Friday, October 3, 2008

media manipulation

I have previously noted the power of media, mainly in the areas of editorial and policy to represent certain points of view. It is common that all Sri Lanka government owned media is unabashedly one sided, influencing public opinion in a dangerously partisan, irresponsible and in the long run detrimental to the interests of the populace at large. History is replete with media barons influencing public opinion in a similar way, with similar results.

I want to concentrate here on the manipulation of unsuspecting journalists to a point of view because the person giving the information is a man with some responsibility inn the field, which he is talking about, and the journalist therefore takes it at face value without checking independent facts.

Sri Lanka is full of people in high positions, deliberately feeding misinformation into the media to highlight their position, but not based on anything other than the figment of their own imagination.

The total farce over a Weerawila International Airport which anyone with any common sense would know it was a non starter is one example. The other more recent example is that of the Kalpitiya Resort, which with the best will in the world cannot be justified under any grounds, and is merely an attempt by some people at the top of their posts misusing it to either pad their positions, and hence justify their existence, or being totally irresponsible, to hook people into spending money to defraud them, later.

This is a report for the journalists, to tell them to check their facts before reporting and the facts should always use an element of commonsense by asking the question “is this practical?” In Sri Lanka the manipulation of journalists of both state and private media is a daily occurrence, because the manipulators know that our journalists like the rest of the community don’t use common sense, and are therefore easily manipulable.

Journalists, be a little more critical about everything you hear or see, analyze the practicality of what you are reporting on, and make your own comment as to why you don’t believe what is said, and don’t be afraid to express your point of view as your view and not that of your paper. Later when you are proved correct, you then go with that for your promotion or your next job. “Kalpanakaranna , meka venna bari deyak! Kiyala vedak naha”

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