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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

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The role of National Newspapers

It was our privilege yesterday to highlight on our main pages a speech by ANCL Chairman Bandula Padmakumara, which puts the record straight on the actual state of affairs of this illustrious organization which is Lake House, referred to fondly and reverentially in Sinhala as the ‘Pattara Maha Gedera'.

The ANCL Chairman's New Year message to the employees of Lake House speaks for itself and we hardly need add anything to what he has presented to the public so lucidly and simply.

However, in view of the apparent confusion in some quarters on the role of National Newspapers and their true worth it would be in order, we believe, to dwell awhile on the character and role of the main newspapers published by Lake House and on the concept of a National Newspaper.

At the outset, it should be stated emphatically that we at ANCL take profound pride in working for the principal newspapers of ANCL, which embody and advocate the public interest. The newspapers of ANCL are, unswervingly obliged to work towards the interests of the people and the principal newspapers published by ANCL, including, of course, the ‘Daily News’, are focused on this task. This is the essence of a truly National Newspaper and although income and earnings are vitally important, our importance as a principal Lake House newspaper cannot be assessed entirely in terms of Rupees and cents. Our importance far transcends these monetary concerns. Our true importance resides in the crucial role we play in advocating and achieving the legitimate interests of the people. Hence, the aptness in describing newspapers, such as, the ‘Dinamina’, ‘Silumina’, ‘The Thinakaran’, ‘Varamanjari’, the ‘Sunday Observer’ and the ‘Daily News’ as National Newspapers in the true sense of that phrase. Accordingly, the success of the main publications of ANCL needs to be assessed, ideally, in terms of how effectively the public and even the national interest is advocated and achieved by them. In this respect, we cannot be faulted although we are occasionally at the receiving end of some brickbats thrown by unenlightened minds, who do not understand our functions.

Nevertheless, we know for a fact that ANCL's main publications are a ‘must read’ for the majority of the public because we give them the news and views which are of the utmost importance for the conduct of their lives.

Considering the foregoing, it could be said that our journalistic practice is synonymous with that highly important brand of journalism which is referred to as Development Journalism, which is, of course, vitally needed in a developing country such as ours. The Development Journalist, it must be clarified, does not merely mechanically record development related happenings and events of the country, but also comments insightfully on them and highlights as to how they positively impact the people. Needless to say, this is an illustrious and socially-important function and is usually at variance with those models of journalism which give pride of place to sensationalism and superficial thrills.

Our development function casts a heavy responsibility on us to be socially relevant always and to give pride of place to the national interest. This role we take on with a deep sense of gratification because it should be a matter of pride to the Fourth Estate to be a champion of the people's interests.

Accordingly, it is on how well we carry out these vital functions that our journalistic exertions need to be assessed. Considering that we are guided by the public interest our newspapers truly deserve the nomenclature, National Newspapers. On this basis, it could be said that our best judges are the public and not those vested interests who are seeking to undermine the national interest.

2012 - The Year of Humanity?

It has been a fervent belief of mine that a Nation should not be recognized only for its achievements but also for its compassion. This applies to the community of nations as well. When the eighth Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon commenced his tenure in early 2007, he brought with him his mission statement which is “promises should be made for the keeping”

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The Human Dimension

Your resolutions for 2012

Giving up a bad habit as a new year resolution often brings with it the kind of benefits you will notice both physically and mentally. It is best to start small on breaking vicious cycles – whether breaking a bad habit or introducing a new good habit. Some of us make a new year resolution to spend more time with loved ones, especially ones spending the evening of their lives in loneliness,

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Sri Lanka brimming with promise

Sri Lanka is a founding member of the Non Aligned Movement, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in Belgrade in September 2011. The aim of the NAM has been to work towards a more multi-polar world order. Our country continues to work towards this goal, particularly through organizations like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which was not so long ago the Shanghai 5 and we value the BRIC group, which became the BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa,

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Back to Basics

Predicting prediction for 2012

Having peace around you and within you will mean that you will have the time to reflect on conservatory ways to make the most of the resources and opportunities we have to reduce stress, be content and healthy. The Buddha word and all other religious leaders said, that would make each of us a person, mindful and caring. What more can we wish to be, than being content, healthy, mindful and caring of all beings and things around us,

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