BOYCOTT ANTI-BUDDHIST SRI LANKAN MEDIA flouting journalistic ethics and denigrating Buddhism & Buddhists
The only language that entities that survive and thrive on profits understands is when their profits dwindle and sales decrease. The Sri Lankan media has been on a very visible witch hunt against the Sinhala Buddhists & is all out to negate the place held by Buddhism promoting other religions instead. While previous years this endeavour has been subtly approached, of late they show no remorse or have no qualms about the manner they are attacking Sinhala Buddhists virtually 24x7. While right of replies are generally refused, the media stands guilty of purposely denying broadcasting/publishing as per ethnic ratio – 7 out of 10 are Sinhalese but even the Poya Day supplements of these newspapers, generally owned by non-Buddhists carry articles by Buddhist writers who enjoy denigrating Buddhism for payment or non-Buddhist writers ridiculing Buddhism. The latest is to use writers with pseudonyms to write. It is time Buddhists rose against this gutter journalism and stop buying the newspapers or prescribing to their magazines as a sign of protest until a formal apology is initiated and the Press Complaints Commission is formally presented a petition of the abuse of media freedom.
To prove the allegations made, all that anyone needs to do is prepare a content analysis of the Sri Lankan media (print & electronic) in particular the English media given that international readers pick up and quote from these articles, giving them a totally obscured and wrong view of Sinhalese & Buddhism.
With the entry of social media though they too are taking sweeping shots at Buddhists/Buddhism at least there is opportunity for people to defend and counter the lies.
There are some media websites operated by journalists living in self-exile in the UK probably well-funded by non-Buddhist foreign governments/lobby groups and entities who are paid to unseat the place of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
The gameplan is to make Buddhists feel ashamed, make them incapable of defending their people or their faith, mentally make them believe Buddhism is inferior to other religions and virtually to denationalize people from defending their nation and the values on which the country was built. Instead, what is being promoted is some liberal, material, valueless, culture-less, character-less, integrity-less, free-thinking, a dog for any dog approach to life and is the type of society now being laid out in Sri Lanka. We do not need to elaborate on the lack of integrity & character among those promoting these notions presently in Sri Lanka.
What needs to be clearly stated is that the media and the journalists are simply paid employees and they are part of a profit-making organization. Thus, other than reporting they have no role to play as police, the judge, the prosecutor or the judiciary. They can certainly debate but they have not been outsourced the role of deciding who is guilty, who is innocent, who should go to prison, who should not etc. There are people who are tasked and qualified for this job.
However, the biased nature of Sri Lanka’s media owned by non-Buddhists has a history that it cannot be proud of. The 1964 Press Commission Report is important for many reasons. Little has changed since then in the reporting.
The Report specifically refers to the ‘ Ceylon Daily Mirror ‘, ‘ Ceylon Observer ‘ and the Times of Ceylon ‘ as newspapers largely responsible for spreading the communal propaganda line that the minorities in this country were denied their due rights, and that they were treated as second class citizens.
Some extracts sums up beautifully the sad status quo:
” With regard to the English reading public, the impression has been created that the communal and religious minorities must get together and oppose the Sinhalese Buddhist majority if they are to get any rights at all. The point of view is put forward that the Sinhalese Buddhist majority is intolerant and is trying to deprive the minorities of their rights. As a matter of fact it is not so.'” (PCR para 46, pages 25 -26)
“The Lake House and the Times of Ceylon are chiefly responsible for the prevailing disunity of the various racial and religious groups living in this country. Their English language newspapers are primarily accountable for this. The Editorial staffs of those newspapers readily fall into line with the wishes of the management to fight for the preservation of the undue privileges that a certain class had obtained from foreign rulers. (PCR para 111, pages 55 -56).
“If these English language newspapers were sufficiently patriotic they could have made a very useful contribution to bringing about unity among the various communities after the country achieved its independence. They should have advised the minority groups to adapt themselves to the changing circumstances and exhorted the majority to be generous towards the former. They failed to do that. What they consistently did was to poison the minds of the minority groups and encourage them to fight to retain the unjust privileges they had received during the era of foreign domination.” (PCR para 112, page 56)
“The journalists manning the Sinhala language newspapers knew fully well that this policy was wrong and unpatriotic but they themselves were compelled to follow, though unwittingly, the same policy due to pressure exerted on them by the management” (PCR para 113, page 56)
On Virakesari : “Virakesari is owned and run by Indian nationals, and as such their purpose is to spread the idea of Indian domination of this country and condition the people”
On Thinakaran and Virakesari : ‘these papers are infecting the Tamil population with communalism, thus disrupting the unity of the Sinhalese and Tamil people. These papers should be properly controlled to enable us to play up national unity.’
Can the editors of the English newspapers provide a single editorial that has backed the Buddhist grievances or balanced coverage giving what issues the Buddhists have put forward? Even regarding the issue of Aluthgama did the media ever cover the harassment that the Buddhist temple and the Buddhist monks had been subject to, even throwing dead carcasses inside the temple & who threw the first stone?
Ven. Narada Thera’s comments are prophetic:
“In this Memorandum I wish to point out that a similar process of infiltration has been going on in this country (Ceylon) since independence was granted. The extent of the infiltration shows the danger with which we are faced. As a Bhikkhu I know what would happen to the Sangha if Catholics gain control of the State ”
“It is well known that Catholic Action controls the English newspapers. The two Managing Directors of the Times Group of newspapers are ardent Catholics. The Editorial Staff of their English newspapers are almost entirely Catholic. You will be most surprised to know the number of Christians and Catholics on the Editorial Staff of the ‘Daily News” and the “Observer”.
“As I mentioned earlier Catholic Action is always bent on creating social unrest and this they do through the newspapers by distorting facts and presenting news in a particular manner. The Catholic Church with Press support has opposed almost every national and progressive movement in this country. They were opposed to Free Education; to the use of Sinhalese as the Official Language; the teaching of Buddhism to Buddhist children in State Schools; and the use of National dress and Prohibition.”
Fast forward to the present times and the name calling promoted by the media has reached appalling heights.
The owners, the Board and the editors must really feel ashamed at how low they can stoop to. Here are some of the headings that have been used to understand the quality of journalism and the venom with which they display their hate
§ “Buddha’s disciples were never a horde of uncivilized beggars”
§ “Is BBS an existential threat to the Dharma” (people writing in pseudonyms and featured prominently in the main English daily newspapers in Sri Lanka)
§ “Gnanasara: Monster of Right Wing populism” See the manner that a thero is being called without any respect! Why is no one arguing against the contents of what he says instead of always targeting his behaviour? To be fair by the thero, he has not killed anyone. Why do these writers not write the same of Bishop Rayyappu Joseph who was openly canvassing for the LTTE and even opening LTTE offices? How many innocent people has LTTE killed over 30 years including Tamils?
§ “Kill the Buddha”
§ “Which Buddha, whose Buddhism”
§ “The Face of Buddhist Terror”
§ “Mahavamsa an insult to the Buddha”.
§ ‘Saving Sri Lanka from the Monkish Terror’ (Sunday Island) - . Buddhist monks were referred to as ‘mob of monks’, ‘marauding monks’, ‘monkish terror’ ‘monkish violence….represents evil incarnate’… ‘thug monks’, ‘these are the modern day Devadattas and Buddarakkithas who are out to destroy Buddhism’….‘delegation of saffron robed horrors’ ‘most revolting of all is the capitulation of the Mahanayake of the Malwatte chapter in the face of this unprecedented monkish thuggery’, ‘saffron robed barbarians’. The Malwatte Mahanayake is accused of ‘limp acquiescence’ and accused of turning himself ‘into a cipher’, ‘bhikku death squads’ ‘monkish anarchy’ and alleging that these Kudahapola balakaya have now become chief monks of their temples in an effort to align the monks being accused of ‘horrors’ as those that took part during JVP uprising. Does this not connote to inciting hate speech or is it only Buddhists who are to be guilty of hate speech?
§ ‘Why Gnanasara has to be dealt with’ (Sunday Island written under pseudonym) As the Asgiriya chapter in the press interview recently said, the behavior of Gnanasara thero is condoned but the contents he makes have substance and need to be investigated.
§ ‘Fascists’ in saffron robes? The rise of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist ultra-nationalists
§ Buddhist extremists attack innocent
§ Barbarism of Sinhala Buddhist extremist forces against Muslims
§ Bodu Bala Sena’s Thug Leader Gnanasara Thero Should be Flogged Publicly and Chased on the Road with Full Exposure on TV – by all means take Gnanasara thero to task but using contents of what he says not be calling him horrible names and indirectly attacking Buddhism.
§ Saving Sri Lanka from the Monkish Terror
§ Buddhist fanatics on the streets
§ Mad men of Dambulla
§ Buddhist Extremists Hope to Attain “NIBBANA” by Attacking Muslims, Mosques and Muslim Owned Businesses
§ Saffron robed destroyers of Sinhala-Buddhism (Island)
§ The ‘Mad Monk’ Phenomenon: BBS as the underside of Sinhala-Buddhism
§ In August 2012, then Justice Minister (and leader of the Muslim Congress) Rauf Hakeem at a meeting in Kalmunai had demanded President Rajapakse should defeat ‘yellow-robed terrorism’
Why is it that only Sinhala Buddhists are only put on the dock? How much of media coverage was given when the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas? What kind of media coverage was given when 25,000 Muslims rank amok in Bangladesh killing Buddhist monks, ransacking temples, destroying ancient artefacts or when the Museum in Maldives was attacked and Buddhist artefacts were destroyed? Were these Muslim gangs called names? The same media that enjoys christening Gnanasara thero in all types of derogatory terms are stoic silent about the child rapes by the Catholic Church? Is it not unthinkable that Church fathers have been raping thousands of children all over the world and the Church are defending the fathers in court cases instead of the victims!
The monopoly days are over. No longer does the print media command the same public attention that it did decades earlier. Social media whatever its faults has a platform for people to defend themselves and counter false allegations and fake news. It is more open and the liars get exposed easily and transparently.
Given that Sri Lanka’s population of 20million people of which 14.8million are Sinhalese, it is time Sri Lanka’s media was taught a lesson given that it is not disciplining itself and following the principles of journalistic ethics.
In buying papers that are anti-Buddhist we are only helping the anti-Buddhist cause. This must stop immediately. By boycotting, a clear message is being conveyed to the owners, the editors and the Boards of these papers that they are flouting their duty.
Therefore, Sinhala Buddhists whatever political party they belong to must boycott all anti-Buddhist media in any form until they function without bias and provide news in proportion to the ethnic ratio in the country.
Shenali D Waduge