When Worlds Collide #65: When Making Fun is No Laughing Matter…

When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 5 May 2013

May 3 was World Press Freedom Day – a misnomer in this multimedia age, but nevertheless a cause worth celebrating and defending.

There are various indicators of media freedom including direct and indirect censorship, diversity of media ownership, and physical attacks on journalists and media organisations. A growing concern is how governments and large corporations are trying to control freedom of expression on the web.

Another useful barometer of media freedom can be the level of satire in a society. Satire and parody are important forms of political commentary that rely on blurring the line between factual reporting and creative license to scorn and ridicule public figures.

Political satire is nothing new: it has been around for centuries, making fun of kings, emperors, popes and generals. Over time, satire has manifested in many…

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