Media groups condemn 'assault' on Thusara Peiries

[TamilNet, Sunday, 30 March 2008, 14:04 GMT]
Free Media Movement (FMM), along with four other journalist groups, has written to Alok Prasad, the Indian High Commissioner to Colombo on Sunday seeking his intervention to acquire the master tapes of Thushara Peiris' controversial film from the Gemini Studios in Chennai. In its letter, the FMM maintained that its concern was "with the principle, not the content of the film per se" since it believed in the right to freedom of expression.

FMM through its letter expressed its "disquiet" about the assault on Thusara Peiris by the "Tamil Nadu Film Directors Association" when he had visited Gemini Studios in K.K. Nagar in Tamil Nadu's capital to dub his film into Tamil.

The signatories expressed their gratitude to Indian officials for having rescued Thushara Peiris and facilitated his safe passage back to Sri Lanka.

Full text of the letter follows:

Hon. Alok Prasad
His Excellency the High Commissioner
Indian High Commission
Colombo 2, Sri Lanka.


30 March 2008

Dear Sir,
On harassments faced by Film Director Thushara Peiris in Chennai, India

It has been reported that film director Thusara Peiris was harassed and assaulted by a group calling themselves as “Tamil Nadu Film Directors Association” when he visited Gemini Studios in K.K. Nagar in Tamil Nadu to work on a Tamil Language copy of his film titled Prabhakaran.

We wish to register our disquiet about this incident.

Our concern here is with the principle, not the content of the film per se. We believe that right to hold and express opinions are fundamental rights accepted by both our countries and enshrined in our respective constitutions. Making films or any other cultural production related to a social, an economic or political theme is to exercise this inviolable right. It is in this context that we believe the recent attack against Thushara Peiris is a violation of that right.

Condemning the assault, we would like to express our gratitude to officials who rescued Thushara Peiris from the violent mob and facilitated his safe passage back to Sri Lanka.

Our organizations have been informed that the master tape of the film is still at the Gemini Studios and we urgently request the intervention of your good offices to return these master tapes.

Emphasizing the need for enhanced cooperation between our respective Government’s and peoples on supporting and strengthening media freedom and the freedom of expression we look forward to stronger relations in the future as we work towards shared goals of democratic governance.

Sincerely,
Sunanda Deshapriya & Sanath Balasuriya


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