An earnest appeal was made this week to all the journalists to be ethical and responsible writers, different from the present way of writing which appears to be politicised.
This call was made by Andrew Samuel, Executive Director, Community Development Services (CDE) at a 3-hour workshop for journalists held on Wednesday at Renuka City Hotel, Colombo on the topic “Development Journalism and labour migration: Wanted scribes who dare to be media sensitisation on labour migration for sustainable political, economic and social development”.
He invited all the scribes to be part of them and work for their good cause with the CDE offering sponsorship for journalists to visit various countries like Nepal or Bangladesh or in the sub-regions where there are lots of migration programmes happening, adding: “This is a great opportunity”.
He indicated that “we work at ground level, we know the migrant workers’ grievances and we can offer orientations on many aspects of migrant workers”. He said that they could assist the journalists to get their research done on relevant issues, for instance, talk to some migrant workers of their bitter experiences and grievances.
He said that the migration workers’ recruitment process is a huge mafia involved in corruption supposedly highly connected here and abroad at all levels.
The objective is to look through a new area called ‘Development Journalism. He indicated that when the government goes off the track, the journalists have a right to point out that the government is wrong. “We need to advocate the rights of migrant workers and we need to be activists on their behalf,” he pointed out.
Giving an example of unethical journalism, he said that earlier there was a programme on migration workers in the Southern Province, chaired by the Southern Province Governor. He said that at a big consultation in Galle the Governor changed her stance completely using very unparliamentarily language.
There were domestic migrant workers who came to talk about their problems in the destination countries and that was the point at which she changed her stance. When she left the venue, halfway, after a brief speech, a journalist quickly ran after her and asked “Madam, Madam mama mokakda liyanne. (Madam what am I going to write). “Mokakda liyanne, enna, mama kiyannam mokakda liyanne kiyala (What is to write, come I will tell you what to write”).
Mr. Samuel continued: “This is another brand of journalism as well and that is the kind of unethical journalism we do not want”
Ms. Madushika Lansakara, Senior National Programme Officer, Embassy of Switzerland to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, talking on the issue of granting voting rights for the Sri Lankan migrant workers, said that they should be grant this right as done by some countries for their migrant workers. She said that the minority groups in the country when voting could sway the election results and likewise if voting rights is granted to migrant workers, it could also create some influence on the election results. (Quintus)