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Media and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka


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Presentation that accompanies lecture I deliver on media and peacebuilding at the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies

Published in: Travel, News & Politics
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Media and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka

  1. 1. Media, Peace & Conflict in Sri Lanka Sanjana Hattotuwa
  2. 2. History of broadcasting in Sri Lanka <ul><li>Sri Lanka has the oldest radio station in Asia - Radio Ceylon. </li></ul><ul><li>Experimental broadcasting was started in 1923 - 3 years after the inauguration of broadcasting in Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>1925 broadcasting began </li></ul>
  3. 3. Statistics
  4. 4. Modes of Information in Sri Lanka
  5. 8. Media and conflict
  6. 9. Media and Conflict <ul><li>In most cases of long term conflict, media becomes part of the conflict and not part of the solution. </li></ul>
  7. 10. Media and Conflict There is nothing wrong with our editorial policy ! What the hell is going on? Every single person here has a different perspective What a jackass ! We must have more balanced coverage I feel left out… Why am I the only woman here?
  8. 11. Truth?
  9. 12. Security <ul><li>Job security </li></ul><ul><li>Personal security </li></ul><ul><li>No training </li></ul><ul><li>No equipment </li></ul><ul><li>No insurance </li></ul><ul><li>No identification </li></ul><ul><li>Volatile ground situation </li></ul>
  10. 13. What are the problems you see with media?
  11. 15. Media and Conflict <ul><li>Lack of professionalism/ journalism training in State and Private media </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the newsrooms in Sri Lanka are monolingual. </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of diversity. </li></ul><ul><li>No democracy in the newsroom. </li></ul>
  12. 16. Media and Conflict <ul><li>Polarization of newspapers on ethnic lines </li></ul><ul><li>Self-censorship of Editors </li></ul><ul><li>State owned media has been a political tool of the governing political party </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of training / Existing training not up to industry demands </li></ul>
  13. 17. Media in Conflict Transformation
  14. 19. Framing and defining the conflict Encouraging a balance of power Identifying the interests underlying the issues Channel of communication between parties Confidence-building Counteracting misperceptions Face saving and consensus-building Analyzing the conflict Media Roles in Peacebuilding
  15. 20. Process Events
  16. 21. Process Events <ul><li>Long term </li></ul><ul><li>Variable & changing </li></ul><ul><li>Different actors at different times </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to imagine, especially as an advance project </li></ul><ul><li>Outbreaks of violent periods likely and undermine confidence in the process </li></ul><ul><li>Necessary to maintain the optimism and hope </li></ul><ul><li>Short-term </li></ul><ul><li>Episodic </li></ul><ul><li>Sensational - what bleeds leads </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to contextualise / frame </li></ul><ul><li>Hard to understand the significance of one event </li></ul><ul><li>Are the foundation of the public’s perception of a peace process </li></ul>
  17. 22. Media as a shared space
  18. 23. <ul><li>Women need to be more visible at the higher decision-making levels </li></ul><ul><li>But not just a numbers game - real decision making power is hard to come by </li></ul><ul><li>Awareness-raising on gender - especially editorial and management levels </li></ul><ul><li>Give women agency & represent agency at all levels </li></ul><ul><li>Men & women need to be engaged, not just one sex </li></ul>Engender media
  19. 25. Two (different) films
  20. 26. New Media
  21. 27. New Media / Citizens Media “ As media proliferate and as the world becomes the more volatile and unpredictable, the greater becomes the need to organise citizens’ media associations and to promote community based media which alone can serve as balancing factors to check the unhealthy dominance of State-media and corporate media.” Javid Jabbar, Convenor, Citizens Media Commission, Pakistan
  22. 28. What is New Media? <ul><li>Old Media – Single Producer </li></ul><ul><li>New Media – Multiple Producers </li></ul><ul><li>Old Media – National, Regional </li></ul><ul><li>New Media – Local, Grassroots / “Glocal” </li></ul><ul><li>Old Media – Journalists </li></ul><ul><li>New Media – Citizen Journalists </li></ul>
  23. 29.
  24. 30. Mobile Phones & Citizen Journalism
  25. 31. How can New Media help professional standards? <ul><li>Accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Audience feedback and debate </li></ul><ul><li>Ethical reporting and standards </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion of alternatives, including alternatives & revisions to old media frame </li></ul><ul><li>Investigative journalism </li></ul>
  26. 33.
  27. 34.
  28. 35.
  29. 36.
  30. 37. <ul><li>500+ (avg) individuals log on to the website on a daily basis (Pageviews) </li></ul><ul><li>Around 15,000+ pageviews a month (avg) </li></ul><ul><li>77,360 pages viewed to date from around 29,000 unique readers </li></ul><ul><li>25+ original articles per month are uploaded to the website </li></ul><ul><li>The split in local and international readership is 60/40 </li></ul><ul><li>80+ subscribers to email update and its growing. </li></ul>
  31. 38.
  32. 39. Growth of new media producers and users globally
  33. 41. Questions <ul><li>Can New Media work in Sri Lanka? </li></ul><ul><li>How useful is New Media in changing the old media cultures? </li></ul><ul><li>Can New Media help conflict sensitive journalism and peacebuilding? </li></ul>
  34. 42. Thank You