Thursday, July 14, 2011

The power of visual Media to affect change

We must note that visual media is a hugely important tool that can affect Governments and Countries and crosses borders. Note the recent Channel 4 documentary entitled "Killing Fields...." which was shown in the UK and later in Australia. We in Sri Lanka know the fallout and the reactions on both sides of the fence sparking immense debates about the rights and wrongs of the broadcast.

The problem is with the viewing public who are swayed by the visuals and are not willing to look behind some of the rationale and logic behind such broadcasts. With that in mind countries take decisions on knee jerk reactions. For example it is implied that certain Australian Cricketers have reservations on visiting Sri Lanka having viewed this. That is wholly inappropriate as they are either lily livered or been threatened or cajoled by money to make this step. What I mean is when one looks at the yet not accepted common practise in Australia of shooting and killing Aboriginal people for sport and the cruelty exacted on them pails in comparison to the sickening scenes of the acts of a few in the Sri Lanka Forces or Tamil Tigers, as both parties to the conflict have been equally brutal in their acts.

Using that example I am therefore implying that the visuals in 2011 seem to overpower the facts of history and legacy of war and violence throughout, and only seem to pick on the latest in isolation. Forgetting that this extract is merely a small incident in a world of mass grotesque violence, to which most races have had a hand in. Whilst I am against comparison of violence, and say brutality wherever it occurs needs to be investigated and punished, one must look at the overall picture without the parties to this intervening. In Sri Lanka case both the LTTE supporters such as the Diaspora and the Sri Lankan Army supporters in the form the of the current Government are hell bent on a huge campaign of misinformation to hoodwink the public, and by doing so clouding their complicity in this crime. Both should be punished and the govt. of Sri Lanka sadly is still around to take the accusation, where as the LTTE has disappeared and some of the Diaspora in these countries are also guilty of some of the massacres and killings but have not been identified due to the lack of the sincerity of the host governments, in ignoring the killers within their presence and trying to find those outside of their boundaries. I must emphasize again that the Government of Sri Lanka is tainted to a degree with crime as they should be held to a different standard than a terrorist outfit.

If we are able to better identify this issue in a manner of my explanation, whereas mine is quite amateurish in its explanation, the sentiments are nevertheless genuine and desirous of a genuine and  just resolution, so that the mud that still sticks and does not seem to go away is cleaned up once and for all, so that all communities in Sri Lanka can get on with their lives, realizing that many in the Diaspora, no matter what is told cannot erase the rationale for their existence no matter how hard they try to understand the real issues which they may appreciate only if they live long enough in Sri Lanka today.

This then goes back to the original theme of what I wanted to get clarity on, that it is important that those who have the power to show such powerful images that can affect people's thinking one way or another have a very important responsibility in acknowledging that what they may innocently do may affect peoples and community in a different and unsatisfactory way to what was originally intended.

In the rush to fame, money, influence, sensationalism, and ratings, the innocent protagonists may suffer the fallout and using the words "too bad" to explain away that fear is not good enough. It is contingent upon the broadcaster to take account of time lapse in order to judge if the viewing is timely or not. In this case it should have been aired soon after the end of the war and not at this stage when people are making great strides to mend fences and they are the sacrificial lambs the ones we need to protect. The implicated government seems quite easily able to discard this like water of a ducks back and in fact use it to their own ends by blaming it on a western and Diaspora inspired campaign against the country and rally the people of the country to further strengthen their grip on power. This latter act is the furthest that the producers intend, but nevertheless is the product of their tunnel vision.

The issue of National Reconciliation is a the biggest challenge facing Sri Lanka today if it is to get into the ranks of the first world and it seems that this sort of western inspired media spots make this objective that much harder when in fact they should be assisting us.

I am "A non partisan concerned citizen who is committed to peace in Sri Lanka for the long term and who believes the Government is is dictatorial and anti democratic in its dealing with this issue and many others."

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