DID THE SRI LANKAN MEDIA FAIL THE PEOPLE?
The current situation in Sri Lanka, is very unpleasant. It is surprising that the mainstream media failed to see it coming. The Sunday Times has reported under the heading – ‘Battle lines being drawn between angry people and Govt.:
"The President’s Office claimed in an official statement, “It has been revealed that a group of organised extremists who were among the protesters near the Jubilee Post in Nugegoda had started a riot and created a violent situation. This group, carrying iron bars, clubs, and sticks, had provoked the protesters, and marched towards the President’s residence in Pangiriwatta in Mirihana, causing a riot. Many of those involved in this violent incident have been arrested and many have been identified as organised extremists. They had led the protest shouting the slogans; let’s create an Arab Spring in this country. Detainees have revealed that the riot was carried out using social media anonymously to provoke the people to destabilise the country.”
This may have happed as stated. But of value here is who they were? Were they Muslims or anti Muslims?
It is highly unlikely that majority in that protestors’ group would read The Sunday Times. They were more likely to have interpreted as per their circles in social media. Hence the temporary ban on social media by the government.
How does Media Freedom contribute to self-governance? When one is ‘free’ one expresses the Truth – as in confession in church. Where a senior cares about a junior as if the junior is part of oneself, the senior has insight into the junior’s truth. In terms of Protestors, to the extent they are self-governing, their expressions confirm Direct Democracy, as opposed to representative democracy. In terms of the citizen former is exponentially powerful, whilst the latter is relatively powerful. The latter’s power is limited to that of the elected representative s/he voted for.
The media’s freedom is limited to the level of self governance that that particular medium has realised. Those who publish their work through mainstream media often respond to those in power – for example the above mentioned report is based on those close to the President. There is very little ‘interpretation’ of the protests representing a self-governing lay person/group.While social media is unregulated – it is more freely available to the lay person. Mainstream media need and elected representatives need to ‘listen’ more and express less within social media groups as part of those groups. Then they would intuitively pick the minds of those at grassroots level through their truth. Truth being an independent power would spread itself as per the Common need.
Those to whom Sri Lanka is ‘home’ have this power of ongoing Natural Sharing with others as well as with their juniors who respect them ‘in a free environment’.