For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Many may sing hosannas to the gods following a little celebrated local government poll in which the ruling party claimed a victory which was hailed by their supporters and media propagandists in familiarly superlative if now slightly wearying terms. But surely did an election claim such little interest among the general public in recent times as did this one?
Inability to be shocked
This time around too, we had Commissioner of Elections Dayananda Dissanayake, (besides quite amusingly characterizing this as a ‘pleasant election’), castigating government politicians for abusing state resources. Mr Dissanayake should conserve his energies and refrain from even making such statements when it is patently clear that he intends to do nothing about it.
A courageous and principled Commissioner of Elections would have acted very differently at a point long time ago. It is clear that there is neither courage nor principles involved here in any sense whatsoever. But it is also clear that the situation will not be very different even if we had an Elections Commission, given that its members would be appointed under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution on the President’s sole dictates with little effective intervention by a proverbially toothless Parliamentary Council.
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