[Sri Lanka media landscape is dominated by pro establishment mainstream press]
Since the Communist party of Sri Lanka has blocked the distribution of newspaper Aththa (Truth) due to its critical content, the former editors of Aththa newspaper (3rd July 2013 to 9th November 2014) have decided to launch a new news paper. SLB publish the English translation of the editorial of the Aththa dated 3rd July 2013 in order to be informed of the purpose of the new paper. You can also visit www.aththa.lk to read the past issues of Aththa edited by former editorial staff.
The Translation of the new Äththa:
The Äththa newspaper launched in December 1964 revolutionized the newspaper industry in Sri Lanka for decades will come to you again.
Though Aththa was launched as a communist paper in the beginning, soon after its entry into the Sri Lankan political arena Äththa became a common platform for the progressive and democratic forces of the country
Today in our society there has arisen a need to understand what actually is happening in the country concerning many things. If we look at some examples: even though it is reported that there is a rapid economic development which has taken place in this country in the last couple of years, is this economy headed in the correct direction? If it is headed in the wrong direction what are its alternatives? What is the reason behind for the majority of the people to lead very harsh lives confronting drastic economic conditions and hardships? Why is the Gap between the rich and the poor increasing daily? Why isn’t there proper peaceful reconciliation despite the fact that the 30-year war had come to an end military vise? Instead of peace on what basis are the repressive fronts’ against religions and ethnic groups taking place? How come the law in Sri Lanka is in a limbo with the breakdown of the independence of the judiciary? How is it that the ways of the underworld is ruling in every inch of the state structure? Why do we feel that militarism is spreading to all aspects of society? And how has it become impossible for the general public to fulfill their basic needs without turning towards corruption and political patronage as means of obtaining their basic needs?
On other hand compared with other developing nations why is the labour productivity low in Sri Lanka? In short what are the reasons behind the degrading of discipline in the political and social spheres? How has Sri Lanka which was once considered an inspiration for upholding a humane society become a land internationally defamed for violating the rights of the disabled, women and children and to be considered an inhuman country.
Under such problematic circumstances the only pre-condition to understand what the truth really is, is to solve those issues. Nevertheless, today it has become an impossible task for people living in Sri Lanka to seek truth or to reveal the truth.
In this context there are a few journalists and media personnel who write fiercely with courage and persistence. We respect them and in this re-launching edition of the Äththa newspaper we wish those courageous journalist on their efforts and wish them more strength for their cause and action. At the same time we also wish they will contribute to Äththa’s struggle.
There are intelligent people in this society representing all classes and strata who have understood the challenges Sri Lanka is facing at present; repression of democracy and the democratic institutions, the intentional disregard to the rule of Law, collapse of the independence of the judiciary, the expansion of social injustices and challenges for ethnic, racial and religious harmony. Some of these intelligent people do come forward at instances against such repressive statuses when tense situations occur. Nevertheless most often, those struggles disappear with the cooling down of those tense situations either with temporary victories or defeats. However it fails to initiate a debate that would comprehensively look into solving these issues with a long lasting solution.
The debate that arose with the impeachment of the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka is a good example for this. There are debates taking place rising at times passively or at times strongly on the undermining of the independence of judiciary, making a mockery out of the rule of law and against the collapsing of the whole democratic political system of the country.
These days it seems as if forces against ethnic harmony and against ethnic and religious reconciliations are coming together. These are directed not only at hurdling the formation of a new means to obtain ethnic and religious justice but also in seizing rights which are guaranteed by the constitution. The police and land powers of the Provincial Council (PC) system is being used in context to fear the general public. There is a force rising and establishing against such strategies which has mainly sprung from the intelligent people of this polity.
So under such circumstances the need for a newspaper such as Aththa being crucial is unquestionable.
Äththa has no personal foes or friends. It is indomitable but not unbiased. It is biased towards democracy. Äththa is against dictatorship, authoritarianism, nepotism and corruption. If there is anything to be done to eradicate prejudice, misconception and to ensure pragmatism Äththa will definitely take it up and implement on it. One of the fundamental tasks of Äththa in a time when internal democracy is collapsing within prominent political parties and where authoritarian organizations are gradually rising in influence, is to contribute our utmost to address on the dire need of establishing a broad collation among the leftist forces of the country. Äththa will lobby as an open forum for the creation of a debate in order for the creation of such a united force.
Even before this newspaper was re-launched there was speculation in the society concerning Aththa. Many people asked whether it is true that the Aththa newspaper is going to be published again: “ Is it to blindly support (be a means of sucking up to) the government?” others questioned sarcastically. So here we would state that the Äththa newspaper would only support the public and work towards ethnic reconciliation and democracy: This is the answer we give to those speculators.