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Communication and Information Sector's news service

UNESCO supports citizen journalism in Sri Lanka

23-03-2007 (New Delhi)
UNESCO supports citizen journalism in Sri Lanka
Citizen media forum,
10 January 2007, Colombo, Sri lanka
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), with the support of UNESCO, conducted a short term project promoting the concept of proactive citizen journalism in Sri Lanka.
Civil society activists, provincial journalists and schoolchildren participated in three focus group meetings organized in Anuradapura, Kurunegala and Badulla districts with the aim to make the local media more public service oriented.

"We have no faith in the local media; the media does not pay attention to our needs. It has become a voice piece of politicians and businessmen, ordinary citizen have no say, citizens are isolated and marginalized by the media in the country", said Sujeewa Herath, a teacher of a remote school in Anuradapura, speaking on the existing media culture in Sri Lanka.

She is one of the few, who still believe that media need to support citizens in a joint responsibility to contribute towards the development of their respective communities and the country. Sujeewa was one of the participants at the focus group meeting held in Anuradapura on the 19th December 2006.

Making provincial radio stations independent of government and other influences, creating groups of citizens involved in media activities, improving access to and knowledge of information technology were several key recommendations made by the participants of these focus group meetings.

Several resource materials were developed by the project team to educate and encourage citizen participation in media activities. A bilingual leaflet and a CD-ROM with information and links to citizen journalism resources were distributed among all the focus group participants.

As culmination of the activities, a national meeting on “Promoting citizen participation in media” was held on the 10 January 2007 in Colombo. Representatives of civil society media and academia took part in it. Rohan Samarajeewa, a veteran media practitioner and IT specialist, led the discussion on encouraging citizen journalism through information technology initiatives. Sanjana Hattotuwa, a Senior Researcher at CPA, briefed participants on the usage of the Groundviews, the first trilingual citizen journalism website in Sri Lanka, designed by CPA.

This short-term project was successful in initiating a wide-ranging dialogue and interest in the need to encourage more citizens to participate in media activities in Sri Lanka.
UNESCO supports citizen journalism in Sri Lanka
Citizen media forum, 10 January 2007, Colombo, Sri lanka

Related themes/countries

      · Sri Lanka
      · Training of Media Professionals: News Archives 2007
      · Community Media: News Archives 2007
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