In contrast to Donald Trump’s war cry about “fake news”, a humble Barack Obama emphasized in one of his speeches to the African leaders that “good governance means everybody has a voice, that government is transparent and, thereby, accountable. And even though leaders don’t always like it, the media plays a crucial role in assuring people that they have the proper information to evaluate the policies that their leaders are pursuing.”
Unfortunately for us in Sri Lanka we’ve got camps of journalists, many of them not being a critical art of civil society respecting the right of the people to receive unbiased news. They’re in the business of cashing in sensational news. While Governments have respect the right of journalists to practice their trade as a critical part of civil society and a critical part of any democratic norm, journalists and news corporates need to reciprocate.
Obama draws a connection between good governance and economic development. He said that “More and more countries are recognizing that in the absence of good governance, in the absence of accountability and transparency, that’s not only going to have an effect domestically on the legitimacy of a government, it’s going to have an effect on economic development and growth.” Unfortunate again for us in Sri Lanka only a minority of local leaders realize this aspect. Fraudsters think we don’t need ethical funding from IMF or any multilateral agency but can continue to borrow from China and enjoy life infinitely! The opponents of good governance know that economic independence of people will reduce the power and dependence on politicians, who act like demigods.
The US approach under Obama was stated as follows to the African leaders and it applied to our progress in the last few years. He said “We will work with countries even though they’re not perfect on every issue. And we find that in some cases engaging a country that generally is a good partner but is not performing optimally when it comes to all of the various categories of human rights, that we can be effective by working with them on certain areas, and criticizing them and trying to elicit improvements in other areas.” Unfortunate for us again, our politicians want to put to test this statement and they may not face a challenge as the president of the US today is Trump.
How does a third world country get out of this trap of geo politics, bad governance, selfish politicians & journalism and an ineffective civil society? Revolutions, terrorism and other unrest is not the answer. In developed countries politicians are treated as normal beings and held accountable. In undeveloped or developing countries politicians have created an aura of godlike image. What we need to do is;
Stop funding corrupt politicians,
Stop asking for illegal/unethical favors from politicians,
Sensible & fearless journalism
Corporates learn to compete on a level playing field
Stop worshipping politicians,
Treat politicos like normal people who are elected to serve us and not like gods, to save us from this Unfortunate situation.