One temple, one bomb, and three lines of political narrative
Twenty years of civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and predominately Sinhala-Buddhist government forces has cost the tiny island nation of Sri Lanka an estimated 65,000 lives. But it was the 1998 Tiger attack on the country’s most venerated Buddhist shrine which struck the majority Sinhala-Buddhist population the hardest. The bombing of the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth Relic) resulted in unprecedented news coverage and in doing so exposed the inherent socio-political biases within the Sinhala media. Using the accepted standard that a newspaper’s front page presents the most newsworthy, alluring coverage and is the publication’s window, this paper examines the county’s three main stream Sinhala daily newspapers the Government owned Dinamina, and the independent Divayina and Lankadeepa.