Amila Sampath: the man behind the video service of “Just Asia”

January 16, 2017

I have on many occasions referred to the admirable initiative of the AHRC to try and bring visual aspects to human right work []. So, I was glad to come across the story by Nilantha Ilangamuwa in the Sri Lankan Guardian of 3 November 2016 about the “The Man behind the video service Just Asia”!

Amila Sampath: “I make videos, that’s my tool, I believe this is one of the significant ways to raise the voice of the voiceless

Amila Sampath, a young journalist from the southern part of Sri Lanka, was involved with a few media outlets in Colombo just before he turned his life towards the protecting of human rights in Sri Lanka. During the interview, he elaborated on the efforts he made and friends who truly stood with him to encourage, and improve the content as well as the audience of the viewers. Just Asia – on YouTube – covers the brutality of the state and non-state actors across Asia.

The program started in mid-October 2013 as a part of my internship with the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).  AHRC is a rights monitoring, documenting and analysing body headquartered in Hong Kong,” Amila said. Before he joined the Hong Kong-based human rights body, he worked with the local rights promotion and protection group, Janasansadaya. “I think Chrithralal is the person who should be credited for what I’m today. Therefore we together produced over three hundred videos on the victims. Today that video collection is the largest collection of victims’ story in the island nation. It has over eight hundred thousand viewers.

Amila Sampath

Amila Sampath

Basil Fernando, director of the AHRC invited me for the internship. Therefore I landed here. After that, I spent every moment to think about what better I could with this wider training to improve on what I did in Sri Lanka. It led to the birth of the video program. I sincerely appreciate the greater help by Basil, Bijo, Baseer and all other colleagues in the AHRC who hold up the program and continue their support. This is not a single person’s work; I would like to say this is the result of strong teamwork. Some of those colleagues are no longer with us but their contribution to the program is invaluable”.

First named as the Human Rights Asia Weekly Roundup then as Just Asia, the program completed three years of publishing by producing 145 episode on the situation in Asia on last October 14. …“The main challenge is compiling story each week and producing the program on time. So far we have been succeeding though we are facing tremendous difficulties due to the limitation of resources. We have a non-permanent arrangement for the studio and most of our anchors are volunteers. The part-time editor who is working from India is giving her full efforts to produce the program efficiently. Well… after all, I would say there is a long road ahead”, Amila said.

…While talking the future plan with the program, Amila said, “There are hundreds of television channels across Asia, who may be interested in syndicating with our program free of cost. So I would like to make an open request to anyone who would like to have our program in their country. Through that, I believe more people in general especially those who lack of access to the Internet, can be involved with us.”

No society will move forward unless and until the citizens start truly respecting each other and restricting themselves to the principles of the norms and ethics on which moral power can be grown. Words without proper actions are nothing but vicious attempts to eliminate the opportunity for social change.  Listening to those victims in the program documented tells the story of agony and needs of immediate action to protect humanity.

Source: A man who makes videos to tell the agony of oppression! | Sri Lanka Guardian

3 Responses to “Amila Sampath: the man behind the video service of “Just Asia””

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