Saturday, June 08, 2013

Absurdities in public life

Life in this country sometimes resembles a farce.

Take for an instance the move by sections of the Government to ban cattle slaughter;  something that takes place while the Government itself is proudly supporting the leather and shoe industry. This industry is pampered with duty-protection and tax breaks to the point where badly-made local shoes are becoming an unaffordable luxury.

Take the apparition that is Prageeth Eknaligoda: he appears at various times to officials but immediately disappears the moment people ask questions. He's usually seen abroad and I think I have a picture of what they have seen.

The absurdities around this and the new code of media ethics are detailed here. Speaking on the new code, Minister Rambukwelle apparently said it was to promote responsibility in the media.

I just wish there was some way to promote responsibility amongst the ministers. Surely the examples above suffice to prove the need?

Some classic items from the code:

(b) contains criticism affecting foreign relations - The foreign ministry and policy is off limits. The Government will regularly denounce the West and other busybodies but this is a separate issue altogether, OK?

(d) contains anything obscene, defamatory, deliberate falsehood and suggestive innuendos and half truths or willful omissions - the key term is "suggestive innuendos" which probably means no analysis is possible.

(h) contains materials against the integrity of the Executive, Judiciary and Legislative - Lèse-majesté. Did the visit of the Thai premier inspire this?

11.3 The journalist shall not cause the people who caught up in emergencies or suffering a personal tragedy under any pressure to provide interviews or reveal information. - no interviews with victims? Anything unpleasant said will be assumed to have been made under pressure?

The best part is that this is a code, not a law. But adhere, unless you want a knock on the door from some Heavies with advice on how to improve your moral fibre.

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