Denigration of Buddhism by Sri Lanka’s Mass Media – Commission of Inquiry urgently needed
Posted on June 30th, 2017

Shenali D Waduge

 Ever since the 1964 Press Commission Report that established beyond doubt the role of Sri Lanka’s media in denigrating Buddhism nothing much has changed.  The media has taken no steps to self-regulate itself while the Maha Sangha and the lay Buddhist Organizations have not exerted pressure on them to do so. The minorities have mastered the tactic of making demands and they have found that even asking for the unlikeliest of demands is likely to win them something from nothing! That is how minorities have managed to secure privileges beyond the ethnic proportion. Of course they are lucky for they have representation of many to defend them – Tamils automatically can appeal to Tamil Nadu/India, Muslims have cash-rich 50 Muslim majority countries while Christians/Catholics have the Church & the West. Where does that leave Sinhala Buddhists trying their utmost to defend the Buddhist heritage & history of the island? Marginalizing, ethnic-rifts, tensions are all aggravated by two sources – politicians and the media!

Media playing politics with communication.   

Editors are flouting their responsibility by entertaining people writing under pseudonyms (Vishwamitra / Notebook of Shani / Don Manu etc all writing to the Island & Daily Mirror, Sunday Times, Sunday Leader and the other mainstream newspapers both private and even Government owned) Are these articles not released after editors have approved them? A new low is the manner the media are denigrating the Maha Sangha.

These editors have to be held to account for articles that allow writers hiding behind a false name to use derogatory terms and address people in most unethical and disrespectful ways.

In a country with a 70% Sinhala Buddhist majority, it is sad that Buddhist opinion, their grievances, their rights and their endeavor to protect, preserve and promote the history and heritage of the island with a proud history of over 2600 years is being systematically squashed by political correctness, power of money generated via lobbying tied to minorities.

What needs to also be said is that while in general the majority & minorities get along and have none of the differences that media unfairly highlight with the other paid entities & their mouthpieces, it is the powers and influence and agendas of institutionalized & political religions & their representatives that are responsible for dividing people.

Religion has become an excellent tool to rally people towards extremism, gather funds, generate sensationalism and exert pressure on the political establishment of the country. The media helps turn the situation from bad to worse. These allegations need to be established with evidence and compiled into a report covering incidents relevant to the entire island in the manner that the media has flouted their duty.

Every time minorities raises an issue even false ones it is trumpeted and relayed 24×7 and the whole world storms to take action. Recall the manner EU & Non-EU envoys gathered at Dawatagaha mosque did the same envoys gather to apologize for attacking Muslims in their countries and didn’t the media keep mum and not challenge the hypocrisies! Even if a stone is thrown at a mosque or church the world rallies around and media joins in to sensationalize the incident which has all the possibilities of being a false flag or even self-staged!

But did media give the same media attention when 25,000 Muslims attacked Buddhists and Buddhist places of worship in Bangladesh or attacked the Museum in Maldives? It is time these actions and reporting were tabulated, instances where biased media coverage is put down in black and white with examples and every grievance is then presented to politicians for action. These politicians all of whom enter parliament and politics on the Sinhala vote must be told in no uncertain terms that they must function without bias or face the consequences of not getting the Sinhala votes in future. If minorities can make demands from politicians the majority must start doing the same.

Noteworthy & relevant to the discussion is the resolution made in February 2002 by the Lanka Bauddha Sanrakshana Sabhawa calling for a media commission.

  1. Uphold Article 9 of Chapter 2 of the Constitution of SL to foster & protect Buddha Sasana. State media to give proportionate representation to Buddhism, inquire into complaints made by Buddhist organizations & Buddhists, ensure management & editorial staff represent ratio of Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Review findings of 1964 Press Commission
  2. Establish a Media Review Committee to monitor & review publications, radio broadcasts, television programs & media institutions aiming to undermine Buddhism
  3. Appoint an Impartial Committee to inquire into attempts made by ‘Sunday Observer’ to publish an article (Jan 6, 2002) denigrating and ridiculing Buddhism and the Sacred Tooth Relic and questioning its authenticity & take punitive action against those found guilty
  4. Inaugurate a scheme providing better facilities & training to journalists who are committed towards upholding Article 9 of Chapter 2 of SL Constitution.

Be that as it may ever since the 1964 K D de Silva Press Commission Report the attacks against Buddhism & Buddhists have not only increased but have reached appalling heights.

In order for these allegations to have basis beyond pointing fingers it is opportune to commence a Public meeting of Buddhists held to raise public questions and work on a framework for action. The Commission must comprise not multicultural Buddhists but Buddhists who have an exemplary record in protecting and speaking on behalf of the Buddhists & the Buddhist identity of Sri Lanka.

Reconciliation cannot be one-sided it must also be reciprocated. Minorities must ask themselves for them to make such unfair demands do Buddhists minorities get the same privileges and treatments elsewhere? Can Buddhists make the same demands that minorities make and get in Muslim majority countries, in Vatican or pro-Christian countries? Look at how the Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka are claiming Sinhalese cant live in the North & Buddhist statues cannot be allowed in the North when clearly every archaeological sites & artefact found in the North are of Buddhist heritage!

The rights of the majority cannot be replaced by the minority. The history & heritage of the country cannot be expunged, re-written or replaced with new liberal failed slogans like multi-culturalism/multi-faith etc.

All that the majority are seeking is to preserve, protect and foster the Buddhist heritage, history and Buddhist identity of the island on which the country was built until it was ceded to colonial rulers.

The majority are not seeking ethno-religious ghetto areas, religious banking, religious labelling of food, unfair and opportunist demands. But, the majority does insist that Buddhist sacred sites and heritage areas must remain Buddhist and cannot become under the gavel of any multicultural rules. The rule of law must be applicable to all equally though minorities are seeking their cultures and customs as religious rights to supersede that of the country laws. That cannot be allowed.

Role of Buddhist organizations / the Maha Sangha

It is commendable that the Maha Sangha are finally coming out to make strong statements as has been historically done on the rule of law and the need to maintain the country’s historical identity. The country’s national identity is sine quo non for multicultural changes.

Buddhists must start to give a voice to Buddhist grievances. At least in the form of groups to respond proactively instead of being always on the defense. Challenge the lies, demand evidence for allegations, don’t feel shy and never allow name calling or ridiculing to silence the truth. Truth always wins the day therefore whatever odds the Sinhala Buddhists must now come out to air the wrongs being done to them and make demands. It is only when demands are made that Parliament and politicians also wake up and realize that they need to deliver to those that brought them to power. It is only then that the media also gets a well-deserved shake and becomes exposed too.

Shenali D Waduge – Rathnadeepa Janmabhumi late Pandit Amaradeva

5 Responses to “Denigration of Buddhism by Sri Lanka’s Mass Media – Commission of Inquiry urgently needed”

  1. Dilrook Says:

    Thank you Shenali for bringing this vital matter to public attention.

    The first step to get back Buddhist rights is to abolish executive presidency. In 1955 when the Buddhist Commission was appointed there was no executive president depending on religious minorities (30% today). As a result, it went ahead and recommendations were well received by the 1956 government. It cannot happen today as all presidents and aspiring presidents cannot antagonise religious minorities. Even talking about genuine majority grievances “hurt” these minorities!

    The 1998 Sinhala Commission is a case in point. Mangala Samaraweera said it belonged to the rubbish bin and that is where it ended up. He has been a senior minister under 3 presidents since 1994.

    This is the sad state of affairs today.

    We have to bring about a situation where the majority will be able to elect the national leader all by themselves. This was the case until 1982. Even with 58% of Sinhala support Mahinda failed to win the presidency. With only 40%, Sirisena won.

    Sinhalese have been misled by federalists that executive presidency is essential to keep the country in one piece. The contrary is true. EP is the biggest enabler of piecemeal Tamil Eelam. If there was no EP, the Supreme Court can dissolve a PC that violates the Constitution. In fact, if there was no EP, Vigneswaran, Najeeb and another chief minister would be punished for violating the law.

    In order to get back their rights (as we enjoyed before 1982), Sinhalese must first mobilise power to abolish executive presidency. Then we can form a government without having to depend on demanding minorities. It will also annul Sri Lanka’s international commitments to uphold 13A. All these commitments were made by executive presidents without the sanction of the people or parliament!

  2. Christie Says:

    Media relies on Advertising for its profits and survival.

    Indian colonial parasites run the economy of the country.

  3. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Sri Lanka is ruled today by the biggest traitor ever in the history of Sri Lanka, traitor chief die hard catholic token
    Buddhist Bay Gal Karaya Mega Thief Batalande Wadakaya pol pot r@nil wickramaSinhalakiller. His second in
    command is his catholic buddy john baas the minister of erection (permanent). Puppert maru sira is a mere rubber
    stamp. He has no saying in any of the matters. His only job is rubber stamping Batalande Wadakaya’s agenda. So is
    there any wonder the destruction of Buddhism, Sinhalese race and Sri Lanka going on unabated when these triator
    catholic-run UNPatriotics are at the helm.

    It is not surprising every time catholic run UNPatriotic party ruling Sri Lanka, destruction of Buddhism, murdering
    Sinhalese (Buddhists of course) and destruction of Sri Lanka go on at an alarming pace. While these going on they
    have always managed to keep the Sinhala modayas in the dark with the support of catholic run media in Sri Lanka.
    During the BHEESHANA SAMAYA catholic run UNPatriotic party got rid of 60,000+ Buddhists when they could’ve
    stopped it within 2 weeks like Sirima B did. Sirima B stopped it within 2 weeks, rounded up all the culprits and
    rehabilitated and released back to the society. UNPatriotics? They thought this as a very good opportunity to cull
    a sizable portion of Sinhala Buddhist population and prolonged it for 6 years. 60,000+ gone! Top catholic police
    guys/deshapaluwans were at it like there is no tomorrow. To date Sinhala modayas don’t know about the back
    ground this Sinhala cull! UNPatriotics even managed to fool the jaathidhrohee vermins’ party aka jvp and they
    go to bed with the very people who killed their brethren mercilessly, burnt alive in tyres etc. Can you just believe
    these Sinhala modayas?

    Then the catholic tigers of tamil drealam’s Sinhalese murdering project started. Again catholic run UNPatriotic party
    dragged it on for 30 long years saying the terrorists were too strong. They simply didn’t want to stop it since
    vast majority of the victims were Sinhalese. Traitor chief die hard catholic token Buddhist Bay Gal Karaya Mega
    Theif Batalande Wadakaya pol pot r@ni wickramaSinhalakiller even gave half the country to his catholic buddy
    hitler malapaharan on a plate. Still no catholic country in Sri Lanka! So he sent millennium city intelligent officers
    to the catholic tigers of tamil drealam’s bullet. Luckily for Buddhism, Sri Lanka and the Sinhalese, MR came and
    stopped so called invincible terrorists in no time. In the 30 years catholic run UNPatritoic party got rid of 100,000+
    Sinhlese. Another Sinhalese cull! Again Sinhala modayas didn’t realise. How lucky these UNPatriotics are?

    All staunchly catholic countries in the world, us, uk, france, germany, brasil, argentina, etc. etc. wanted MR’s blood
    for stopping the creation of a catholic country. Even archbishop two three of south africa was an ardent supporter
    of catholic tigers of tamil drealam. Convent educated sister jayalalitha from tn was also an ardent supporter. But
    Sinhala modayas couldn’t work out why? Sinhalayas called modayas for a reason of course!

    Now the catholic run UNPatriotic party wants to stop Kandya Perahara, rob Dambulla Temple of its proceedings,
    a number of Buddhist monks are in prison. Still Sinhala modayas chanting the mantra MR is a thief while the traitor
    YAMA PALLAN couldn’t find anything to substantiate these bogus claims. Sinhalaya famous for being modayas
    don’t need proof, they just see one bogus headline in the catholc run media in Sri Lanka accept it to be 100% true.
    In the meantime, destruction of Buddhism, Sri Lanka and Sinhalese race goes on unabated by the catholic run
    UNPatriotic party. Sri Lanka, the Sinhala modayas’ paradise!

  4. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    UNPatriotic party’s Sinhalese murdering, Sri Lanka destroying, Buddhism destryoing agenda!

  5. Dr.K Says:

    Yes, it should be requested by Maha Nayaka Theros too.

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