Media and Election Policy Statement coverage
Posted on July 21st, 2015

Tissa Gunatilaka from Sydney

In democracy elections are considered as the cornerstone activity. Nations destiny can be changed with the choice of people via elections. Leaders will be replaced, new leaders will be appointed, new policies will be implemented through elections, therefore elections are considered as the point where people take the control of the nation.

In order to exercise their choice people should know where candidates and parties stand on public policy issues that steer nations into the future. The mass media takes the responsibility for providing this wisdom where people are be equipped with information about the public policy issues. The media has the burden of reporting comprehensively and truthfully what the candidates for office are stand for during the election time. Unless this duty, which is the key task of the media, is not appropriately fulfilled the meaning of the election is lost at its initiation.

On the other hand the media has a power of misguiding the people by not providing balance coverage on public policy issues announced by candidates during the election.  People depend on the mass media (newspapers, television etc.) for the updates where such announcements are day to day affairs during the election.

The respective media also has their political views on public policies due to which the coverage may not be entirely pure or independent.  They pump views over the broadcast according to their political alignment which clouds the ‘image’ comes to the people where the ability to steer the nation’s future actually lies. Some journalists and media they represent select the information to be reported based on their political biasness instead of reporting the actual policy statements made by the candidates.

The media coverage for Mahinda Rajapakse’s (MR) policy statements made on the stage is less than satisfactory. The significant policy statement regarding the economy where tea, rubber and paddy cultivators are guaranteed a record return for their products was not adequately covered in the media except by ‘Rivira’.  MR promised Rs.90 per kg of tea, Rs 350-380 for kg of rubber and a guaranteed minimum wage for government service as at Rs 25,000 per month. The present media situation does not provide a level playing field for both candidates or UNP and the collation.

People have right to know what they vote for especially what policies main candidates offer them. Therefore, it is the prime responsibility of the media to provide information as they come (in timely manner) from both directions with equal coverage.

Some media provides high quality images and audio for the coverage of one candidate or his party but with poor picture and audio quality for the other in the same news bulletin. This kind of media manipulations laughs at the people’s power which supposed to be supreme at any event.

Subha Pathum

Tissa Gunatilaka from Sydney

21st July 2016

2 Responses to “Media and Election Policy Statement coverage”

  1. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Tissa, Thank you for publishing your article on Lankaweb. We all can add comments. What you must understand is how the disinformation is twisted and presented on media. Who owns the media out let and how much do they get paid for creating it. I will give you an example: As soon as the election was over, Article writer MARCO, publish an article and stated “Can we Eat Asphalt” Meaning MR has built an infrastructure but what good is it if people cannot buy food? These people thought they can fool the general public.

  2. ranjit Says:

    Tissa you are truly correct when highlighting this bias media coverage by our various media outlets whether T.V. or News papers. From the day one when Sira become the President I stopped watching ITN and Rupavahini. There are thousands like me who did the same. Now others too has started to give a broad coverage to the Govt side rather than the Opposition and it’s not fair in my view. I am fed up of all this and I have stopped watching any T.V. channels except watching few Tele films. Lankaweb is helping me to know atleast some truth about politics of the day and the situation in the country. It’s enough rather than listening whole day to the lies and mudslinging of UNP traitors thru T.V.

    I hope and pray this situation will change on Aug 17th for good. I hope MR will not misuse the media or T.V. and give them free hand to write about the truth not lies to the people in day to day activities of the country and it’s people. Those who write lies and promote hate should be prosecuted and brought to justice. Some journalists are writing all garbage and lies to poison the people’s minds. Some are not qualified to be a Journalist and they act without any decency in front of respectable people in this country. In Westernized countries they respect each other and have faith in media because they talk,write on both sides views for people to know the truth and decide.

    I like to know the truth. I like a decent Govt with decent people. I like if every citizen in this country have their daily needs for a decent price and have good education,good health facilities,good schools,good jobs for educated sons and daughters without any political interference, freedom to write,walk and worship any religion they believe in etc. UNP is not capable of giving anything to our citizens except they will break the land and make enclaves like in Gaza and allow America,West and Indians to operate here as they wish and we Sinhalese have to live under Occupation and suffer like every other country destroyed by Americans and the west. Time has come to take action against the evil coup plotters.17th is a D Day for all of us. We need to free ourselves and the country from this evil trio Sira/Choura and Ranil. It’s a long and difficult fight but we should and must win it if not that’s the end of the road to Democracy in Sri Lanka.

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