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LTTE launches TV channel NTT

Liberation tigers take to airwaves; DWS follows them to the den






April 14, 2005: Hear that "Grrr..." from behind the bushes? It is a tiger watching propaganda TV. The channel in question bears a flower logo. And it's on air only for 15 minutes a day.

No kidding, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the rebel warriors of Northern Sri Lanka fighting for a separate nation state in the island nation, have tip-toed into satellite territory. Starting March 26, 2005, LTTE has started beaming its very own homegrown TV fare to European countries. Sorry, Asia is not on the paw-print of the tiger satellite for now.

The LTTE TV channel, named NTT (National Television of Tamil Eelam) beams a daily dose of capsule news. The tiger cub stalks the airwaves for just 15 minutes a day. The signals are picked up by the Tamil News Network (TNN) in Paris, France, which distributes the signals to the rest of Europe. NTT's pugmarks will appear in Asia after a while.

Tigers and technology have gone paw-in-paw for long. The Voice of Tigers, which started as a rudimentary radio channel in 1990, is now well-established, even airing commercials. However, LTTE's first foray into television came a cropper, after its bloody battle with the Indian Peace Keeping Force and Sri Lankan government forces in the eighties. So, this will be the second time the tigers are trotting to the TV studio.

The LTTE TV's channel logo is the "Kaithigapoo" (shown left), the "national flower" of the tigers' dream land of Tamil Eelam.

But do not let the pretty flower mislead you into thinking that the tigers have turned herbivores. LTTE is outlawed as a terrorist organisation by several nations. It has been charged with several suicide bombings, assassinations and kidnappings.

LTTE's TV channel NTT is probably the first television channel to be run by an insurgent group from within areas controlled by it. The tigers have been media-savvy for long, and have brought out magazines, websites and journals from several countries sympathetic to their cause.

According to a pro-LTTE website, the tigers plan to increase telecast time to half an hour and expand further in some time.

A rookie correspondent who questioned a leading tiger about the channel's funding, location and programme guide met with a sharp glare, bared fangs and a growl. He is currently undergoing therapy.

Keep tracking Dance With Shadows for the tiger's TV trail.


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