Taking one of the most strongest stands a media publication has taken in recent times, the Daily Mirror, Sri Lanka’s most circulated English daily, circulated today carried a front page in ‘reverse’ with a message at the bottom stating “only true freedom of the press can change things around” in celebration of the world press freedom day.
Daily Mirrors readers were in for rude shock this morning when the paper arrived with the front page in reverse with one reader posting on Facebook saying that he “ran behind the paper man to tell him something was wrong”.
The stand comes in the wake of widespread media suppression by the Rajapaksa regime with clear instructions to media heads which include owners and editors to desist from publishing anything to do with the ruling family.
The stand against media suppression taken by the Daily Mirror is the second such visible and imagery stand taken by a print media institution after the Ravaya edition during the appointment of Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva under the Presidency of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranathunga.
Among many other instances of such stands, The Island newspaper, another leading English Daily, to this day refers to Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake as the “ousted” chief Justice instead of using the term “former” or “43rd Chief Justice”.
The Island Newspaper in all articles referring to the Former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, refers to him as ” General” to this day, in clear protest of the moves of the executive in court martialing Fonseka and the illegal impeachment of the Dr. Bandarnayake.
In its editorial the Daily Mirror also averred to the longstanding need for a vibrant journalistic culture among journalists.
“Firstly, we need to turn the searchlight inward and see what has happened to journalism here. It was once a vocation, then became a profession. But sadly, now it appears to be largely a case of by-lines or buy-lines and a business for personal gain or glory. That may be the reasons why veteran Editors believe that any training now should focus more on what is journalism than how to be a good journalists” the editorial said,
Taking a complete swipe at the ruling Rajapaksa regime the Editorial provided reasons for the suppression of the free media.
“In that spirit we could turn the searchlight on what is happening in our country. During the past nine years especially, media freedom has been suppressed to a large extent with some sections directly controlled by the Rajapaksa regime and others remotely controlled through billionaire businessmen who apparently give huge amounts of campaign funds to VVIPs in the ruling coalition”