The media has a responsibility
Posted on January 4th, 2012

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai

Our newspapers are preoccupied with three matters “”…” crimes, politicians and film actors “”…” all mean bad news.

Whenever you open the newspapers today, all what you read is about thefts, murders, crimes and misdeeds by the  politicians. When one keeps reading these crimes day in day out, one tends to get accustomed and desensitized to these crimes. On one hand when one is tempted to  do a wrong  thing, it does not feel  so horrible and the perpetrator feels as if it is the commonly done thing and that he can easily get away with it. The public too does not feel so horrified since they keep reading about it daily and when it happens in their own neighborhood, they take it lightly and would not take measures to stop it. This also induces a sense of melancholy  in the society that our society is bad.

But the truth is far from it. Srilankans are generally lovely people, they  are not criminals, many are pious god fearing  and want to do the correct thing; they are the  good Samaritans. This is the only country where if your car stops you can be hundred percent sure at least 10 people will come to your help though they do not know you at all. This is where the people smile at you even if you don’t know them. There is so much of good in this county  that our newspapers are  not enough to write about all of them.

However our mass media seems to believe that “good news is no news”. Far from the truth. We hear of the murder and mayhem caused by the past soldiers – actually committed by one in a thousand – daily but when do you hear of the good lives the rest of the thousands and thousands of the soldiers are leading? We keep hearing of the bad things of the politicians but isn’t there a single good thing that our  politician are  doing?

I read somewhere that when Lee Kwan wanted to reform Singapore one important rule he made  was to inform the mass media not to write about murders and crimes in the front page.  When we open the apes what stares at us is the horrible double murder, Heist of million rupees or  what The Minister did yesterday.

The mass media has a very large role to play in shaping the mentality of the masses. When one lives with good news one tends to live good life. One may think their paper my not sell if they do not portray all the villains to be “ƒ”¹…”the heroes of the day’ but I bet it will sell in millions if you play your cards carefully.

Let us rethink what sort of society  we are creating and what sort of role we are playing in moulding the future world  for our children.

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai

5 Responses to “The media has a responsibility”

  1. mjaya Says:

    Something sensible by the Director of Saudi funded Almuslimaath, but knowing her past its probably just a tactic to get back in to the reader’s good books.

    Anyway the media has another responsibility to expose the plight of people like Rizana Nawfeek.

    Also the media should be fair on issues such as letting both the Israelis and the Palestinians tell their side of the story.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    One day “Srilankans” are horrible. The next they are the most gentle.

    Politicians?

  3. cassandra Says:

    The good doctor makes a valid point – the media does indeed have a responsibility in this area, and it is not good for the public to be kept fed on a constant diet of bad news.

    It is interesting to note the trinity of unwelcome news which the writer says typically stares us in the face when we open the daily ‘papers. And how fascinating it is and to find included there “what the Minister did yesterday” alongside “the horrible double murder” and “Heist of a million rupees”!

  4. ranjit Says:

    She is correct.The media has a responsibilty. They think only how to get their commodity sell in the market. Millions are dying everyday in the world and Sri Lanka is no exception. Foreigner killed in a hotel should not be a headline. These things happen daily in other western countries. Media should give more attention to devlopment and good things happenning in the country than writing more crime related stories and about politicians.

    TV ads are disgraceful, Tele Dramas are worst no educational value at all. We should encourage more ” DORAMADALAWA” like live educational and worthy programmes to the masses to educate and become more religious society. We need bipartisan news without siding with political parties and their stooges. People should know the truth about what is happennning in our Motherland and beyond. Great news more value to the people than rubbish fairy tales and people will respect more towards media if that happens in the future.Let’s try.

  5. callistus Says:

    Mareena, are you a retired doctor. Why I am asking is because you seem to be having a lot of time to write in different newspapers on unrelated subjects. You have been brave enough to publish your address and telephone number on the internet. Don’t you get prank calls.

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