Colonials, bourgeoisies and media dynasties : a case study of Sri Lankan media
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Linda BradyLinda Brady
Despite enjoying nearly two centuries of news media, Sri Lanka has been slow to adopt western liberalist concepts of free media, and the print medium which has been the dominant format of news has remained largely in the hands of a select few – essentially three major newspaper groups related to each other by blood or marriage. However the arrival of television and the change in electronic media ownership laws have enabled a number of ‘independent’ actors to enter the Sri Lankan media scene. The newcomers have thus been able to challenge the traditional and incestuous bourgeois hold on media control and agenda setting. This paper outlines the development of news media in Sri Lanka, and attempts to trace the changes in the media ownership and audience. It follows the development of media from the establishment of the first state-sanctioned newspaper to the budding FM radio stations that appear to have achieved the seemingly impossible – namely snatching media control from the Wijewardene, Senanayake, Jayawardene, Wickremasinghe, Bandaranaike bourgeoisie family nexus.