By Granville Perera –
Sri Lanka doles out media licenses based on political patronage. We have seen this being perfected by successive governments. The license holders provide the patronage to their political masters with absolute reverence that includes the current Yahapalanaya, which has doled out licenses for crossing over Parliamentarians. A long time player in this game is probably aiming to be the Maharaja of broadcasts with the continued blatant prostitution of Media. They have even staged self-inflicted violence to gain the sympathy of the masses. Their long-term ass kissing is their agenda to control politics and the Sri Lankan economy. As nationals of foreign origin, it would be impossible to take political leadership in Sri Lanka, so they have chosen the next best by doing it through proxy and dream of gaining control of the country and the economy through their political and media stooges. The airwaves are not anyone’s personal property, not even the Government’s to dole out to its stooges. They belong to the people and should be used to deliver development oriented free media culture. Media networks need to have integrity, honesty and respect. This People’s (not stooges) Channel needs to be monitored and checked before they place their lackeys at the highest level of governance through influence peddling using our airwaves.
In modern Sri Lanka as in many other global societies, the people who hold the levers of state power control the deployment of vast riches; every decision on the issuance of state mega project is worth billions to someone. The potential beneficiaries of these policies have every motive to influence the political destiny of the country. The Mahinda Rajapaksa dynasty perfected this influence peddling to make Sri Lanka one of the most corrupt, pushing our debt repayment levels closer to 100% of our GNP. The current Government is perfecting these corruption policies, mainly due to the ‘poverty’ that was inherited by its members in the 20 years in opposition. The usual strategy adopted is bribery through cash contributions or commissions, shares and positions of power in the entities to the immediate family, sexual bribes, intimidation and other forms of influence peddling. The Maharaja has chosen to do it through intimidation using the media, calling it exposures “We Report, You Decide” a line copied from FOX NEWS. Their political stooges are given wide exposure in their media network to gain political mileage and re-election.
The Maharaja has cleverly chosen to mislead the nation by portraying their media empire as a Sinhala Buddhist entity, bringing to the fore Buddhist mercenaries and priests who go around temples, doling out water tanks, water pipes, cement and paint to give the impression that the Sasanaya is being rescued by this media network. They also appease the Tamil militants and Tamil Diaspora through their Shakthi network and their chief anchor Sri Ranga of Minnel fame who has been deployed to attack their Tamil speaking political opponents. Who can forget that Sri Ranga was caught attempting to fix a political discussion in a live broadcast during the run up to the January 2015 elections? It is rumored that Rishad Bathiudeen, the Muslim maverick kicked the shit out of Sri Ranga at Temple Trees just prior to the Presidential Election in 2015 due to the attempted intimidation and carrying tales about of the All Ceylon Muslim Congress. They also have an atypical Buddhist priest, Battaramulle Seelaratne Thera who is given prime time news slots to comment on socio political issues that he is clueless about.
The well-invested media strategy to force the Government to bow down to the Maharaja dictates continues by showing successive governments as failed entities. They use approximately 30 to 40% of any News slot to highlight the failures of government by going to remote villages and exposing their poverty, giving a pittance to the poor and showing them as images of benevolence by the Maharaja.
While the general public will see these as generosity of the media network, their motive is to brainwash the hearts and minds of the poor to believe that anyone promoted politically by the Maharaja is to save the nation, thereby gaining control of the country and the economy.
This is not a new strategy. The “Maharaja” started this in the 70’s with Ranasinghe Premadasa, the then Minister of Housing and Construction allegedly being in their monthly payroll. Allegedly their Chief Finance Controller of the group, Ransi Gunasekera used to carry his briefcase with Rs.100,000/= in cash monthly (probably worth 10M or more in todays context) to Ranasinghe Premadasa who in return doled out huge contracts to the Maharaja’s Group. Ransi is still among the living and will certainly confirm should he be questioned by the FCID.
The same strategy was used to invest and promote his son Sajith Premadasa to the leadership of the United National Party and gain control of the country’s wealth by this mafia entity. They provided hundreds of millions for him to go around the country and dole out money as the savior of the Sasanaya and the poor. The little fox was smarter and kept Premadasa at bay so that young Premadasa will never see the high chair.
The Maharaja’s new strategy of using Parliament itself started about 10 years ago. They invested in promoting vulnerable characters as candidates through their media empire as well as providing financial support for campaign work. They expected to have 10 to 15 members in Parliament, who would become a force to be reckoned with in times of crisis in government. They wanted to be in a position of power where they could take over SLMC’s Asharff’s remote control to govern. This they achieved to a great extent from the 2005 and 2010 governments. They adopted the Rae’ Migel, Daval Daniel strategy. Outwardly they criticized the Government and inwardly slept with them.
In the 2015 Presidential Elections, they portrayed themselves as the darling of the Yahapalanaya campaign. They contributed heavily in cash and the media played a major role in unseating Mahinda. Yet, their hypocrisy was exposed when their pet Sri Ranga was caught live in “fixing” one of his Minnel programmes. That is how this media empire manipulated the masses of this country and took them to be idiots.
The King’s proxies in Sri Lankan politics include Sajith Premadasa, Milinda Moragoda, Faiser Mustapha, Buddhika Pathirana, Sri Ranga, Azad Sally, S M Marrikar, The Ranatunga Family, Susil Kindelpitiya and a number of their own staff.