And Sopika's harrowing account of her recent ordeal, related via intermediaries, helps explain why the authorities are so keen to restrict the flow of information. Her story is testimony to the brutality of both the Tamil Tiger fighters and the government during the final stages of a year conflict, during which each side accused the other of acts of unspeakable cruelty.
UN chief flies into Sri Lanka as Tamils' tales of terror emerge
Both, it seems, were telling the truth and it is the Tamil civilians who paid the price. Sopika was born on the island of Kayts, off the northern tip of Jaffna. Until eight months ago, she and her older brother and younger sister lived with their parents in a village overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Then they left to visit the town of Madhu on the mainland. As the government unleashed its military offensive against the Tigers, their route home was shut off. Desperate to escape the shelling, they were driven ahead of the advancing government forces, further into LTTE Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam territory, moving from place to place, dodging air strikes and artillery.
Tamil Tales of Sri Lanka
Human rights groups and international officials have accused the government of heavily shelling areas densely populated with civilians in the last weeks of the war. The government has denied using heavy weapons. But by the time the family reached Mullaitivu, Sopika said she found the noise of the jets and artillery overwhelming.
Her parents decided they had to make a break for it. It was 2am when they set off with several other families.
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He died. The family decided to try again to escape. This time they headed for the shore, again setting out at 2am, hoping that the darkness would provide them with cover from the guns of the Tamil Tigers and the government forces.
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Economy First Person Geopolitics Government History Human Rights 1, Military Politics 1, Religion But shadows remain, particularly in the local Tamil-language media. Frequent attacks on journalists have attracted considerable attention over the years, and prompted UK prime minister David Cameron to speak out during his visit to Jaffna-based newspaper Uthayn.
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Encouraging investigative reporting in the Tamil language media is a question not only of developing skills, but also of limiting risks and deepening awareness of where investigative stories can come from. The project will be hosting investigative journalism workshops in autumn, , in Kandi, Jaffna, Galle and Colombo for print, radio, TV and online reporters and will be followed by an all-island award for the best investigative stories.