How a Sri Lanka civil war documentary screening was disrupted


This was what happened when Komas organised a screening of ‘No Fire Zone’, a documentary about the events leading up to the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka when thousands of people were killed in extra-judicial executions and shelling.

Some thoughts come to mind:

  • People at the screening were angry and upset at what they perceived to be arbitrary action. They were willing to speak up for their rights.
  • The new media allows cameras to be turned on the raiding party, who are put in the spotlight.
  • Why were the officials going after the journalist? Why did they want to search him?
  • What was wrong in the screening of the movie? After all this is not the first time a documentary about foreign atrocities is being shown in Malaysia. Haven’t there been screenings in Malaysia of documentaries about the killings in Palestine, Bosnia, East Timor?
  • What gives the Sri Lankan High Commission the right to interfere in a movie screening by a local NGO? Wouldn’t it have been more effective for the embassy officials to attend the screening and then present its side of the story?
  • It wasn’t a smart move by the authorities to disrupt the screening. Now the documentary has received even more publicity. Otherwise, the local audience would have been small.

I have’t seen this documentary, but I notice that it has been featured on the website of the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting.

Film director Callum Macrae (interview here) even screened it at the March 2013 session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. It is also available on Youtube.

The Globe and Mail of Canada describes the documentary as an “utterly convincing doc”:

As advocacy documentaries go, this chronicle of war crimes conducted by the Sri Lankan government against Tamil civilians during the 2009 conclusion of the Asian country’s 26-year-long civil war, is utterly convincing, and a refutation of Sri Lankan government denials.

The documentary screenings come at an awkward time for Sri Lanka, which is due to host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) in November. (See this report in the UK Independent.) Questions are already being raised as to whether the Commonwealth would lose credibility by holding the meeting in Sri Lanka.

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Because it is like umno looking at their own mirror.


Beat them in this game by uploading the documentary onto various video websites.
And can any readers recall how long it took the cops to take any real actions onto “Datuk T” for screening blue film.


KOMAS should just post the video on Youtube for all to see.


Excellent blog Anil. Please let us know who these ‘authority’ people were. Are they a division of the police?


If Shabery Cheek as new Information Minister is serious about revamping RTM TV channels as he has claimed, then he should screen more such thought-provoking documentaries on national free-to-air TV stations!


Agreed. But honestly RTM is no longer watched by most Msians due to its dated approach and heavy BN agenda.


When RTM said it is going digital, that means wastage and leakage of public fund is expected.


It’s really frustrating isn’t it?
To be constantly reminded that only one faith matters.
That the rest of us are lesser beings – our feelings not important, our opinions not important, our customs, our rights…………all somehow less important.
Our refugees less in need of sympathy.
Our children less in need of opportunities and help.
Our single mothers can not only be deprived of financial support but also their children, although everyone can easily see malice involved in that situation.
To be told your voice is not important.
To be told you are not important.


TANDA PUTERA is one that should not be shown as it has skewed the historical facts to suit the agenda of Umno.

I trust the words of Tamrin Baba (son of ex-DPM) that the May 13 incident was (allegedly) masterminded … to oust Tunku Abdul Rahman, but the chinese community was made the scapegoat!

Batu Ferringhian

….and the Malaysian government has no qualms about screening “Tanda

What’s amusing is that, it really seems like the policy makers/decision makers/politicians who govern are totally unaware of torrents 😀


My jiran is a son of a Tamil Elam refugee! I have followed the war when it was raging, briefly and read about the final winding down days too! Like all belligerent and utterly cruel Government crushing of its rebels and proponents of autonomy, the Sri Lanka was on par with … With China’s TOTAL throttling of the Uighurs,, Bosnians genocides and Russia’s domination of Chechnya – rolled in one! One has to see to believe that such `human’ animals existed in the SL Regime! The docu is free for viewing. But it takes a strong stomach to view it!… Read more »