Attack on the Sirasa TV studios triggered familiar speculation as to which courtier of the ruling family was behind it. It also triggered the usual ritual condemnations, which naturally avoided certain unspoken questions:
- Which “independent” media is next?
- Do non government media outlets have the necessary backup facilities to recover from a similar attack?
- Is it possible to set up robust, effective physical security to defend against gun and grenade wielding goons? Specially since the police have been emasculated by the political connected of organised crime. It is traditional to call the local police station before hand and tell them stay put before going over the burn a house of a rival political party’s activist.
- How expensive are insurance premiums to insure against the recover costs of such attacks?
- What is the time frame to recover from a attack like the one suffered by Sirasa?
- What are the financial consequences to the TV station and can they recover from it? (hope they have the cash flow to meet payroll)
I suppose (hope) that such thoughts are percolating in the offices of other non government media outlets. Which should prompt some quite practical measures rather than expensive hand wringing. No doubt they are not naive enough to think that calling the police will help when their turn comes. After all it is traditional too behead anyone deemed unflattering of the king. From an investment point of view it is silly not to ignore centuries of such tradition.
I noticed only one personal consequence of the attack on Sirasa TV. My favourite “youth” radio station YFM (owned by the same company that owns Sirasa TV) started playing a lot of Victor Ratnayake and Nanda Malini (whose music I thankfully like) while fielding sympathetic text messages most of yesterday. I wonder if an unintended consequences of the attack on Sirasa TV is to politicised the “urban youth” market. Most cynics shrug that the YFM demographic is too self centred to bother about politics. I am not sure if the same conclusion could be applied to the disturbingly cult like army of Sirasa Super Star and Dancing Star fans.
Since I’m not in any of those groups I wouldn’t know – just as I don’t know the answers to the bullet point questions above. Hence I ask these questions aloud in the hopes that knowledgeable types will enlighten me through the comment box.