Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished was amongst the prestigious winners of the annual Peabody Awards last night, the oldest and one of the top honours in broadcasting. First presented in 1941, the George Foster Peabody Awards recognise excellence in television and radio broadcasting, as well as by webcasters, producing organisations and individuals. The awards program is administered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Selection is made each spring by the Peabody Board, a 16-member panel of distinguished academics, television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts.
The powerful follow-up film to Sri Lanka's Killing Fields, Jon Snow's critically-acclaimed investigation into the final weeks of the war between the government and Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields: War Crimes Unpunished accumulated powerful new evidence including contemporaneous documents, eye-witness accounts, photographic stills and videos relating to how exactly events unfolded during the final days of the civil war. It featured new chilling video footage of five men and a child who had been executed.
When the film was broadcast last year it had impact internationally causing uproar in both the Houses of Parliament in India - the upper house's session had to be adjourned after politicians from the south of the country, which has a large Tamil population, criticised the government's failure to pressure Sri Lanka to investigate war crimes as part of a reconciliation process.
Both ‘Killing Fields’ films built on the work of Channel 4 News which first revealed the existence of trophy execution footage and were produced by ITN Factual and directed by Callum Macrae with Zoe Sale as producer. The same team have now released their first feature-length film about the final bloody months of the Sri Lankan civil war in March. No Fire Zone represents the culmination of three years of journalistic investigation and contains deeply disturbing new evidence, powerful eye witness testimony and compelling personal stories of survival in a war zone. It presents a devastating indictment of the men responsible for the crimes and an exposé of the failure of the international community to prevent this catastrophe. The project is backed by Channel 4, BRITDOC, The Bertha Foundation, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Stichting Democratie en Media, and WorldView as well as NGOs including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The film, made for an international audience, was launched at the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival during the UN Human Rights Council meeting in March.