Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ceylon Today Editor reveals all – the circumstances of his axing

I reported on Saturday that these journalists were dreaming if they thought they had editorial independence. A letter has just been published on the circumstances of the editor’s dismissal by the Editor himself. He is still to be formally terminated, so he signs off today as the Editor of Ceylon Today in a bizarre twist. Nevertheless he states that the management had promised him editorial independence. Now to repeat what I said a few days ago, he needs to have his head examined if the principals he deals with know what independence is, let alone editorial freedom.

Anyway the circumstances are pretty lame. Put simply the management did not like his style and locked him out, without as much as a letter of dismissal. So there you are with him a further 5 called it quits and a new person has been put in his place.

I now ask the question! Is there any editorial independence in any newspaper be it a weekly or daily in Sri Lanka? There will be many an editor who thinks so until he or she is axed with the words the management does not like your style!!! So let us watch out to see who is next. Does that mean that these supposedly free editors are in fact yes men for the publications they represent and only present a viewpoint the owners of the paper wish them to? The only answer is a curt YES.

There are no self respecting editors who can tow an independent line. It is desperately important to have that independence today, when all freedoms are under severe threat, and likely to be further under fire, by a desperate government which wishes to plod on from one disaster to another. History will judge our newspaper editors of 2012 and 2013, a critical period in the reconciliation of a nation, nursing hope of a United stand to go forward as one without division.

An Editor’s role, especially one in the Sinhala Press is desperately needed. It has to be enlightened visionary and devoid of baggage. Most of the editors fall into this pit already with a lot of misguided notions of what they are supposed to do. They think their primary call is to sell as many papers as possible. That cannot be further from the truth, as only a truly independent editorial stance can guarantee that. I therefore appeal to reason and intellect of these fine people to ponder their future direction.

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