Citizens' Mail | Daily News

Citizens' Mail

What Sri Lanka requires right now

My feature article that appeared in the Ceylon Daily News of July 3, 1969, highlighted the elements of development. It entails widespread social changes and confronts society with different tasks imagining old values.

In this sense, our heads of missions are expected to act as public relations executives on behalf of the country and promote its image.

Today in this globalized and interdependent world, no country can live alone. Trade, sports and tourism work as a two-way flow of communication carrying the message of goodwill and friendship. It also works as an avenue for revenue. The foreign policy works as an extension of the national policy in the interests of the country. When it goes out of the country, its integrated nature mixes up with the overseas policies. That is why diplomacy is needed.

The process of external communication/information must be viewed as an essential function for the maintenance of a positive relationship between the governments and other countries. If such an organisation is to serve more effectively, it should be adequately supported by the people’s representation. Firstly the functions of the organisation need to understand its problems, and its importance must be appreciated.

A new public relation effort is needed for an organisation to communicate and disseminate information. It will modify attitudes and build up the image. It is now revealed that an external information system, operationalized as one way of communication, has been designed to enlist support and exclude information which may have negative implications. Some may be classified information too.

The creation of professional bureaucratic forms of organisation has been a major factor leading to the construction of the external communication process from a position which ideally would promote the one-way dialogue. The basic problem appears to be based on the public suspicion of the world propaganda. This is merely because it is disseminated from the government. The image can also be promoted to investment trade tourism. This could be achieved by narrowcasting and broadcasting the media as well. To give an effective push to these fields, the government information materials and printed material are required.

A public relations programme requires direction. Without recognition and acceptance of the concept of public relations, coordination and evaluation of PR activity cannot be planned. Without leadership, the present haphazard approach to PR will remain unchanged. The responsibility of administration for obtaining support for the accepted purpose should be recognised. It should be in a continuous, planned nature. It tends to produce a mutual understanding and respect. Sporadic publicity smacks of propaganda may lead to distrust.

To create a harmony of understanding, goodwill and peace what is required is a coordinated effort to establish firm relations with media. Aristotle posed this question many centuries ago. The environment is complex and man’s political capacity is simple. Can a bridge be built between them? The foundation stones of Aristotle’s bridge are clear: informative, candid, and continuous and planned communication by the government and from the people to the people.

The media is expected to bridge the gap between the people and the government. However, the news is people. They decide. The politicians should sound their voice as people’s representatives.

H. K. Peiris


Lessons our politicians can learn from India

At the recent general elections in India Narendra Modi was elected as the Prime Minister for the second time.

He was re-elected as he did a very good job as the Prime Minister.

He maintained political stability in India. During his period the security arrangements were excellent. The growth rate was good. The economy of the country was positive and successful. Foreign policy was very good. He improved the industries and the agriculture sector. He maintains ethnic and religious harmony.

Narendra Modi brought corruption under control. He has a national policy for every subject like education, tourism, industries, etc.

Narendra Modi loves his country. He did not allow politicians to unnecessarily interfere with affairs of government departments.

How many of these various important subjects have our politicians successfully handled? Our politicians have a lot to learn from Narendra Modi and India.

D. Weeratunga


Admirable past and deplorable situation

In some countries, there are terrorists and extremists belonging to different sects, groups, communities and religions. The governments of those countries do take action to curb or totally root out them though sadly or mostly unsuccessfully. The sole aim of the terrorists is to terrorise their countries and also if the need arises to other nations.

Terrorists have no heads to think or hearts to melt. Handling bombs, guns or other dangerous weapons are their culture. They do not care for the lives of their countrymen and children, their own families or their dear or near ones. Their one and only policy is mass killing. In a way, they are bloodthirsty. They expect the destruction of human life, private and public properties. Whatever their struggle it has been often crushed by their government.

As far as our country is concerned we too had and have terrorists in all three communities of ours. Namely, the JVP its members being the Sinhalese island-wide with a handful of Muslims as well. The LTTE mainly of the Northern Tamils with a very few Sinhalese having a hand with them. Now the ISIS of the Muslims whose active members are said to be around 160 or so.

The JVP was brought under control and the LTTE destroyed. The current cruel ISIS is suppressed by the swift actions taken by the Police and the Security Forces. Its leaders committed suicide to achieve their goals.

The JVP committed murders and did the Sinhala community retaliate? The LTTE chased away the Muslims from Jaffna and did the Muslims from their majority areas did the same to the few Tamils who were in their locality?

The LTTE shot dead nearly 300 Muslims praying in the mosque and did the Muslims harm the Tamils? The LTTE killed innocent Sinhala villagers in their hundreds including the ‘Samaneras’ and did the Sinhalese attack the Tamils in retaliation? Negative the answer for all the questions, of course, with new sporadic trivial incidents that occurred. Though the cause of the 1983 rage was quite different.

But then why are the innocent Muslims considered as ISIS members and are attacked and their properties damaged and in some instances looted their valuables?

The Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has been often requesting and advising those affected and others to be peaceful without getting involved in criminal activities. Sensible leaders of different beliefs too have appealed to be calm.

After all, it appears teaching and preaching will not be effective at all if there is ‘racism’ in one’s blood.

Sri Lanka is a country in which every citizen wishes to live in peace and harmony. The peace would have gone into pieces and brought agony to the Muslims if not for His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who made an incredible speech immediately after the bombs blasted.

Last but not the least, the President with the support of the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader and the Security Forces and Police together should eradicate the ISIS group from our country. ISIS has disturbed our Muslims’ peaceful living with our fellow citizens very badly.

Nazly Cassim
Colombo 13


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