The Media Center For National Security in 2010.
Next to the Colombo Swimming Club there’s a place called the Media Center For National Security. It’s about as dubious as it sounds. Now they’ve announced that they want to clear all SMS news alerts relating to national security. Which is de facto dubious, but they’re also slow.
Once I asked for permission to go on a boat. The Navy runs these boats for students up the Wellawatte canal and I just wanted to see, for a story on military tourism. Anyways, I asked a high-ranking Navy guy and he told me to ask the MCNS. I asked the MCNS and they asked me to ask Lakshman Hulugalle (the Director General). I asked him and he told me to send a fax. I sent a fax and they never got back to me, even after I called a few times. And this was to get on a boat.
I honestly don’t think they can keep up with the news cycle, and they shouldn’t be there anyways. There is actually an existing legal system to deal with such issues, and I think media houses are all too aware of the consequences. The MCNS is extraneous (at best) and dubious on a good day. I’ve been to their press briefings and it’s short eats and Kool-Aid. They don’t need to be between me and my misspelled SMS alerts. Though a copy editor should be, hint hint.
As an addition, the AFP and Reuters reports are using the word censor. I guess that is the right word. When I moderate comments or Facebook pages people have said that’s censorship, which is just dumb. Censorship applies to quasi-public spaces, not essentially private ones (ie, ones own blog or Facebook page). This has made me reluctant to use the term at all, but here it definitely applies. The government deffa wants to censor SMS news, or at least have the power to.