Free Speach, Right of Expression Create Platform for Dialogue.
Posted on February 18th, 2012

Prof. Hudson McLean

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Over the past fifteen years, scripts I have submitted have been patriotic, controversial, with the primary objective of creating an interactive Platform for Dialogue. It is always better to allow peoples opnion to “steam-out”, a form of catharsis, than bottling-in, then bursting-out with a cardiac arrest!
Said that, my personal opinion of HE Mahinda Rajapaksa is of the highest, the best “Peoples President” the Island has created. His outstanding achievement is the destruction of the LTTE Tamil Tiger Leadership and allowing Peace to Dawn in Sri Lanka. Following the peace & tranquility, the country is now on a path to prosperity, which cannot be achieved “in a day”. The Rajapaksa brothers, Basil, Gothabhaya have made an outstanding contribution in governance, and not forgetting the Statesman Speaker of the House.
Of course, there have been a few blunders on the way. But any man who does not blunder is closer to God or does not make any decisions. In the case of MR, HE has tried his utmost to achieve, create, a better Sri Lanka from a bombed-out State.
The purpose of submitting the Sunday Times Poll wasƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  to get an intelligent, productive response from a vast number of readers who subscribe to Lanka Web.
To make it clear, reproduction of a third-party published opnion, does not mean that the writer is in any way supports or condones it, but attempts to ferment a deeper balanced counter-opinion.
I expected many of the readership to “stand-up” give a rational opinion, like Sunil Mahattaya and Lorenzo.
Unfortunately another subscriber, got his “knickers in a twist” and started aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  barrage of verbal abuse and promptly went off-track, screaming in his UPPERS.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  However, we need all sorts of opinions, which make the theatre dynamic and more interesting!
As Christie pointed out, the results of a survey is based on the contributors and the readership, and their own agenda, an intelligent comment!
I sincerely hope that prior to respond to any headline, readers should give a balanced consideration to the content and its hidden values, and avoid personal attacks and abuse, thus lowering their own status, if any.
Several of the internet media, with comments on the Sinhala leadership, I have observed, allow the lowest of the gutter language, abuse, and unsavoury phrases, which not only portray the warped mentality of the subscribers as well as the undignified level of the Publisher.
Highest respect goes to the Editorial staff of LankaWeb who monitor the contributors carefully to maintain the Dignity & Respect of Journalism.
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14 Responses to “Free Speach, Right of Expression Create Platform for Dialogue.”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    We should all be EXTREMELY GRATEFUL to Lankaweb editors who work voluntarily spending their own time and money for the sake of the nation for the past 15 years. Even older than Tamilnet.

    We should make their task easier not difficult.

    May god bless the people behind Lankaweb for their services to the nation is noble and commendable.

    There are some clowns trying to disrupt things because they are stateless. Understandable.

  2. Wickrama Says:

    “It is always better to allow peoples opnion to “steam-out”, a form of catharsis, than bottling-in, then bursting-out with a cardiac arrest!”
    Then there is no need to lament about some people getting their ““knickers in a twist” and starting a barrage of verbal abuse and going off-track, screaming in UPPERS, because that is one form “steaming out” !!

  3. mjaya Says:

    Indeed Lankaweb has rendered an invaluable service to our country. I will never forget the time when the CFA was signed when any criticism of it was equated to racism. Lankaweb was one of the only places that allowed patriots to express themselves and criticize the traitorous CFA.

  4. nandimitra Says:

    Lanka web has certainly given a superb platform for discussion. Unfortunately the comments never leads to a proper intellectual dialog. As much as the rulers must be given credit for the good work done they also must be criticised for their deficiencies. The blatant corruption and mismanagement must be criticised but what usually happens is that those very blatant abuse is defended or ignored. Unfortunately no input into the system ever occurs. The 13th amendment is in the constitution , still there after 30 years in spite of the objection of the majority of the sinhala populace. The injustice of the 13th amendment is still there in the constitution which makes the Tamil demands legitimate.This shows the impotency of the Sinhala opinion and I attribute this firmly to the fact that honest criticism and pressure on the rulers is lacking in the sinhala community. Defence of the indefensible and sycophancy seams to be there characteristic feature . No wonder their opinion never matters.

  5. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    Agreed Professor H M that free speech and expression is part of a democratic process and that lately we have seen aspersions cast on individuals trying to get their points across in an open forum but there are limits, metes and bounds even in a democratic society that need to be respected and when there are long shadows of doubt cast by way of this democtratic process equating to contentious rhetoric about the leadership of a Nation which has truly liberated her people from the destruction which threatened the very cores of their existences. Consequently there are bound to be protestations and objections from those loyal to this concept. Unfortunately the quality of expression might not have been Shakespearean or of the highest ethical perspective but a point was being conveyed which had to do with loyalty and the moral of what was conveyed as objectionable irrespective of the freedoms of democratic expression demanded.It is also possible that your intent was misconstrued as pointing to being on the wrong side of the same loyalties refered to which is of course unfortunate where the Times of Ceylon poll is coinable with a nature of rabble rousing!

  6. desh Says:

    “my personal opinion of HE Mahinda Rajapaksa is of the highest, the best “Peoples President” the Island has created” you say, Hudson, but I don’t really know now, as he just can’t run the country in peacetime…

  7. NeelaMahaYoda Says:

    Desh ! we know that, but who’s going to replace him. There is no one. If you think UNP and JVP can, then forget it, it would be suicidal for the average man in the street and end of all reconstruction work commenced by the government. Only the option we can have now, is to get MR to listen to the public opinion, listen to the hearts of the nation. Unfortunately, the feed back we received from Sri Lanka is frightening, MR is loosing ground rapidly, day by day, because of the recent blunder made on fuel price. At this vital stage of development, we can not afford to increase the petrol, diesel and kerosene prices at a rate considered to be much higher than the Market Price (Ref Singapore Market). This will inevitably shatter the whole economic equilibrium the government has ben maintaining and unavoidably cause adverse ripple effects to the inflation and pricing structure. God save Sri Lanka

  8. Sunil Mahattaya Says:

    Any suggestions about running a country of 20 million plus inhabitants, occupying 25000 square miles with no real Gross National Product or GDP and no self sufficiency or export power in any commodity? A country with a high literacy rate and many educated unemployed some of whom take to politics as an alternative and spread their cockamanie, revolution based Maoist crap to further compound the woes of the nation alongside a minority ethnic community demanding devolution rights through political infiltration when subversive means failed? Find the solution, compile an instruction booklet and present it to the President and his administration who have achieved the near impossible in ridding the nation of dangerous destructive human vermin and having done this are being dragged down by the myopic interpretations of some, both within and without the country who are too cross eyed, self opinionated, blinkered and obviously power motivated to envision and accept the realities facing the leadership of the nation where they and none other are the greast impediment to the progress even in some small measure being done at the present.If fuel oil prices are hiked for an objective, they are being subsidised for the needs of the essential services and related consumers who despite this do not accept it and prefer to create national unrest on the flimsiest of issues.The only aberration of the norm for which the President may be held accountable for is the size of his lopsided cabinet and the patronage offered to associates, family and friends which despite being seemingly incongruous may have a nethod to its madness. The crunch in the consumer needs environment is linkable to the world economy where the means to counter it relative to the local environment is daunting and at times burgeoning but how many Sri lankans realise and accept this? All they do is bicker. In the face of all that has transpired since the 26 year long insurgency ended it needs to be admitted that Sri lanka’s progress into the 21st century seems to be an admirable one bar the disgruntlements of some who will not be content through their own incapacity to comprehend the state of the Nation as being one headed towards prosperity, peace and an unprecedented growth but these are individuals who will not be content with what a majority of the nation recognises as positive inroads into the nation’s woes!

  9. Raj Says:

    Thank you Prof Hudson for your interesting and supportive articles. Thanks to Lankaweb team for providing this opportunity for debate and expressing views. However there are a few, only a few, who could be more articulate and avoid unacceptable language.
    Desh, MR is running the country very well. Sri Lanka is not a country like any western country, where people understand the difficulties the government faces. For example the petrol prices in the UK (with their own North sea oil), is equivalent to 254 Sl rupees a litre. The public understands why it is so. The general public don’t make unreasonable demands and take to streets in other countries. Also the general public in other countries do not expect the government to solve all their problems. For example they don’t come out to demonstrate demanding jobs, wages, price cuts etc. Also the so called opposition politicians,who are opportunists can only criticise the government, and never (ever) care to commend. Their main aim is to ‘bring down the government’ as if they can do better governance. Ranil used to be a decent politician, although he couldn’t do much, but now, he is just the same as the bankrupt JVP bunch.
    HE is also a human being, and a caring one, and he cannot entirely be immune to depressed state of mind. fortunately he has a supportive intelligent and plucky family to share a shoulder to cry on. That is the blessing of the sri lankan nation. Is there any other leader who could have survived to continue the fight with the LTTE, on the day 500 soldiers were killed in one single battle, and in addition the opposition rubbing hands with glee.

  10. DrPadmaWijesekara Says:

    Dear Raj;
    Petrol/Diesel pricing structure is not that simple. In UK prices of diesel and petrol are set by various oil production companies like BP, ESSO or TOTAL. Higher prices are due to extremely high taxes imposed on each litre of petrol/diesel sold. Recent price increase in UK was due fluctuating crude oil price plus recently introduced tax increase.
    But in Sri Lanka, the prices are set by the government. It is true that price of crude oil is increasing recently, Crude oil price on the 31st January 2012 Bench Mark Brent Crude was US$110 per barrel and on the 16th February 31 Bench Mark Brent Crude US$121
    ( However, that should not change the pricing structure so drastically.
    In the international market, the different oil products such as petrol and diesel are bought and sold in their own market conditions.
    Each market is typically regionally-based and there are linkages and transactions between regional markets.
    Prices in regional markets reflect the supply and demand balance in each market and the physical characteristics and quality of each commodity.
    Prices in regional markets can be volatile and can move in different directions from each other.
    Sri Lanka’s nearest spot market is located in Singapore. According to Singapore market data, January FOB Price of Diesel is 3.98 S$/US gallon i.e. 373.88 LKR/gallon 98.79 LKR per litre and Gasoline Regular FOB Price is 3.50 S$ per gallon 328.79 LKR/US gallon 86.86 LKR/litre (
    Sri Lankans can not pay that much high tax on vital commodities like petrol and diesel. As Neelamahayoda says At this vital stage of development, we can not afford to increase the petrol, diesel and kerosene prices at a rate considered to be much higher than the Market Price (Ref Singapore Market). This will inevitably shatter the whole economic equilibrium the government has ben maintaining and unavoidably cause adverse ripple effects to the inflation and pricing structure

  11. Dilrook Says:

    The government is not solely responsible for the oil price hike which is partly due to unrest in the Middle East.

    However, one good thing from this is to bring the government to its senses as it is not so popular today. Anymore anti-people policies (devolution, power sharing with TNA, imposing languages of no use on the people, disparities in developing the north and the south and 13P) can tip the balance in favour of a premature collapse of the government.

    Wary of this fact, the government must not aggravate the situation.

    Contrary to what Paki Saravanamuttu said, now people will defeat whatever political solution by the government because it is so unpopular. May be it is not a bad idea to put the 13A, 13P, devolution nonsense of India and USA to a referendum and the world can see how people tear it apart.

  12. Dilrook Says:

    The cost of a referendum is much less than the cost of running one provincial council for a year. We have 9 of them for the past 24 years.

  13. Ibnu Ahmad Says:

    Freedom of expression, freedom of religion to practice and propagate, media freedom – really take role in the progress of a nation in certain part. Really lanakweb do good job in these matters.

  14. Fran Diaz Says:

    First, our thanks to Prof. for his many years of effort to expose important facts and write on topics of current interest, all done with finesse and humour.
    Our sincere thanks to Lankaweb too !

    Lowering the Cost of Living is our 2nd War (after war with ltte), and it may go on for some time. Some possible solutions to lower the Cost of Living, since that is the burning issue of the day. :

    * Short term monetary relief must be given immediately to all vulnerable sectors in society. Those earning salaries below a certain amount should receive special govt. aid for Food & Transport. Something like Food Stamps or Transport Stamps be issued here ?

    * GoSL should set up a special COST OF LIVING RELIEF FUND specially to mitigate price increases in Food & Transport. GoSL has to set the tone of Sacrifice through measures such as some voluntary salary cuts by MPs. Monies from salary cuts, forgoing of perks, etc. could go into the CoL RELIEF FUND. A sense of PATRIOTISM and sacrifice by all is possible only if the Leaders & the Wealthy to do the same. Whatever GoSL does to mitigate CoL must be made highly visible on a daily basis. For instance, the CoL RELIEF FUND amount and efforts must be made visible through all possible media, preferably with who sacrificed/gave, with amount. If done sincerely, the People too would be willing to make their sacrifices. PATRIOTISM will follow.

    In the long term, such a move would pay for itself in Goodwill toward GoSL and Peace in the country. And the wayward Joint Opposition (UNP/JVP/TNA) would have no cause for upheaval.

    * The other important item is to stop any Corruption and mis-spending by GoSL, anywhere in Lanka. Make known to the People what has been done to achieve this goal.

    * As a longer term side issue to Development, bring in English as a strong link language and ‘level out the playing field’ for jobs (local & international), & communication, both local and international. This is best done all over Lanka, through GoSL.

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