Groundviews

2014: Year in Review

Groundviews published over 300 articles in 2014. Since its launch in 2006, the most amount of traffic to the website was generated over May this year, around the compelling content featured in the End of War: 5 Years On Special Edition. Selecting the most engaging content from this vast selection is impossible – all of the articles deal with issues often not covered at all by mainstream media in Sri Lanka, or only dealt with in passing.

The following articles represent a cross-section of the topics covered on Groundviews, this year and since its inception. Use them to go through the site’s archives more thoroughly, to share, re-read, reflect and I hope, comment. The unwavering adherence to a framework for civil debate is what, since 2006, makes Groundviews a unique civic media platform in Sri Lanka.

Complementing the content published on the site are hundreds of thousands of shares and likes over Facebook, Twitter and Google+. In fact, Groundviews is now far more active on a daily basis on Twitter and Facebook. In recognition of this, @groundviews is the only account from the country featured in Vision of Humanity’s Global Twitterati list first published in May, a selection of the most influential names in the Twittersphere shaping global conversations about peace.

In 2014, Groundviews was proud to be a launch partner with Project Galileo, a pioneering global effort by led by CloudFlare to secure and safeguard websites at risk of being shut down through denial of service and other web-based attacks.

In arts and culture, content from the site was uniquely featured or embedded in both Colombo Art Biennale 2014 and Colomboscope 2014 by international and local artists. OverWrite, performed at the British Council library in Colombo in October, was a journey through books, exploring challenged literature, bodies, memories and lives, co-conceptualised by the Editor of Groundviews and Ruhanie Perera from the Floating Space Theatre Company.

In defence of and supporting whistleblowing and investigative journalism long before the Snowden revelations, Groundviews had for years featured my public PGP encryption key. Given however the technical complexity of encrypted emails, in October I made the shift to the Telegram app, allowing anyone using their computer browser, desktop client or mobile app to get in touch with me securely and with a minimum of fuss, using @editor_groundviews.

2014 was a tough year for more than just the constant curation of content on the site. I will miss Sanjaya Senanayake’s acerbic, inimitable wit and occasional emails chiding me for what I could have done better. I will miss, more than words can ever capture, Mel Gunesekara’s company. We inexplicably lose, so often, the voices we need the most going forward and suffer those whose demise cannot come soon enough.

2015 will kick off with a Presidential Election, guaranteeing in its wake an eventful year. As it has in the past, the site and its social media eco-system will be there to bear witness and help you make sense of what’s going on.

Groundviews  is with me every day, all the time. It is what I wake up to and what I sleep thinking about. It is exhausting, frustrating and often thankless work to keep it alive through the contributions of thousands who have found in Groundviews a reason and a place to express themselves. Because of this and looking back, it is also the most rewarding work I have engaged in, for over eight years. Groundviews (along with Maatram and Vikalpa) allows me to experiment with new forms of journalism, innovate using web and mobile technologies, produce compelling trans-media stories, support artistic collaborations and also share ways to keep contributors and readers secure from increasingly pervasive surveillance.

It is an example of what media can and should be, and I hope you support it by contributing regularly, sharing what goes up on the site and commenting.

Season’s greetings and may you all have a peaceful, prosperous New Year,

Sanjana Hattotuwa

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January
Letter to the President from Bradman Weerakoon
Sinhalese and their fear of freedom

February
Groundviews featured at Colombo Art Biennale and Colomboscope 2014
Remembering Mel Gunasekera
“Sri Lanka: Reconciling and Rebuilding”: Framing the lies
Archive of #askcbsl: Twitter Q&A with the Governor of the Central Bank 
On forgiving and forgetting 

March
In conversation with Lakshman Joseph de Saram 
The invisible sexism in mainstream media 
Colossal Mihin Lanka losses: Some context 
From mass grave to cemetery: Questioning the claims in Mannar 
Video of Ruki Fernando’s interview with the BBC 

April
The arrest, detention and torture of Tamils in post-war Sri Lanka
The ‘Mad Monk’ Phenomenon: BBS as the underside of Sinhala-Buddhism 
The President and his apparatchiks: Loving children most, their toys even more? 
2 Years after ‘Not In My Name’ campaign 

May
End of War: 5 Years On Special Edition 
In conversation with Kalana Senaratne: Religiosity, politics and identity in Sri Lanka 

June
A modest proposal for the development of the Buddhisms and Tourisms also 
Happy Sri Lanka 
Partnership to protect free expression online: Project Galileo 
Aluthgama riots and deaths: Vital updates 
The aftermath: Aluthgama two weeks on 
Sri Lanka redefines “curfew” in Beruwela 
The Politics of ‘Aluthgama’ 

July
From shanty to home : Myth vs reality of Colombo’s Urban Regeneration Project 
“Where are the Sri Lankan Female Scientists?” A Case of Democratizing Science 
Is it the NGOs in Sri Lanka that need straitjacketing? 
Responding to Aluthgama 
Invisible architectures: Thoughts on Walking Path 
SITA MAMI 
Relevance of Freedom of Association in 1992 and today: Ratawawi Peramuna and its players 
Five years of vanquished journalism: A self critique 

August
Mob disrupts meeting of families of disappeared: Police & Government hound participants 
“We the People”: Reflections on Governance and Civic Engagement in Sri Lanka 
Verifying user generated content online: Rough guides in Tamil, Sinhala and English 
Slums, shanties or stories? 
When press releases become propaganda 
Prioritising Truth in Post-War Sri Lanka 
Remembering 1994: Violence interrupted, democracy restored 
Colombo Development: A Highway to… a Very Hot Place?

September
Comrade Bala Tampoe, the Legend Is No More! 
The Legacy of A New Woman in Our Generation: Sunila Abeysekara (1952-2013) 
9/11 and My Muslimness 
Terror, Performance and Anxieties of Our Times: Reading Rustom Bharucha and Reliving Terror 

October
Letter to Nonis the Chris 
DO WE NEED AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH TO THE THIRD TERM QUESTION BEYOND TEXT AND INTENTION? 
Pusswedilla is a Trojan Horse 
Securely communicate with Groundviews 

November
The Role of Women in Countering Extremism 
NOT SEEING THE WOOD FOR THE TREES: SARATH SILVA AND THE LEGALITY OF MAHINDA RAJAPAKSA’S THIRD TERM 
The Koslanda landslide: Photos around the aftermath 
Koslanda landslide: Before and after images now on Google Earth 
The new Yarl Devi to Jaffna: What do people in Jaffna think? 
Critically Supporting the Anti-Regime Campaign