We are told that the press is acting irresponsibly and hence the government seeks to revive the so-called Press Council. Pontius Pilate, when he confronted Jesus Christ, asked the question: "What is truth?" Surely, the government knows better than the press. Why then should we not accept the version of the truth put out by the government of the day? For 2000 years or so we had a king –we were not ruled by the plebeian. Democracy with its fundamental rights etc. is just a western fad not suitable for our culture. Any government is nothing but a collective of individuals exercising power. In George Orwell’s famous novel Nineteen Eighty Four it is said that there is only one version of truth and that is the ‘truth’ as enunciated by the government of the day and that explanations of recent events and earlier history have to be continually changed to meet Big Brother’s latest purpose. Previous explanations must disappear down ‘the memory hole’.
Some time ago some people prepared a draft Bill called Freedom of Information to be tabled in Parliament. It has rightly been relegated to the cold storage because there cannot be such a right in our culture. After all, we still face the enemy, the LTTE abroad. We have to forget what such Americans like John Adams said about liberty: "Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) We have to forget what Voltaire said about discovering the truth through the contest of rival ideas. Our feudal rulers did not go by such ridiculous ideas. They knew that the people or subjects were vassals who had to obey the dictates of the king or ruler. Intellectuals were always a nuisance to the rulers. It is alleged that ancient Chinese rightly exiled or killed those in a village who were cleverer than the others. They did not like clever subjects for they were likely trouble makers. The king could do no wrong, because he was god. Weren’t our famous rulers like Mahasen worshiped as a god or an incarnation of a god? Those educated persons who occupy high office have at last turned into sycophants like the old Nilames, subduing their independence, an independence which ought to be interpreted as insubordination. So, there can be no criticism. We must ask the Ministry of Truth for the truth and not read the newspapers. Those newspaper guys are supporters of the enemy—in our case the LTTE. Those who talk about human rights must be LTTE supporters. Did our forefathers ask for human rights? They learnt to pay obeisance to the king. Why are we not following their example?