The role of media questionable
Allegations of biased reporting and unethical practices
The harrowing case of Menaka Edirisinghe, accused of murdering her mother, Mrs Vinitha, took a shocking turn when the real suspect was finally identified. The tragic incident, which unfolded in the Kahawatte Welladura area of Sri Lanka, captivated the nation’s attention for days as Menaka faced accusations of slitting her mother’s throat, a claim that dominated headlines for hours.
However, when the truth emerged, exonerating Menaka of any involvement in her mother’s murder, the subsequent coverage was limited to mere seconds. The real suspect, a bricklayer named Sanjeeva Wijeratne, known as ‘Dole Bas,’ was revealed to be the perpetrator. The police investigation exposed an argument between Mrs Vinitha and Wijeratne over the theft of gold articles, culminating in a violent confrontation that tragically ended in her death.
Dole Bas, a father of five, had stolen gold items from Mrs. Vinitha’s house during a repair visit in June. The subsequent discovery of the theft led to confrontations, escalating to the fatal incident on December 13th. The police suspect that Wijeratne murdered in a fit of anger, triggered by Mrs. Vinitha’s intention to involve law enforcement.
Menaka, however, had become the initial focus of the investigation, arrested based on suspicions arising from her reported late arrival home on the day of the murder. The local community’s reports of frequent disputes between mother and daughter further fueled the unjust assumption of Menaka’s guilt.
The media’s role in perpetuating this injustice has come under scrutiny, with allegations of biased reporting and unethical practices. Menaka, unfairly portrayed as the murderer, faced severe accusations on social media, impacting her honour and self-esteem. The article emphasizes the need for responsible journalism, calling attention to the irreversible damage caused by premature and sensationalized reporting.
Janaka Suneth Bandara, Mrs Vinitha’s eldest son and a journalist himself, highlighted the media’s failure to uphold ethical standards. He expressed concern over the lack of media presence during the revelation of Menaka’s innocence, questioning the morality of media reporting that initially implicated his sister.
The writer of the article concludes with a plea for a change in the media system, advocating for withholding crime-related information from the public until investigations are completed to prevent further instances of unjust accusations and the subsequent harm caused by irresponsible reporting.