Has anyone stopped to think how lucky we are to have so many Daily or Sunday Newspapers to choose from? I who have spent a good deal of my life in the UK and the US feel we have a decent variety and with my being bi-lingual gives me 15 Sunday Newspapers to choose from. Further, working with a person who is in the Newspaper business, I have the chance of selecting all or any of them on a daily basis to read from as they are all available for my pleasure!
In the UK one is able to purchase a range of about 8 Sunday papers to choose from in English. In the US most people only have access to one and at most two daily or Sunday papers. It is usually the local paper and occasionally a paper nearest the large metropolis to one’s place of abode. Therefore when I lived in Santa Barbara I had access to the Santa Barbara Newspress which is the local paper along with the Los Angeles Times as LA is the nearest metropolis to Santa Barbara.
Taking note of the above points and the benefit of a surfeit of papers of newspapers in two languages should be treated as a stroke of good fortune. One of the issues is the poor quality of controversial investigative journalism, partially due to self-censorship adopted by the Papers when dealing with delicate matters pertaining to excesses of the state, that we only read from the Internet from Websites hosted out of Sri Lanka, generally by Sri Lankans who have had to leave due to pressure.
On November 18th a new paper, the Maubima in Sinhala, both daily and Sunday and its English sister paper, Ceylon Today was inaugurated to add to this veritable feast. This I understand is owned or run by Mr Tiran Alles who is the proprietor of the Gateway International Schools and is a DNA MP in Parliament who has not spoken in the House on behalf of his supposed political master the currently incarcerated General Sarath Fonseka. I assume it was put out to represent the General, but launching it on the President’s birthday along with a huge supplement hailing both his completion of a year of his second term which coincided with his birthday gives rise to a question of who or what it is supporting!
The largest circulation is from the Wijeya Group with Sinhala Lankadeepa and the English FT, Mirror and Sunday Times. The Lakehouse state mouthpiece is the Sinhala Dinamina & Silumina, along with the Daily News & Sunday Observer. The Sinhala Divaina and English Island is another pro state paper that is Nationalistic, headed by a brother of a Cabinet minister. There is the controversial Sunday Leader, the Lakbima in both English and Sinhala, the Nation in English and Rivira, Ravaya and Janarala in Sinhala round out the rest. Forgive any others!
Despite all the above points, the MOST IMPORTANT POINT to appreciate is that all these papers show a bias towards the government. They are both in order to survive and get some of the large amounts of Revenue that Govt. advertising gives. Therefore the reader MUST show a sense of proportion and a level of cynicism when reading as otherwise one can get absorbed by the lies or near lies which in the readers view becomes fact. There are NO papers of any significance that is anti-government which I believe is essential for checks and balances in a functioning democracy.
I therefore respectfully request the reader to suggest to friends and family that they read my blogs as both informative, but also one trying to balance the biased reporting of all other mainstream media in Sri Lanka. I have no issue if my blogs are termed anti-government or anti establishment!!! THANKS