By Priyath Liyanage
Black January had ended. Black media continues. Black media had protestors handing in petitions at their doorstep. Some tolerated the criticism while the others retaliated. We brand some organisations as black, then there must be white media too. While black media prevails, white media has been graciously going grey. Many shades of it.
In a free country, it is difficult to regulate freedom without boundaries. Four years had passed but the government did not see the need to dedicate substantial resources towards media reform. Releasing the state media and regulating the independent media were forgotten.
Yahapaalana way of balancing news was to use the state media to attack the critics of the regime. Civil society campaigners were appointed to administer these undemocratic institutions. State media continued to behave as before. Everyone forgot (counter) propaganda is not journalism. Black media was never mentioned. Few Januaries passed.
One Friday morning in October presidential coup and the taking over of the state media had suddenly changed the dynamics. Everything turned black. Civil Society state media heads rolled.
They reaped the fruits of not establishing public service media. There was no public owned broadcaster administered by professional journalists to tell the real story.
The campaigners, including former administrators and advisers had returned to campaign. ‘They’ are calling the ‘private media kettle’ black!
Promises to make public institutions out of state owned electronic and print media were ignored. There will be few more Blacker Januaries.
Nothing will change until opportunism is defeated by real political will to initiate radical steps towards integrity. There are many shades of dark grey before all of it turn Black!