Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Censorship, Disinformation & Murder of Journalists

Asian Age & Truth

London, 15 September 2000

".... in most cases the media present news and events in a manner that not only agrees with the views of the powerful, but actually supports their domination.... the maintenance of order is the key idea to be examined in the media...   in earlier times violence and the threat of physical force was used to maintain order. But today control is pursued through very different avenues; most effectively.... through �controlling the common sense�.... media often interpret and synthesise images in accord with the assumptions of the dominant ideology�..."(The Media, Framing, and the Internet - John Harrington)

Mr.S.Sivanayagam in the Letters Column of the Asian Age, 15 September 2000:

Sir, on September 12 your paper said 98 LTTE men die in Lanka. One week earlier you reported the death of 230 Tigers. Since I have all your reports on Sri Lanka on file I took the trouble to look into the issues of the previous months to find the figures of the LTTE killed as reported in your columns. Leaving out the single and double digits, you had given the following figures: 116 (May 31); 150 (May 23); and 458 rebels killed between April 27 and May 4 (your report of May 4). Totalling up all the figures, I find that you have told your readers that 1220 LTTE men have been killed within the four and a half months between May 1 and September 12 this year.

We live in a world of instant communication, and we in London are better acquainted with the ground situation in the north and east of Sri Lanka than those in the country's capital from where your reports emanate.

While not wishing to dispute figures as given in your paper, may I take the liberty (as one who has been in the journalistic field for 45 years), to suggest that you please adopt some safe journalistic norms while reporting. Instead of merely saying 98 killed and 230 killed, your sub-editors could either put the news within quotes, or source the information to the Sri Lankan government, such as, "230 Tigers killed, claims government."

Your readers might not be conscious of the fact that your correspondents and news agencies are merely passing on to you what the government tells them. They accept whatever you publish as authentic information that you provide them; hence, as a news paper of some standing it is your credibility that would be a stake. Truth being the first casualty in war, one would prefer that The Asian Age does not become the second casualty in the process.



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