By Nimal Bhareti –
I stopped buying the State newspapers Daily News and Sunday Observer several years ago. The reason is simple. It only contains Government. propaganda and is full of lies, half truths, and slander. Both these newspapers which maintained very high standards under private management during the regime of D.R. Wijewardena have now become gutter newspapers blowing the trumpet of the Government and attacking and even slandering those who oppose government views. The only sections worth reading are the feature pages. I now buy only the Daily Mirror and read the other papers online. Though the Island circulation is small, it is by far the best with articles of high quality. I read the Daily News only for feature articles and obituary notices. I never watch Rupavahini and ITN news which also contain only Govt. propaganda and lies. I also access through a proxy site the banned website ColomboTelegraph which contains articles of varied and very open views.
During the Presidential elections both the state newspapers and TV came down to its lowest level with massive propaganda for MR where they made attacks on the opposition candidate in a very vicious way and uttered blatant and distorted lies.and slander of the worst type. It reached such low depths that it was disgusting and revolting to watch the news even by accident. Both channels gave full prominence to the Government propaganda and full coverage to what looked like huge crowds at election meetings addressed by MR when everyone was aware that these crowds were not from the respective areas but imported from all parts of the island in hundreds of buses obviously fully gratis. We are sad and disappointed that the Elections Commissioner did not use his authority to stop this completely biased reporting by State TV.
I quote a few examples where the news was fully distorted without an iota of truth. The document shown by the former UNP Secretary Tissa Attanayake of a so called secret pact between Ranil and Mairipala, which was given prominence. It was strongly denied by both Ranil and Maithripala who maintained that it is is a forged document. Mention was also made of non-existent secret pacts between the UNP and TNA and Maithri and JHU which were all blatant lies. Gutter speakers like Wimal Weerawansa, Johnston and Rohitha spoke at press conferences on matters such as the defection of Hakeem and the Muslim Congress, pumping of huge funds by the Tamil diaspora, and other blatant lies all of which were shamelessly given prominence by these two TV channels. While prominence was given in both the press and TV to the few crossovers to the UPFA, no mention was made at all about those who pledged their support to Maithripala which totalled much more than the crossovers to the other side. This is the disgraceful behaviour of the State media during the entire election campaign. Even the so called talk shows in both channels unlike those in other TV channels are completely one sided and only intended to boost the Government
A word about the editor of the Daily News Rajpal Abeynayake which is in no way intended to be personal to him. Rajpal in his editorials uses gutter language sometimes bordering on vulgarity to attack others. This gutter language he uses also in a morning daily one hour radio show on SLBC called “People’s Power “which is disgusting to listen to, is full of lies, and personal attacks on individuals. It is absolute rubbish and only uses prime time of SLBC when many are driving while listening to music. Recently he called MP Bathiudeen who crossed over a pig. When Bathiudeen protested he apologised to pigs for comparing them with the MP. This is the type of newspaper editor Rajpal is.
So if any newspaper readers still foolishly buy the Daily News and Sunday Observer I request them stop buying it, boycott it completely, and switch to another more decent and unbiased newspaper. They can certainly read them online. If you’re watching Rupavahini or ITN news you’re wasting your time. Switch to any other news channel.
*The writer, a retired SLAS officer, is former Director General National Budget in the General Treasury