Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Journalists in Sri Lanka are up in arms over a government announcement, made last November, which stated that any website which covers Sri Lankan affairs would need to seek registration. This snap decision came days after it barred a number of sites which had been openly critical of its policies and the president.
Media ministry secretary W B Ganegala said last week that of 100 applications received since then, only 50 have been approved.
However, he dismissed the journalists’ claims that the rejections were politically motivated and insisted they were made for administrative reasons. “The applications did not contain important information that the ministry needs,” he said.
But he added that “news websites should be fair in their reporting and should not sling mud at individuals.”
Keerthi Tennakoon, who runs a web site named lankafreedom, has called for clarification on several aspects. “There is no formal procedure for registering a site, nor is there the legal framework for the authorities to ban a site,” he said. “There should be more flexibility and an independent body to monitor this.”
The Sri Lanka Guardian newspaper was one of the sites to be blocked within Sri Lanka in last November’s clampdown, although it can still be viewed overseas.
“The government banned it without notice and introduced registrations a few days later,” said its editor, N Ilangamuwa.
Readers within Sri Lanka can only access the site through a proxy, which has badly affected its circulation. “According to our figures, there were more than five hundred thousand people visiting the site before the ban but since then the readership has gone down constantly,” he said.
The main opposition party has joined the media workers in criticizing the government’s insistence on registration. Its general secretary, Tissa Attanayake, has urged the authorities to defend and preserve media freedom.
According to the annual World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, Sri Lanka was ranked 163rd of 178 countries in 2011, down from 158th in 2010.
Sri Lanka: Colombo says it is considering striking tamil organizations from own watchlist.