By Shenali Waduge
Many would agree that reading the newspaper, watching the news or listening to the radio the public hear nothing but crimes, killings, drugs, murders, rape, suicides whether it is taking place in Sri Lanka or globally. For the reader, viewer or listener it does not afford a pleasant experience to start the morning off with such news. It is nothing but depressing.
By requesting media to avoid negative coverage of news it does not denote that media must sing hosannas of the Government, neither does it mean media must sing hosannas for the opposition but it signifies a key role Sri Lanka’s media needs to play especially when a country has moved to a phase devoid of decades of terror. At the same time the media is beholden to protect the integrity of the nation which comes before all else. Self-censorship is thus an important area that media in Sri Lanka fail to understand the importance of. Rather than enforced laws in place if media advocates its own policy of ensuring the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka is never compromised a lot of negative vibes would not take place? There are nicer ways of putting things in perspective and it need not have to always take an attack mode of strategy. That is how respect can be earned.
The media must realize that Sri Lanka’s polity has been victims of 3 decades of news that had nothing more than hearing or reading about bombs, suicide missions and fear as a result of LTTE terrorism. With the elimination of that terror the people now deserve to read and listen to far more nicer things than they currently do.
We are well aware that media cannot deny that in relaying information to us they do so with a pinch of salt and often refraining from conveying the exact story to leave room for sensationalism. The electronic media are the guiltiest of this abuse of their role. In many country codes have been given to media on the type of reporting that they must conform to.
Be that as it may the people deserve far better than to have to start their morning by opening the newspaper and reading how many men paid to have sex with a pregnant woman, how a child killed himself, how many times a woman was beaten! Such figures and statistics whilst important for those doing research and reports, should be kept by the media unit, the police and the Government Information dept to be given on a need basis.
What the media can do is to use these incidents and provide a greater service by using their medium to promote good living, good habits and good practices using these incidents that are taking place in Sri Lanka as well as worldwide. Without conveying the raw details as they happen it would be far nicer to have the media playing a bigger role in partnering the growth of Sri Lanka instead of depicting it in poor light. This would lead to the media offering a far better customer centric service to the public as well as to the country one which would do a greater service to society and Sri Lanka as well.
The views expressed are the author’s own.