MAY 22, 2005
Posted: June 7, 2005
The offices of the London-based exiled Tamil news radio Tamil Broadcasting Corporation (TBC) were broken into and looted in the early morning hours, forcing the station to suspend programming, according to the station’s program director V. Ramaraj.
Studio equipment was stolen, and the uplink facility was severed, forcing TBC off the air. Ramaraj claimed that members of the Sri Lankan rebel group the Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) were responsible for looting the station because of TBC’s critical reporting about the LTTE.
Ramaraj said that he had received death threats in the weeks prior to the robbery, and that the station had also been threatened.
Tensions increased this spring for journalists in Sri Lanka and in the exiled Tamil community following the murder of veteran Tamil journalist Dharmeratnam Sivaram in April. A split within the LTTE last year has divided Tamil journalists both in Sri Lanka and abroad and started a cycle of violence in which both sides target journalists from the opposing camp.
The station had been threatened before. In March 2004, TBC and its journalists received anonymous death threats soon after it began broadcasting in the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. At that time, the LTTE’s official radio Voice of the Tigers issued a report condemning the station and calling the TBC “traitors”.