Tag Archives: Lasantha Wickrematunge

BBC must return to Reithian values, says Bakewell

The BBC can only be saved by a rediscovery of the values that John Reith placed on public service broadcasting, Dame Joan Bakewell counselled at an event on Wednesday.

Bakewell warned that broadcasters have a responsibility to look back to the ethos of the ‘golden age’ of public service broadcasting of the 1960s in order to deal with the challenges presented by multiplying competition.

“At a time when so many other institutions, financial, parliamentary, are deeply flawed, the battered and tattered ideals of public service broadcasting survive. If a societal consciousness is creeping back into public affairs, then now is the time to celebrate public service broadcasting and see it flourish again,” she said.

Bakewell described Public Service Broadcasting as the ‘lynchpin’ of Britain’s culture and democracy and argued that it must have the courage of its own judgments in order to survive as the ‘bedrock on which the BBC’s worldwide reputation relies’.

Her reflections came in the form of the annual James Cameron Memorial Lecture, which she delivered to an audience made up of journalists and students at City University in London.

Gary Younge, the US-based Guardian reporter and columnist, was presented with the James Cameron Memorial Award for his reporting written with ‘passion and compassion’ in the run up to the election of Barack Obama.

Younge’s nod to Kanye West’s recent faux pas at the MTV Video Music Awards had the room in fits of giggles. “Beyonce was the greatest writer of all time,” he said.

Also posthumously honoured with a special award for those who fight to hold those in power to account was Sri Lankan editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was murdered in January. As editor of Sri Lanka’s Sunday Leader he was known as a forceful critic of the challengers to liberal democracy.

Wickrematunge wrote a ‘living obituary’ predicting his own death as a result of his work as a journalist shortly before his murder. Sonali Wickrematunge, Lasantha’s wife, said that the award would serve as ‘a beam of hope for those who continue to risk their life for the truth’.

Comment Is Free: Brother of murdered Sri Lankan newspaper editor speaks out

“The tremendous wave of worldwide emotion that has been created by his death has embarrassed this nation. Whether his death will bring the liberty enjoyed elsewhere to this island, or whether it will slip further into repression, is yet to be seen,” writes Lal Wickrematunge, brother of Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was murdered last month.

Full story at this link…

Guardian.co.uk: Murdered Sri Lankan journalist predicts death in posthumous editorial

In a posthumous editorial, murdered Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge foretells his own death and hints at how it will happen.

“When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me,” he wrote in the column, which was published just days after he was shot dead in the country’s capital, Colombo.

Full story at this link…