Rupavahini ads don’t spare even dhamma discussions

On Esala poya day afternoon I was deeply absorbed in a TV panel discussion on dhamma on Rupavahini. A highly respected monk with a profound knowledge of the subject and a professor were among the panelists. When the discussion had come to the tail end and minutes before the conclusion, like a bolt from the blues, an advertisement was flashed across the screen putting the viewer off completely and causing utter annoyance. It was an ad. of a malted milk, the only one we, as tiny tots knew and has been a household name for nearly a century, perhaps more.

We televiewers get an overdose of ads, some touching the 130 decibel level, some with language that is considered vulgar in decent society and in media before and during every programme, even during news telecasts, which go on for at least for 45 minutes instead of the allocated 30 minutes except when a senior politico is on the TV. We are fed up with them but tolerate them because that is their main source of revenue. But this is now being abused so much that any interesting programme whether religious, educative or entertainment is disturbed at the will and pleasure of those in the TV, and more interesting the programme, greater the disturbance.

My question is why couldn’t those responsible wait for another few minutes without disturbing the viewer and insulting the learned members of the panel especially because it was a religious discussion on a very important poya day? Surely the market for this popular milk food would not have completely collapsed by such a delay. Wasn’t the dhamma discussion more important than the ad?

The public are well aware that bureaucrats are not at all sensitive to public criticism. This is clear from the loud silence on a matter raised by me over two months ago through the press with a more detailed comment by another reader on the letter. This is an idiotic act by a bureaucrat or a minion of the same SLRC who is equally insensitive to religious susceptibilities of Buddhists.

S. Abeywickrema