Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summertime Media Blues

The months of July and August in the European and US media is referred to as silly season, as there is not much news and journalists scramble to create media situations, some of which are purposefully set up to create sensationalism and ultimately sell newspapers.

The recent news due to lack of anything else to report has been dominated by the News International Scandal which has given enough for reporters to write about, and also includes a little on the Somalian Famine and Obama's struggle to get the Deficit Reduction plans passed.

Whilst we thought everything was hunkydory, out of the blue comes the Norwegian massacres which appear at first to be the work of a lone gunman from Norway. How on earth one person can be responsible for such carnage is beyond imagination, but it certainly has caught the imagination of the world news media and the international news outlets have finally put the spotlight on the ugly sleepy fishing village or capital called Oslo, home to some of the highest GNP per capita people on earth.

Sri Lanka like always seems to buck this trend in any type of media blues and has its own sprinkling of media events, from the Local Government Elections being held today, to the Arsenic scares, and Election malpractices in the North. Whenever there is a dearth of news you can bet that the Government creates news so they do not feel left out. Why they need this comfort is beyond me as they have their one sided media that pretends that there are no people other than those who wholeheartedly agree with the State. Such is the quality of the State sponsored media organizations, none of whom seem to care about ethics or media.

As one knows what is reported is as much news and what is not reported. One must also realize that many editors determine what is being written or broadcast and therefore exert a certain amount of influence in this regard. We are therefore guided to some degree in this aspect and must rely on bloggers to get some angles that none of the formal channels of media provide. It is also important to realize in Sri Lanka that there is a considerable amount of self censorship that goes on by the editors in reporting so as not to fall foul with the State which gives a certain amount of advertising revenue to enable some of these publications to survive.

Remember all media channel and papers are businesses and it is only the Government ones that can suffer an element of loss on account of the Government prepared to bail them out as needed.

There are many NGO type blogs around but whose credibility is compromised due to the funding sources and so individual well researched blog which are few and far between give an opinion based on certain in built prejudices.

Lets hope we can develop this individuality and make the blogs more popular amongst the ever increasing following especially amongst the youth, and get them to start a culture of blogging.


Anonymous said...

i like reading your blogs, but am not sure i'd be interested in reading a scatter-brained young lankan's blog complete with badly formed sentences, spelling errors, and foolish premises. My feeling is that the youth should build their capacity first before firing off political opinions that may not reflect reality.

Nonetheless, I'm sure I could be proven wrong as anything is possible for the young.

Anonymous said...

do you have an opinion about the Wikileaks website? what are your ideas about secrecy and how blogs can combat this?

My feeling is that websites like that are a breath of fresh air and help to keep tyrannical regimes from running wild over the world, despite their stated stance of self-rule for peoples of the world. Hypocrites.

on the other hand, my feeling is that sites such as wikileaks must strive to maintain true information, as the spread of disinformation is a real detriment to good governance and social responsibility (see

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

Only the good blogs will have a readership, so that will not be an issue with a proliferation of useless ones. What I am trying to promote are a series of good blogs to follow opinion and news, as the newspapers don't really have much news.

There are some good sinhala blogs and hopefully I will be able to do one in Sinhala too as most of my writing is directed at them, so that is important.

With regard to wikileaks, while I am glad to have peaked into diplomatic messages, I still think they should be private as they are matters of state, which can be disclosed after 30 years, but at the time they are rather confidential and should remain so.