Sunday, April 26, 2015

How independent is our Media? Individual Journalists are in the pockets of interested parties!

It would be nice if when we read an article or hear or see some news, there was a tag with a journalist which says he is the mouth piece of so and so. In the English print media after a while one would get to know the bent of that journalist, spouting the views of their sponsor, or who only reports in favorable light of and sycophantic words of his sponsor.

Especially in the post 8th Janaury 2015 era, where there is broad license on what is written and there is little if any censorship by the Editors or Owners to prevent anti Govt. bias, it is all the more important that Journalists actually appreciate the new found freedom, and give credit where it is due, to the people, and therefore report in as objective a way as possible.

Due to the historic bias, and the 10 years of MR rule that effectively bought loyalty by shameless familiarity with Journalists, giving them laptops, and interest free loans, these compromising strings show in their writings. As a result there is still more biased reporting on behalf of an administration that has been clearly thrown out by the people, due to the Journalist knowing these rogues personally not being able to change their spots, and see them without the rose tinted glasses they seem to look at them still!

It will take a decade at least to change the Media culture, to return to a level of professionalism that only a few journalists have today. I trust budding journalists who go through their training learn what it takes to be a good reporter, especially an investigative reporter, and learn the inherent bias one comes with, as a result of one’s own experiences, or family background, and therefore being quite aware of one’s own prejudices due to that. If then they try to be objective despite having personal preferences, when reporting and writing for public consumption, they will do their profession a service.

I don’t know how many journalists reading this will understand what I am saying here. That goes to the crux of the matter, as today’s journalists don’t even realize how prejudiced they are towards certain people, let alone ideologies. How pathetic is their writing?

Taking the past Government they did not have an ideology as such, it was an era of Robber Barons akin to the turn of the 20th Century in the US, when they ruled, such as the Rockefellers and Carnegies, so being paid to write positively about crooks, was part of the course, as money was not an object and “arakku botaleta liyana warthakaru” was a dime a dozen. WE MUST CHANGE THIS PATTERN FORTHWITH.

An appeal to Newspaper owners and also those of other media. It is time to explain to your staff the importance of objectivity despite personal prejudices, and implore them that only with such reporting styles, will they improve their product and by that same measure improve the quality of the paper they are reporting for.

It is with some satisfaction that I see the yearning for political news amongst our newspaper reading public that the circulation of the Sinhala Newspapers has gone up so much after 8th January 2015. However this yearning and readership has not been satiated by responsible reporting and therein lies the conundrum.  Time for reflection and responsible reporting. 


Anonymous said...

What does it say about the journalism profession that its professionals cannot even afford a laptop to write with? Newspaper owners and barons are to blame for this in classic capitalist style exploiting the labor of workers for their own largesse. Clears the journalists that accept these perks are being passive aggressive against the newspaper dons, or they are being just self interested. More research must be done to examine the state of journalism in the country to get a more full view of what is going on. That said, he profession is,criticL on a democracy and when it is functioning to promote private interests, democracy is badly crippled. It's happening in capitalist countries thoughout the world. A new age of robber baron media!

Anonymous said...

Good point above, that the journalists have to write for different papers using different pseudonyms and what is worse they have to double up as TV reporters too for more than one TV channell.

This is most apparent in the provinces, but suggest a way they can improve their lot, as Dons cannot increase payments to them. This is a problem all over the world.

Maybe time for partime journalists in provinces.

Anonymous said...

The dons must increase their wages. If you pay peanuts you get monkeys! That's the journalism profession of today in a nutshell. if it's not higher wages, they need some benefits to make their lives dignified. Malinda was onto something with his interest free loans and computers.