did our media really come of age?
By Rajpal Abeynayake
Wags and media experts are arguing about what really brought Sri
Lankan media into the modern era. When did the media really come
of age? Was it with the Free Media Movement? Was it with the formation
of the Editors’ Guild? Was it with the formation of the Press
Complaints Commission, a self-regulatory body? Or even if all that's
not earthshaking to the skeptical -- was it with media persons being
given Awards of Excellence?
these were of course watershed events, and they signified the burgeoning
maturity of the local media no doubt, but wags may differ. When
the Sri Lankan media really came of age, they may say, is when they
started reporting sex scandals.
scandals in those days were the purview of the American or the European
newspapers, and while Bill Clinton got embroiled in girlie troubles
Sri Lankan newspapers were only carrying Reuter reports and thinking
"there is so much sex and scandal happening out there -- but
it only happens in developed countries.''
in their wildest dreams would have thought that the Sri Lankan media
would come into developed nation status, right out from the cold
as it were, and within such a short space of time. After all it
was the other day, almost, when we were watching Bill Clinton launching
attacks against Baghdad when the story of his whole steamy romp
with Monica Lewinsky broke out like a diaper rash.
then Rauff Hakeem came into the scene, and he proved that it does
not take many years for non-developed countries to catch up with
the developed nations, with right stuff the right attitude. Rauf
Hakeenm almost beat Clinton right of out the whole scandal stakes
almost because in his case there were allegations and counter allegations
and there were tapes which almost pushed the whole thing into the
realms and dimensions reminiscent of Watergate. Even common truisms
were turned on their head in this episode - "hell hath no fury
like a woman scorned'' they said at first and then it appeared as
if hell hath no fury like a woman conned….
unkind would say that this is when other potentates thought that
they better not be left behind in this eruption of sex scandals
that were bringing the media right into the rocket age. The kind
would say there is no scandal in the CJ's case.
you should have seen some newspapers reporting on this issue last
week, and you would think that Monica Leswinsky may herself be blushing
in whichever quarter of post sandal Nirvana she may be residing
saw some of the key sociologists who work on these matters, and
they all tell me that it is a nature of society that it needs a
new scandal genre, once such a society has all the corruption that
it could handle.
that figures. We have had our fill of money scandals, and we have
had a surfeit of abduction sandals and of impersonation and vote-rigging
scandals that it was only a mater of time before someone should
step into the void and offer us a good sex scandal. In that way,
it is all an anti climax as it were, and nobody should get any idea
about a double entendre there. The thing with the sex scandal is
that it necessarily involves third and fourth parties, and these
are mostly females who are of course unkindly referred to in America
as bimbos. We in Sri Lanka would never use such epithets - - - we
are more civilized about these matters of course.
as the French would say "Cherchez La Femme'' Those days we
used to look for the woman beneath the scandal. Now we look for
her right on the scandal's flipping surface.