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Insights into Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign on social media

On the same day the Centre for Policy Alternatives, through an online survey, flagged the importance of social media in the up-coming Presidential Election to reach young voters, a series of retweets offered a glimpse into the strategic social media eco-system supporting the re-election of the incumbent President, Mahinda Rajapaksa. At 2.17pm today, @mahinda4slanka published […]

Twitter archive of @groundviews: December 2014

Every single one of the nearly 36,600+ tweets published to date by Groundviews as @groundviews can be downloaded as a ZIP file from here. The archive, generated by Twitter, is fully searchable. All the tweets can be downloaded as a CSV file from here (10.3Mb). The archive is also accessible online here. The archive is […]

Uthayan in Jaffna: All the news that’s fit to print, and then some

JAFFNA. “Even though the war is over and the guns are silent…it doesn’t change a thing. We still face threats. We are still feeling the fear,” said 35 year old Thevanayagam Premananth, the editor of Uthayan newspapers. We talked in his office, part of the compound that had once been the torture chambers of the […]

Archive of #AskChampika: Twitter Q&A with Champika Ranawaka

Photo courtesy The Sunday Leader A Twitter Q&A with the JHU’s Champika Ranawaka was conducted at 7pm yesterday, generating hundreds of tweets with questions for the Minister ranging from his hate speech, endorsement of astrology, open calls to violence, politics and religious extremism to the up-coming presidential elections, corruption and governance in general. A cursory […]

In Sri Lanka, ‘fear and insecurity’ for journalists, activists

Sri Lankan TV journalist Kapila Chandana Kuruppuarachchi thought he was just doing his job when he tried to cover a clash between backers of rival political parties in late September. Instead, he says, a mob of pro-government supporters chased him for almost a kilometer before pelting him with stones. He was hospitalized with major bone […]

Online hate speech stokes fear of religious violence in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy Thyagi Ruwanpathirana Hate speech is growing more effective and pervasive among media platforms in Sri Lanka, prompting concern from Muslim and Christian minorities amid mounting attacks. The Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) released a report this week on the challenges surrounding the significant uptick in online-based hate speech in post-war Sri Lanka. “The […]

Colombo International Film Festival: Six Days That Would Change Your World

It is possible that one may find my title to be exaggerated: this is not the first time that we are hearing the words ‘international film festival’ in a Sri Lankan context. Over the years, we have had many events of this nature where films made by non-Sri Lankans were shown together. True, those words […]

When press releases become propaganda

How the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2014 was reported in Sri Lankan media reads as a cautionary tale when dealing with press releases. The report was brought to my attention upon reading an ‘article’ in the Daily FT titled ‘World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2014: Sri Lanka top in South […]

Verifying user generated content online: Rough guides in Tamil, Sinhala and English

Photo by Thyagi Ruwanpathirana The poor mainstream media coverage of the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama in June 2014 was a vacuum filled, in large-part, by content published in real-time and for weeks after the violence on the web and online social media fora. This volume, variety and velocity of perspectives and content, while in the […]

Relevance of Freedom of Association in 1992 and today: Ratawawi Peramuna and its players

Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg News, via The Japan Times Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), are the popular punching bag of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), when its actions are challenged by any individual and/or organization. Name-calling, brandishing circulars to warn NGOs and now a draconian law to prevent them from raising public issues has been the […]

Five years of vanquished journalism: A self critique

Image courtesy Grassrooted For nearly three decades, it remained Sri Lanka’s biggest story. Over the years, the resplendent island became known, not for its human development indicators or as a vibrant democracy, but as the birth place of the deadly Liberation Tigers – and what fuelled its birth, growth and its destructive impact on the […]

Partnership to protect free expression online: Project Galileo

I am both proud and pleased to welcome the launch of Project Galileo by CloudFlare, for which the Centre for Policy Alternatives – the institutional anchor of this site – is a global launch partner. As noted in CloudFlare’s blog post announcing the launch of the new initiative, Project Galileo’s goal is to protect free […]

Sri Lanka’s media, five years after the end of war

Photo courtesy Sri Lanka Brief The guns are silent and the bones buried beneath the sands of the beaches of Mullivaikkal are replete with a story, but the tales they must tell are drowned in a cacophony of half-truths and downright lies that block the healing of the hearts and minds of the men, women […]