Let’s talk about Media Racism on Sri Lanka
As Buddhists, we feel hurt & saddened at the manner mainstream media has been reporting on Sri Lanka. Every event is quickly turned into delivering headlines that specifically targets Buddhists & Buddhism and completely brainwashes the world against the majority populace in Sri Lanka. The owners, the paid journalists that carry the story, the editor who decides the headline & approves content are so hateful of Buddhists & Buddhism. Why? What have Buddhists or Buddhism done to them to be this vengeful with their pen? How can media be allowed to demonize a race & religion this way? When the Government & international bodies are clamping down on racism and going as far as to completely block social media, how fair is it for the print media to be allowed to publicly attack one party this way without an iota of evidence?
Take the headlines that have been relayed globally by mainstream media. Are these media fishing for catchy headlines to sell or are they truly serious about reporting truth & facts? We seriously have our doubts. Take each of the write ups and there is nothing factual except sensationalism which gets picked up by other media and after a few additional sensationalism is rotated as news once more. These are serious media ethic violations but then who can we raise objections with. It is apparent & clear that the global objective is to tarnish the image of Buddhists & Buddhism as Sri Lanka is geopolitically significant competition.
Reading below not a single would be able to grasp that the entire fracas arose from an isolated incident wherein 4 drunkards assaulted a truck driver for not allowing them to overtake him and the truck driver died after over 10 days in the intensive care.
It was secondary that the drunkards were all Muslim and the truck driver was a Sinhalese Buddhist. As everyone can see the drunkards did not drink because they were Muslim or the truck driver did not allow the drunkards to overtake him because he was Sinhala Buddhist! If Police had immediately arrested and charged the men with attack and murder and publicly stated this, there would have been no room for any mischief by any party.
Globe and Mail – Buddhist mobs sweep through Sri Lanka’s Muslim neighbourhoods
The writer Bharatha Mallawarchi makes a sweeping statement alleging that the mobs were Buddhist. How can he ascertain this? Did they wear t-shirts carrying ‘I am Buddhist’?
Reuters – Buddhist mobs target Sri Lanka’s Muslims despite state of emergency
By Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilalt – the article has nothing whatsoever about the incident & is plugging various other past news with the obvious objective of declaring Buddhists as guilty.
BBC – Sri Lanka struggles to curb Buddhist riots
Times of India – Buddhist mobs target Sri Lanka’s Muslims despite curfew https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/buddhist-mobs-target-sri-lankas-muslims-despite-state-of-emergency/articleshow/63200233.cms
Let it be reiterated that the people of the area, the victims who had their houses & properties destroyed and attacked are in unison to say that it was a pre-planned attack and they have openly pointed fingers at the Government & the police for inaction. Please listen to this Muslim cleric (in civilian clothing) He does not make one reference or accuse Sinhala Buddhists of being the attackers.
Let us also remind the world and media in particular that not one war has been waged by Buddhists on behalf of Buddhism which cannot be said of either Christianity & Islam. History is witness to how both these religions have waged wars in the name of their religion.
Let us also remind the world that Buddhism spread to Persia & Far East with millions of people embracing the teachings of Buddha not because a sword, missionaries or coercive tactics were used but purely because people found sense in the teachings and Buddhism could be scientifically proved. There were no requirement to indulge in myths, fairytales, mandatory rules & regulations and anyone could question and seek answers. Are these the factors that threatens others? Is this why a global campaign is out to denigrate Buddha’s teachings and ridicule the followers? We are also alert to how a subtle campaign is out to hijack Buddhas core teachings and repackage as being non-Buddhist. Mindfulness is one such attempt we notice is being promoted without any acknowledgement to Buddha. We really want to know why there is such a well-funded campaign lying in wait to use media to make sweeping generalizations and corner Buddhists into not defending their religion.
The plan may work with a lot of people but we would like to play straight and ask directly what it is that the anti-Buddhist and anti-Buddhism lobby find so hateful?
Whether it is the global media or even local media great pains are taken to pinpoint every blame to Sinhalese Buddhists. The 1964 Press Commission Report will reveal how media has been playing politics with communication. The unabashed lengths media owners, the editors and the journalists go to is shocking when extracts of this report is read. These are no exaggerations and come with examples and proof. A content analysis of present media outlets and the editorials and journalists will further reveal that the malady has not changed.
Press Commission Report 1964 – Some extracts http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2014/05/04/the-press-commission-report-1964-some-extracts-and-a-brief-commentary/
Denigration of Buddhism by Sri Lanka’s Mass Media – Commission of Inquiry urgently needed – http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2017/06/30/denigration-of-buddhism-by-sri-lankas-mass-media-commission-of-inquiry-urgently-needed/
Press Complaints Commission – Buddhism bashing in newspapers in Sri Lanka http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2014/06/24/press-complaints-commission-buddhism-bashing-in-newspapers-in-sri-lanka/
Sri Lanka needs a national media commission to steer journalistic ethics https://www.onlanka.com/news/sri-lanka-needs-a-national-media-commission-to-steer-journalistic-ethics.html
Is Sri Lanka’s Media promoting peace – https://www.onlanka.com/news/is-sri-lankas-media-promoting-peace.html
These are all violations of the Code of Professional Practice (Code of Ethics) of The Editors Guild of Sri Lanka and Free Media Movement adopted by the Sri Lanka Press Institute.
- 1 The media must take all reasonable care to report news and pictures accurately and without distortion.
- 3 A journalist shall not knowingly or wilfully promote communal or religious discord or violence.
Why is everyone against Sinhalese Buddhists – the West hates them because the West needs to use the minority tag to advance their agendas for which Tamils have been useful for 3 decades and now with the West’s pivot to Asia both Sri Lanka & Myanmar are being targeted with Islamic fundamentalists with media going on a crying campaign about Rohingyas without ascertaining the true facts on where Rohingyas actually belong to and not asking why these Muslim refugees are not taken in by Muslim majority countries, India hates Sinhala Buddhists because Tamils are key to advancing their agendas but none of the minorities seem to realize that all these external ‘friends’ are simply using the minorities to advance their own agendas.
It is only when the majority feel safe that they have the strength to protect the minorities. This is why all external forces are out to weaken the majority. In weakening the majority the foundation of the country is affected. We all know that none can rely on politicians and it is the politicians that have brought great damage to the nation with their irresponsible and power-hungry governance. The minorities of Sri Lanka bear witness to how the Sinhalese have protected them. King Senarath sent his envoy Attapattu to the North to fight the Portuguese and sacrificed his life in defending the land, the same King gave refuge to the Muslims who were being hounded & killed by both Portuguese & the Dutch. The present Muslims in Kandy are sons & daughters of those Muslims the Sinhala king helped resettle saving them from death & danger. In every riot that has had government backing it was the Sinhalese who provided safe haven, food and protection to the minorities July 1983 is one such example of many. Can the minorities please come out and admit this without allowing the media & vested parties to get away with their lies.
It is commended that many Muslims at least have realized the larger plan and the bigger picture. Perhaps it is one reason why social media was blocked. While social media allows free and unrestricted expression of opinion, it also enables people to counter lies and falsehoods which is not possible on print media for even right of replies are rarely entertained if it means a Sinhala Buddhist is trying to get the true story across. Even poya day supplements are now being used to contest the teachings of Buddha by non-Buddhist writers while a bevy of non-Buddhist regular writers are given columns to write what they like against Buddhists and there is no room for response. Now even the state print media is being used to convey the message by so-called historians who are indirectly asking all minorities to gang up against the Sinhala Buddhists!
There’s a political space that’s been left empty. The UNP has taken advantage of this, to a point. Let’s look at the mathematics of it: if you get the Sinhalese Christians, the Muslims, and the Tamils together”
When these truths are told openly and bravely, the response is to get some pseudo Sinhalese to call the messenger all sorts of names – racist, fundamentalist, extremist are generally terms that are thrashed across media to bury the message and prevent anyone from reading and understanding the message. This tactic has worked in the past but people are now waking up and realizing the truth. They are not suckers for lies any more. Anyone is welcome to tag people by name calling but they must come out and challenge where and which line racism prevails instead of indulging in a maligning campaign simply to hide the truth from the readers.
The public is advised to verify print media reports without accepting every story on print. Media is paid to only report not to claim to be the sole witness, judge, jury & executioner.
Shenali D Waduge