Aluthgama riots and deaths: Vital updates

Photo courtesy BBC

Update #3: 7.05am, 176 June 2014

A video with English subtitles of the BBS speech that incited violence in Aluthgama is now on YouTube. Also uploaded to the web photos we received of the scale of violence in Aluthgama. More photos from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Correspondents Association below.

Update #2: 6.23pm, 16 June 2014

India’s Firstpost runs an excellent story around how social media on the web and citizen journalism, including updates to social media from professional journalists, helped expose the situation in Aluthgama, given the almost blanket censorship of accurate, timely updates in the mainstream news media.

“Reports last night suggested media coverage was stopped by powers higher up but this wasn’t verified. There is genuine fear of reporting these events institutionally because of government and MoD (Ministry of Defence) pushback. Whatever the reason it suggests media is under a regime of censorship through fear, and journalists who have shared with me updates they haven’t made public are also self censoring themselves for fear of being identified later on as those who stoked violence by giving accurate and real time situation reports”, Sanjana Hattotuwa, the editor of Groundviews, told Firstpost. Social media and international media news reports have filled the gap created by the silence of the local press. “What was interesting to see was how many journos were tweeting through their personal accounts that their media outlets were completely blank on”, said Hattotuwa.

Read more at Social media breaks SL media’s shameful silence on Aluthgama riots

Update #1: 3.12pm, 16 June 2014

The mobile phone of Dharisha Bastians, reporting for the Daily FT as well as the Sri Lankan correspondent for the New York Times, has died. Her updates from the field are now being tweeted by Shilpa Samaratunge via @amerynth.