Despite there being four documentaries nominated in the category, government loyalists have chosen to show their distaste for the award-winning al-Jazeera programme, which profiles the suppression of an uprising in Bahrain during the Arab Spring of 2011, by voting for the Channel 4 documentary, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields.
We’re giving you the chance to watch both documentaries again, before you cast your vote in our poll.
To clarify, this is an opinion poll only. The final decision on who wins the Bafta will be made by a private Bafta panel.
Bahrain: Shouting in the Dark (Al Jazeera)
David Butcher’s Radio Times review:
May Ying Welsh’s film about the uprising in Bahrain came out last August and has won several awards. It deserves to. On the spot reportage doesn’t come much more immediate or shocking. Amid the global coverage of uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and Syria, protests in Bahrain (pop: 800,000) went largely ignored. The tiny island state sits off the coast of Saudi Arabia, which has no wish to see a revolution succeed in its back yard – and sent troops to help suppress it.
The protests began last February and met a ruthless response from the Sunni-dominated regime of the Khalifa family. Again and again we see peaceful demonstrators (mostly from the majority Shia population) cut down by police fire. Uniformed doctors who tried to help the injured were themselves attacked by security forces. Facebook was used as a kind of loyalist lynch-mob to track down protestors – including national football stars who, in bizarre scenes, were phoned up and denounced live on state TV (before being arrested). Official opposition leaders, including members of parliament, were imprisoned.
If you wanted to drive a broad, pro-democracy movement into the arms of militant Islamists, this looks like the perfect way to do it. How the recent controversy over calls to move the Bahrain Grand Prix has changed things on the ground remains to be seen. Let’s hope Welsh is making a sequel.
Radio Times said: This is a follow-up to last year’s award-winning documentary about the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war. Jon Snow outlines how in 2009 the Colombo regime not only shelled the very “No Fire Zones” it had set up for Tamil civilians to flee the fighting, but also systematically withheld food and medical supplies from hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees gathered on a narrow strip at the coast.
“The programme is excruciating to watch, but the evidence of serious and sustained war crimes looks irresistible — with the apparent culprits still sitting at the top of the country’s government. As the England cricket team prepares to tour Sri Lanka, it’s a story that is hard to stomach.