On The Record: dying to tell the truth

On The Record Arcola

The cast of On The Record. Photograph: AGPR

Journalists are being killed in unprecedented numbers as they hold murderous and corrupt regimes and individuals to account.

Since 1992, 868 reporters have died as a result of their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, including in planned reprisals for what they have written, broadcast or filmed. In just under two thirds of these cases the murderers have been clearly identified but go unpunished.

And in the first six months of this year alone, 22 reporters were killed and many more injured in the uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and elsewhere.

On The Record, the new play from human rights theatre company Iceandfire, digs behind these shocking statistics and uses personal testimony to dramatise the remarkable true stories of six campaigning journalists.

In Sri Lanka, brothers Lal and Lasantha Wickrematunge start a newspaper which publishes the stories others will not touch. Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho uncovers a child pornography ring involving politicians and businessmen, and in Moscow, Elena Kostyuchenko investigates mafia collusion with the police.

American photojournalist Zoriah Miller documents the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Iraq in defiance of US censors, whilst Amira Hass, the only Jewish Israeli journalist to have lived and worked in the Occupied Territories, is outspoken in her criticism of the occupation.

On The Record weaves together the stories of these disparate characters, linked by their determination to challenge the official version of the truth with, in some cases, horrifying consequences.

Written by Christine Bacon and Noah Birksted-Breen, On The Record is directed by Michael Longhurst whose recent work includes Stovepipe (Bush/National Theatre) and Remembrance Day (Royal Court).

On The Record
20 July – 13 August 2011
Studio 1
Arcola Theatre
24 Ashwin Street
Dalston E8 3DL



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