to grant a censor certificate for the documentary claiming that the film cannot be allowed to show in theaters because most of the visuals are of a "disturbing nature and not fit for public exhibition". In response to the refusal, the director of the film, Callum Macrae has decided to post the documentary on line for in India and Malaysia from Sunday media reports said. In a telephone interview with Wall Street Journal Macrae has said that India doesn't want the film to be seen for political expediency. "India is denying access to evidence of war crimes, and participating in a process to prevent the truth from getting out," he charged. "It is India's moral duty to allow the truth to come out," said Macrae. Indian authorities last November denied Macrae visa to visit India to screen his documentary in New Delhi. However, Sri Lanka allowed him to visit the island to cover the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) held in Colombo from November 15-17. Last year Nepal banned the screening of the controversial documentary at the Film South Asia (FSA) festival and Malaysia has also banned showing the film in that country. Macrae's 93-minute documentary reportedly contains eyewitness accounts and personal testimonies from U.N. workers and Sri Lankan civilians who were in the war zone during the final phase of Sri Lanka's protracted civil war with the Tamil Tiger terrorists. Sri Lanka has strongly rejected Macrae's documentary on alleged humanitarian law violations saying that the film contained no facts but "concocted lies, half-truths and speculations" put together to embarrass the country.


Banned ‘No fire Zone’ documentary released online The director of the controversial film ”No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka “produced by Britain’s Channel 4 Television has released the documentary on line after India banned its release in theaters. Indian media reported. India’s Central Board of Film Certification refused to grant a censor certificate for the documentary to be released in India claiming that the film cannot be allowed to show in theaters because most of the visuals are of a “disturbing nature and not fit for public exhibition”, NDTV reported. In response to the refusal, the director of the film, Callum Macrae decided to post the documentary on line for in India as well as in Malaysia and Nepal which have also banned the public screening of the film. Macrae said the film will also be available free in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has strongly rejected Macrae’s documentary on alleged humanitarian law violations saying that the film contained no facts but “concocted lies, half-truths and speculations” put together to embarrass the country. Releasing the film online Macrae was quoted by media as saying he hoped the film’s release online will spur a debate ahead of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva starting March 3. “As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva… we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues,” Macrae said


Macrae flogging dead Tigers February 23, 2014, 9:12 pm Channel 4 Director of the No Fire Zone fame Callum Macrae, has, as usual, fired the first salvo in the annual human rights offensive against Sri Lanka with days to go for the UNHRC summit in Geneva. This time around he has blamed the LTTE—not for its gruesome crimes but for miscalculating ‘the ruthlessness of the Sri Lanka Army’ and expecting the international community to intervene to stop the war. He has expressed this view, inter alia, in a recent online interaction with some youth in Tamil Nadu via Skype. The term, ‘ruthlessness of the army’, may serve Macrae’s propagandistic purpose, but what the LTTE actually miscalculated was the army’s ability to open a broad front and sustain a prolonged military campaign. The Sri Lankan military had, under successive governments, until 2006, conducted only limited operations to contain the LTTE rather than eliminate its military muscle once and for all, and political leaders had buckled under international pressure thus paving the way for ‘peace processes’ which stood the LTTE in good stead. Prabhakaran emerged stronger after every truce forced on Sri Lanka and his military campaign shifted into high gear. Besides unwavering leadership, both political and military, arms and ammunition and the like a prerequisite for an army’s success is its flexibility which is not possible without ample recruitment. It should be able to take heavy casualties while forging ahead and be deployed at several fronts simultaneously without being spread thin. Until the commencement of the Eelam War IV, pro-LTTE groups and some NGOs had managed to demoralise the Sri Lankan youth to the extent of discouraging them from joining the army; they, for this purpose, carried out a well-funded anti-war campaign which consisted of films and soap operas where each and every young man who joined the army returned home in a coffin. But, subsequently, an effective government counter propaganda drive coupled with spectacular military gains in the East, which was rid of the LTTE with the myth of the outfit’s invincibility being blown sky high, created a situation where the youth fell over themselves to go soldering. For the first time, in 2006, Sri Lanka waged war on the LTTE with the singleminded pursuit of winning. The rest is history. Yes, as Macrae says, Prabhakaran expected some western powers to step in to force Colombo to stop the war. In fact, before the Vanni war proper had begun he summoned the TNA MPs to Kilinochchi and asked them to campaign hard to bring international pressure to bear on the government to call off military operations and promised to hold out until such time. His strategy worked to some extent. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, at that time, came running here while their Swedish counterpart could not make it due to a visa problem which triggered a diplomatic row. They demanded that the military operations be suspended immediately––but in vain. Karunanidhi staged a fast in Tamil Nadu. Pro-LTTE


groups occupied the British Parliament square demanding an end to the Vanni war and here efforts were made to shoot down national budgets, dislodge the Rajapaksa government and derail the war effort; several crossovers were engineered and dollars showered on the UPFA MPs in a bid to make more of them decamp. It is believed that Prabhakaran, in spite of having only a couple of tiny aircraft at his disposal, got a massive runway built in an area under his control hoping for a deus ex machina like situation where a big plane from a western country would land to remove him as well as his family and commanders to safety the way the Indians had done in 1987. Else, they LTTE wouldn’t have kept repairing that runway even at the height of the war with a crushing defeat staring it in the face. No country wanted to make a direct intervention to save him as he had become too embarrassing for them to save thanks to his mindless terror, especially crimes such as the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, and bans on his outfit in the West. He was badly let down! Macrae has said Sri Lanka cannot hide behind the crimes of the LTTE. What does he think those crimes are? Will he produce a film on them so as to prove that he is not offering his services as a propaganda hit man for the LTTE?


HIRU NEWS (Sri Lanka) No Fire Zone banned from screening in India Saturday, 22 February 2014 - 12:51

The controversial documentary film No Fire Zone, has been refused a censor certificate for release in theatres by the Indian Central Board of Film Certification. The producers of the controversial documentary, have accused the Indian authorities of “political censorship” for refusing a censor certificate on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka.” In response, Callum Macrae, the documentary’s director has decided to make it available free online in India. The ban on the film will add to the controversy over the Indian government’s refusal to grant a visa to the film’s director, Callum Macrae to attend a premiere of the documentary in New Delhi and Mumbai in November last year.


Sri Lanka warns of US “threat” By admin on February 23, 2014

The Sri Lankan Government today warned that the United States Government can pose a threat to the entire South Asian region. National languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara urged South Asian countries not to leave room for the U.S. to pass a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) next month. The Minister warned that the U.S. may attempt to use the resolution to force a change of Government in Sri Lanka. He said that interfering in Sri Lanka’s domestic affairs could be the first step by the United States to interfere in the South Asian region. The US is to sponsor a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC next month and the British Government has said it will co-sponsor the resolution which is expected to call for a UN backed investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. Human Rights groups allege that war crimes were committed by the military during the final stages of the war against the LTTE, an allegation the Government denies. The U.S. sponsored resolution is expected to have the backing of several member countries at the UNHRC including Sri Lanka’s biggest neighbor India.


However Minister Nanayakkara said the Sri Lankan Government appreciated the decision taken by India to ban the controversial ‘No-Fire Zone’ film on Sri Lanka. He recalled that India had even refused to grant a visa to the Director of the movie, who has been accused by the Sri Lankan Government of playing into the hands of LTTE sympathizers. (Colombo Gazette) Report by Easwaran Rutnam


Lanka News Web India bans ‘No Fire Zone’ film Details Created on Saturday, 22 February 2014 12:24

The controversial documentary ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka; has been refused a censor certificate for release in theaters by the Indian Central Board of Film Certification. In response, Callum Macrae, the documentary’s director has decided to make it available free online in India. The film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, other countries where the screening of No Fire Zone has been banned, the producers said in a statement.

The controversial documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka has been refused a censor certificate for release in theaters by the Indian Central Board of Film Certification. In response, Callum Macrae, the documentary’s director has decided to make it available free online in India. The film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka, other countries where the screening of No Fire Zone has been banned. The producers of the controversial documentary, have accused the Indian authorities of “political censorship of unpalatable truths” for refusing a censor certificate on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka.” Claiming that “most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature,” the Board turned down the censor certificate for the documentary. This means that the film - which documents war crimes and crimes against humanity committed at the end of the Sri Lanka civil war - is banned from theatrical release in India. The ban on the film will add to the controversy over the Indian government’s refusal to grant a visa to the film’s director, Callum Macrae to attend a premiere of the documentary in New Delhi and Mumbai in November last year.


Mr Macrae – a respected film-maker who has won many industry awards and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on exposing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka – said today: “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship.” In protest against the ban - and supported by a group of journalists in India - the production team have decided to make the film available for free streaming online in India. It will be available from Sunday 23 February on http://nofirezone.org/watch - both in English and in English with Hindi subtitles. The film will also be available for free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The revelation of the Indian ban follows what appears to be a concerted campaign by the Sri Lankan government to pressurize foreign governments to stop the film being seen. In Malaysia a screening of the film was raided by between 30 and 40 members of the Malaysian Censorship Board and police officers and an organizer, Lena Hendry of Malaysian Human Rights organisation Pusat Komas, was charged under censorship laws. She faces a maximum of three years in jail if convicted. That was followed by an order by the Nepalese authorities to give the organisers of the Film Southasia Festival in Katmandu just 24 hours notice that they must not show No Fire Zone and two other Sri Lankan films in their festival as planned. Film Southasia issued an immediate statement: “We announce with great regret that the Sri Lankan Government has pressurised the Nepali authorities to stop the screening of all three documentaries” They described the attempted ban as: “an action that goes against the freedom of expression and the right of documentary filmmakers to exhibit their work.” Director Macrae said: "While telling the world that it is investigating the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity – the Sri Lankan government is in practice mounting an international campaign to deny the truth and silence the witnesses.” “As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva for the UN Human Rights Council – which will hear calls for the setting up of an international Commission of Inquiry into all the crimes committed in the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka – we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues.


MALAYSIAN PRESS COVERAGE


India bans film on Sri Lanka February 25, 2014 No Fire Zone: In the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka is an investigative documentary about the final weeks of the Sri Lankan Civil War. MOVIE REVIEW

There is a ban culture pervading in India. Books and motion pictures are the biggest casualties of this. Movie ban is a weapon that political authority uses so often. Sometimes to throttle dissent. Sometimes in apprehension of what a movie may provoke. India’s Central Board of Film Certification has refused to allow the public screening of the documentary, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka – which looks at the last phase in early 2009 of the ethnic war between the island nation’s army and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, seeking a separate homeland for the minority community. (Sinhalas form the majority in the country.) Although the movie has been in the public domain for more than three years, Colombo has been lambasting it, calling the documentary propaganda to shame the Sri Lankan administration.


After India’s Censor Board refused to certify the film, the director of the documentary, Callum Macrae, said his work would now be freely available on the net in India. It will be in English with Hindi subtitles. Last week, the documentary was screened in Chennai by the Youths and Students Federation, a pro-Tamil group. In recent years, cinema has been targeted by both the government and political organisations. Bollywood helmer Anurag Kashyap’s powerful feature, Black Friday, on the Mumbai riots was not allowed to get out of the cans for years. Documentary movie-maker Anand Patwardhan has had to fight innumerable legal battles to show his works.

Kamal Hassan fell afoul of a virtually unknown political outfit, which sought a ban on his Viswaroopam. It finally opened after a delay of several weeks. More famously, Deepa Mehta’s Water was not allowed to be shot in Varanasi by radical Hindu groups, which felt that the film would denigrate the plight of Vrindavan widows. And decades ago, Krishnaswamy’s wonderful documentary, From Indus Valley to Indira Gandhi, struggled to get a release. His documentary on Operation Blue Star could never see the light of day. So Macraé’s movie is one among the many in India that have been banned either by the government or radical political outfits. But such prohibitions merely tickle public curiosity – much like what happened years and years ago with the book, D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. After it was proscribed, the novel – which later went to become a great classic – became such a hit that just about everybody keyed into reading somehow found a copy. I know high school kids reading the sexually graphic text in the Lawrence book. Similarly, I am now told that after Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, was banned and the publisher, Penguin, forced to recall all the copies, the 779 tome is being sold clandestinely like hot cakes. Ultimately a ban proves to be absolutely counter-productive. It only helps arouse people’s curiosity.


‘No Fire Zone’ documentary to air online for free in Malaysia, India February 22, 2014

Publicity still from 'No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka'. It's director has decided to make it available for free online, following a ban on its public screening in India. — Photo provided by filmmakersKUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The director of a controversial documentary on the bloody final days of Sri Lanka's civil war has decided to make it available for free online, following a ban on its public screening in India. Representatives of “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” director Callum Macrae said the full documentary will be posted online for free in India and Malaysia from tomorrow, after Indian authorities refused to grant it a censor certificate for release in theatres. “The producers of the controversial documentary, have accused the Indian authorities of 'political censorship of unpalatable truths' for refusing a censor certificate on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka,” read a statement issued by London-based tpr media consultants.


“Claiming that 'most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature,' the Board turned down the censor certificate for the documentary,” the statement added. Macrae's documentary, which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, chronicled the last 138 days of the Sri Lankan civil war, which ended in 2009 after government forces killed rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in a year-long offensive. The Sri Lankan military has since come under heavy criticism over their bloody final campaign – dubbed the northern offensive – with news reports claiming death tolls of up to 20,000 people. Government forces were also accused of executing Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son in the immediate aftermath of the civil war. The Sri Lankan government has denied all claims. Aside from India and Malaysia, Macrae will also be making the documentary available for free in Nepal and Sri Lanka, which have also banned the screening of No Fire Zone. The full documentary can be found at http://nofirezone.org/watch from tomorrow onwards. - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/no-fire-zone-documentary-toair-online-for-free-in-malaysia-india#sthash.9JCPI46X.dpuf


‘No Fire Zone’ Documentary To Air Online For Free In Malaysia, India

KUALA LUMPUR: The director of a controversial documentary on the bloody final days of Sri Lanka's civil war has decided to make it available for free online, following a ban on its public screening in India. Representatives of “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” director Callum Macrae said the full documentary will be posted online for free in India and Malaysia from tomorrow, after Indian authorities refused to grant it a censor certificate for release in theatres. “The producers of the controversial documentary, have accused the Indian authorities of 'political censorship of unpalatable truths' for refusing a censor certificate on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka,” read a statement issued by London-based tpr media consultants. “Claiming that 'most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature,' the Board turned down the censor certificate for the documentary,” the statement added. Macrae's documentary, which was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, chronicled the last 138 days of the Sri Lankan civil war, which ended in 2009 after government forces killed rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in a year-long offensive. The Sri Lankan military has since come under heavy criticism over their bloody final campaign – dubbed the northern offensive – with news reports claiming death tolls of up to 20,000 people. Government forces were also accused of executing Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son in the immediate aftermath of the civil war. The Sri Lankan government has denied all claims. Aside from India and Malaysia, Macrae will also be making the documentary available for free in Nepal and Sri Lanka, which have also banned the screening of No Fire Zone. The full documentary can be found at http://nofirezone.org/watchT from tomorrow onwards.


MIDDLE EASTERN MEDIA COVERAGE


Sri Lankan war film released online in India after censorship (AFP) / 23 February 2014 The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India on Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of “No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka”, said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka — the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka’s northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka”. Macrae said India’s reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country’s deep-rooted tradition of democracy and free speech. “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship,” he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened on Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student’s group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India’s Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment. The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai.


ARAB TIMES

Sri Lanka war film released online in India Censors ban theatrical release over ties fear NEW DELHI, Feb 23, (AFP): The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of “No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka”, said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka — the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka’s northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka”. Macrae said India’s reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country’s deep-rooted tradition of democracy and free speech. “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship,” he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student’s group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India’s Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment. The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka’s decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. Sri Lanka denies causing civilian deaths and President Mahindra Rajapakse sees himself as having brought peace to the Indian Ocean island.


PAKISTAN MEDIA COVERAGE


Sri Lanka war film released online in India after censorship NEW DELHI: The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of “No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka”, said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka — the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka’s northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka”. Macrae said India’s reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country’s deep-rooted tradition of democracy and free speech. “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship,” he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student’s group. Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India’s Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment. The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka’s decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. Sri Lanka denies causing civilian deaths and President Mahindra Rajapakse sees himself as having brought peace to the Indian Ocean island. Macrae said he hoped the film’s release online will spur a debate ahead of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva starting March 3. The council will hear calls for the setting up of an international commission of enquiry into alleged crimes committed in the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka. “As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva... we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues,” Macrae said.


Pakistan's Premier Financial Daily

Sri Lanka war film released online in India after censorship February 24, 2014

The director of a controversial war film on Sri Lanka streamed it free online in India Sunday, after censors banned its theatrical release over fears it may strain friendly ties with Colombo. Callum Macrae, the British director of "No Fire Zone: The killing fields of Sri Lanka", said the film will also be available free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka - the other countries where its general screening has been banned. The 93-minute film is a collection of footage recorded in Sri Lanka's northeast by doctors, civilians, rebels and soldiers as the government allegedly bombarded areas teeming with refugees trying to flee the fighting. The documentary has been contested by the Sri Lankan government as propaganda to discredit Colombo in the eyes of the international community. In a statement, the producers of the film said the Indian censor board had banned its release on the grounds it "may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka". Macrae said India's reluctance to release the film hurt him the most, given the country's deep-rooted tradition of democracy and free speech. "I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship," he was quoted as saying in the statement. In protest against the ban, the documentary was screened Sunday in the southern Indian city of Chennai by a student's group.


Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu state where millions of ethnic Tamils share close cultural and religious ties with their counterparts in Sri Lanka. The ruling Congress party is seen as being soft on Sri Lanka because it does not want to alienate potential Tamil supporters with elections due by May 2014. Officials of India's Central Board of Film Certification were not immediately available for comment. The ban on the film comes after the Indian government last year refused to grant a visa to Macrae to attend the premiere of the documentary which was screened in private in New Delhi and Mumbai. Rights groups say up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of a no-holds-barred offensive in 2009 that ended Sri Lanka's decades-long fight against Tamil separatists. Sri Lanka denies causing civilian deaths and President Mahindra Rajapakse sees himself as having brought peace to the Indian Ocean island. Macrae said he hoped the film's release online will spur a debate ahead of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva starting March 3. The council will hear calls for the setting up of an international commission of enquiry into alleged crimes committed in the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka. "As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva... we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues," Macrae said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014


CHINESE MEDIA COVERAGE


Sri Lanka warns of US threat to South Asia The Sri Lankan Government on Sunday warned that the USGovernment may pose a threat to the entire South Asian region. Sri Lanka's National languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara urged South Asian countries not to leave room for the United States to pass a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva next month. The minister warned that Washington may attempt to use the resolution to force a change of government in Sri Lanka. He said that interfering in Sri Lanka's domestic affairs could be the first step by the United States to interfere in the South Asian region. The United States is to sponsor a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC next month which is expected to call for a UN-backed investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka. Human rights groups allege that war crimes were committed by the military during the final stages of the war against the Tamil Tiger rebels, an allegation the government denies. The rebels were defeated in May 2009 after 30 years of fighting but human rights groups claim that some 40,000 civilians were killed in the process. The US-sponsored resolution is expected to have the backing of several member countries at the UNHRC, including Sri Lanka's biggest neighbor of India. However, Minister Nanayakkara said the Sri Lankan Government appreciated the decision taken by India to ban a controversial film on Sri Lanka. He recalled that India had even refused to grant a visa to the director of the movie "No-Fire Zone," who has been accused by the Sri Lankan Government of playing into the hands of Tamil Tiger sympathizers.


OTHER INTERNATIONAL MEDIA COVERAGE


‘No Fire Zone’ documentary banned in India The documentary ‘No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka’ has been banned from theatrical release in India, after it was refused a censorship certificate on grounds that it may strain relations with Sri Lanka. Indian authorities refused to certify the film stating that it “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka”. The decision was slammed by the producers of the award winning documentary, who labelled it “political censorship of unpalatable truths”. In response, they have released the film for free online in India, with Hindi subtitles. It can viewed from Sunday the 23rd of February 2014 at http://nofirezone.org/watch. Reacting to the developments, director Callum Macrae, who was also refused a visa by Indian authorities last year, stated, “I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship”. The move by Indian authorities follows similar bans or raids on film screenings in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The film has been made available to view for free online in all of those countries. Commenting on what has been described as a “concerted campaign by the Sri Lankan government” Macrae said, "While telling the world that it is investigating the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity – the Sri Lankan government is in practice mounting an international campaign to deny the truth and silence the witnesses.” “As national delegations prepare to meet in Geneva for the UN Human Rights Council – which will hear calls for the setting up of an international Commission of Inquiry into all the crimes committed in the last stages of the war in Sri Lanka – we hope making the film available in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka will stimulate debate on these vital issues.”


Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting "No Fire Zone" to Be Released for Free Viewing in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Malaysia The government of Sri Lanka has gone to extraordinary lengths to attack our film, No Fire Zone. It has denied the evidence we presented — carefully evidenced and authenticated as it is. It has accused me — absurdly, given my criticisms of them, of being a Tiger apologist (I accused the Tigers of war crimes, of using child soldiers, of shooting civilians). It has objected (unsuccessfully) to screenings in places ranging from the European Parliament, to the U.N. in Geneva and the Australian parliament. But it has also put pressure on other governments, particularly in Asia, to stop the film from being shown. In Malaysia a screening of the film was raided by some 30 members of the Malaysian Censorship Board and police officers and an organizer, Lena Hendry of the Malaysian human rights organization Pusat Komas, was charged under censorship laws. She faces a maximum of three years in jail if convicted. The Nepalese authorities gave the organizers of the Film Southasia Festival in Kathmandu 24 hours notice not to show No Fire Zone and two other Sri Lankan films planned for the festival. Film Southasia issued an immediate statement: “We announce with great regret that the Sri Lankan Government has pressurized the Nepali authorities to stop the screening of all three documentaries.” They described the attempted ban as “an action that goes against the freedom of expression and the right of documentary filmmakers to exhibit their work.” Towards the end of 2013 we applied to the Indian Central Board of Film Certification for certification for our film to allow a theatrical release. They refused it. But their grounds for refusing it were shocking. Although one reason they gave was simply that the images were “of a disturbing nature” – which indeed they are, though that has not stopped it being shown elsewhere – the next reason was more surprising. They said the film “may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka.” Perhaps I should not have been so surprised. After all last year the Indian government refused me a visa to travel to India for the premiere of the film. That ban still stands.


But this was clearly nothing other than a ban made for political reasons. That, in my view, constitutes nothing other than straightforward censorship. There was no suggestion that this was because the film was wrong in it what it says. The accuracy of our journalism has been vindicated at every stage by independent examination – and by the continuing emergence of more video evidence backing our contentions. For that reason we have taken the decision to respond to all these bids to ban our film, by releasing it, for free streaming, to everyone with access to the internet in India, Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. As of this weekend, the film can be viewed in those countries in English and in a version with Hindi subtitles. We will soon be posting a version in Sinhala. Why have we done this? Partly as an act of defiance of course. We cannot accept censorship. But also because India is the most important country in this whole equation after Sri Lanka itself. Of course I can understand India’s conflicting concerns in this situation – and the many sensitivities involved. But equally India’s obligations in this situation cannot be ignored. India — a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech — needs to show clear leadership. It is lesson of history that without truth you cannot have justice – and without justice you cannot easily move forward to peace, political solutions and reconciliation. And despite the difficulties for India, as the leading power in the region, it has to take the lead here. If by banning this film India becomes part of preventing the truth coming out – of denying what happened – then it will actually be slowing progress to justice, political solutions and the possibility of lasting peace in the region. That is not in India’s interest — nor is it in the interests of ordinary decent Sri Lankans, of all ethnic backgrounds, who just want to live in peace and harmony. This debate is not academic. Next month, the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva will consider calls for the creation of an Independent International Commission of Inquiry. The Sri Lankan government — under the control of the Rajapaksa brothers — is engaged in a brutal continuing repression of the Tamil people of the north and east — using land-grabs, systematic sexual violence and the denial of economic and political rights. And in the country as a whole we see the suppression of human rights, endemic corruption and the silencing of critics. Some voices internationally still call for the regime to be given more time to investigate the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity themselves. The problem is that the Rajapaksa government has shown that after five years it is neither willing nor capable of mounting a proper investigation into what happened — a real attempt to get to the truth and bring those responsible for war crimes to justice. Indeed with every day that passes it is proving itself less capable of doing that — the attacks on the independence of the judiciary are a clear illustration of that. That is why there are growing calls for an Independent International Commission of Inquiry that can get to the truth and start a genuine process leading to truth, justice, political progress and peace.


Links to articles http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/worldcinema/film-on-sri-lankan-war-banned-inindia/article1-1187291.aspx http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Sri-Lanka-war-film-released-online-in-India-aftercensorship/articleshow/30908449.cms http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/02/22/india-bans-film-about-sri-lankan-war/ http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/sri-lanka-war-film-released-online-in-india-after-censorship487116 http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/28269 http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/43540-india-bans-no-fire-zone-.html http://lankanewsweb.net/news/6637-india-bans-no-fire-zone-film http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/worldcinema/film-on-sri-lankan-war-banned-inindia/article1-1187291.aspx http://www.arabnews.com/news/530031 http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/cbfc-refuses-to-certify-film-on-sri-lankanwar-114022300735_1.html http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/WOR-banned-sri-lankan-war-film-released-online-in-india-aftercensorship-4530544-NOR.html http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display1.asp?xfile=data/international/2014/February/international_February663.xml&section=internationa l http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Regional/2014/02/24/Sri-Lanka-war-film-released-online-inIndia/ http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/film-on-sri-lankan-warscreened/article5717199.ece http://www.colombopage.com/archive_14A/Feb22_1393083712CH.php http://www.malaysiandigest.com/news/489496-no-fire-zone-documentary-to-air-online-for-free-inmalaysia-india.html


http://www.hirunews.lk/77885/no-fire-zone-banned-from-screening-in-india http://www.arabtimesonline.com/NewsDetails/tabid/96/smid/414/ArticleID/203971/reftab/73/t/Sr i-Lanka-war-film-released-online-in-India/Default.aspx http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbfc-refuses-to-certify-film-on-sri-lankanwar/article5717208.ece http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/region/24-Feb-2014/sri-lanka-war-film-released-online-in-indiaafter-censorship http://www.brecorder.com/general-news/172/1156706/ http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/02/23/india-bans-no-fire-zone-film/ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/no-fire-zone-documentary-to-air-online-forfree-in-malaysia-india http://island.lk/index.php?page_cat=news-section&page=news-section&code_title=55 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/news/45861.html

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/844362.shtml http://colombogazette.com/2014/02/23/lanka-warns-of-us-threat/

http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Default/Scripting/ArticleWin.asp?From=Archive&Source=Page&Skin =TOINEW&BaseHref=TOICH%2F2014%2F02%2F23&ViewMode=GIF&PageLabel=9&EntityId=Ar00900 &AppName=1 http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-1-234512-SL-war-film-released-in-India-after-censorship

http://www.ceylontoday.lk/16-56901-news-detail-india-bans-film-about-sri-lankan-war.html

http://www.ceylontoday.lk/16-56864-news-detail-india-bans-screening-of-callum-macraes-film.html

Defy The Ban  

Press coverage around revelation of State Censorship of No fire Zone by India

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