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Op-Ed By A Young Journalist:
‘The Right To Information Act Is A Valuable Gift’

It can be hard to get a clear idea of the truth in Sri Lankan media when so many political agendas are at play. The local media have a clear duty, a young journalist writes.

13.11.2017  |  

“It seems that the courage to express one’s ideas has developed, just like the interest taken to tell known matters to others and bring about a change. Under the pretext of freedom of speech, many youth express their opinions and dare to publish news without knowing the facts; which is the reason a fact appears as a lie and a lie as reality. This is a serious criminal offence.

It is important that journalists believe it to be their moral duty to work towards dousing the flames of hatred.

Young groups who are bought by the politicians for paltry favours, lose their self-respect and dare to write in favour of respective politicians and against the others are causing confusion amongst the common people. The Right to Information Act is a valuable gift.

Even though it can be said that media freedom is prevalent to some extent, it cannot be taken as a situation favourable to carrying out the journalist’s profession better. Though the current regime is better than the previous one, usage of the word “good governance” with its deep meaning is unsuitable for this government.  Similarly, though, it seems there is media freedom today, although it is not broad enough for efficient journalism.

Politicians talk nicely about reconciliation among ethnic groups but with their frame of mind focused on the local government elections, they disseminate ethnic prejudice and wish to have the people distanced from each other. In a situation like this, journalists have a big responsibility.  Without inciting racial hatred just for excitement and business, it is important that journalists believe it to be their moral duty to work towards dousing the flames of hatred.

As a first step, Tamil speaking journalists should join hands and bring about reconciliation amongst the Tamil-speaking people.  Afterwards they should join with the Sinhalese-speaking journalists and strive to bring unity among all the races.  These should not be just in words.