Fifth Column

14th May 2000

But, it's all on the Internet

Front Page|
Plus| Business| Sports|
Sports Plus| Mirror Magazine

The Sunday Times on the Web


My Dear Censor,

I thought I must write to you because you seem to be re-writing what everyone else writes, so much so that it is sometimes difficult to even imagine what was originally written. But anyway, that is the job Satellite has given you and you must do it to the best of your ability!

Tell me, Censor how do you arrive at these casualty figures? Is there a magic formula? Something like, for example, the real number of victims, divided by ten, twenty or thirty, whichever is less for the security forces and the real number of victims, multiplied by ten, twenty or thirty whichever is more, for the terrorists?

And how is it that, according to your figures we have been killing a dozen or so terrorists every day for the last ten years or more but we are still fighting this war? Are terrorists re-incarnated as terrorists, due to some Karma?

Then, tell me, Censor, how do you decide whether a news item is to be censored or not? The official definition is that anything harmful to national interest should be censored. But we know that maps of Sri Lanka have been censored and that the statement of the United Nations Secretary General has also been censored. Are you telling us that these are harmful to our national interest?

Then, Censor, why didn't you censor those stories on increasing salaries for Ministers and MPs? That is definitely harmful to our national interest and besides all the ministers and MPs would have thanked you if you censored that story because then no one would know about their little 'bonus'!

And then, Censor, what is this story about increasing cigarette and liquor prices? We are told it raises money for the war effort. Now, you are letting us in on a little secret, aren't you? All these years we didn't know that our alcoholics and smokers were funding the war? So, now you know how to win the war- get more people to smoke and booze, find more money for the war so that you could buy more equipment and win the war! It's really simple, isn't it?

And don't tell Velu will you, or he will think of something to stop that too! Censor, I was also amazed to hear the good professor announce that the Defence Levy has been raised by one per cent, again to find urgently needed money for the war just like some people pawning their jewellery to find money in an emergency!

But by all means, Censor I think you should have censored that story, because that will definitely make the government unpopular. After all, Censor, your job is to censor all stories that make the government unpopular, isn't it?

Anyway, Censor we know that yours is a thankless job because you have to go through every article, cartoon and television broadcast before they are published or broadcast. In a way it's a good thing that you are there because then you-know-who can't file cases of criminal defamation against editors because if anything is defamatory you- the loyal servant that you are- would have censored it anyway!

Also it must be terribly frustrating to know that even after all your hard work, the rest of the people know the truth because it is now readily available on the Internet and elsewhere and that your repeating lies over and over again in the belief that they will believe, has no effect at all!

Anyway, that's your job and we can only pity you for it!

Yours Truly,
Punchi Putha

PS- Censor, I strongly suspect that your greatest challenge lies ahead. What will you tell the people when you-know-who takes control of you-know-where when only a few days ago, the lady you-know-who has assured us that you-know-where will never fall into the hands of you-know-who and the general you-know-who was even boasting how he would recapture the other you-know- where, which recently fell into the hands of you-know-who! Let's see how you handle that one!

Index Page
Front Page
Sports Plus
Mirrror Magazine

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

Editorial/ Opinion Contents


Fifth Column Archive

Front Page| News/Comment| Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Business| Sports| Sports Plus| Mirror Magazine

Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to

The Sunday Times or to Information Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

Presented on the World Wide Web by Infomation Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

Hosted By LAcNet