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Blocking inconvenient truths: Time magazine and Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Al Jazeera (AFP/Christophe Archambault) The Face of Buddhist Terror, cover story of the most recent issue of Time magazine, is banned in Burma. Even though the lead article is primarily on U Wirathu, the leader of the 969 Buddhist Nationalist movement and only has passing reference to Islamophobia in Sri Lanka championed by fascist […]

Exploring the ‘Chat Republic': In conversation with Angelo Fernando

Angelo Fernando, in addition to being a long-standing columnist in the Lanka Monthly Digest (LMD) is also the author of a new book, Chat Republic: How Social Media Drives Us To Be Human 1.0 in a Web 2.0 World. We begin our conversation on matters digital and online by looking at how Angelo’s father in […]

Twitter Q&A with Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President of Sri Lanka

Image courtesy Business Today The Presidential Spokesman and International Media Unit (i.e. @AnuradhaKHerath) announced on 14th June something that’s never happened before in Sri Lankan politics – a Q&A with Lalith Weeratunga, the President’s Secretary over Twitter, slated for 19th June, from 2.30pm to 4pm. A live search of #askLW is embedded below to follow […]

Gotabaya Rajapaksa and National Security: The Kotelawala Defence University lecture

Photo courtesy Business Today As a citizen of Sri Lanka, naturally I was keen to know what the country’s secretary of defense thinks about the current security situation and the military history of Sri Lanka. Therefore, I went through his “lecture”  under the National Interest Module of the inaugural MPhil/PhD Programme of the Kotelawala Defense […]

Twitter archive of @groundviews: June 2013

Every single one of the nearly 23,000 tweets by Groundviews as @groundviews can be downloaded as a ZIP file from here. The archive, generated by Twitter, is fully searchable and can be browsed offline. All the tweets can be downloaded as a CSV file from here (7.1Mb). The archive is also accessible online here. The […]

Media Minister on Prageeth Eknaligoda’s sudden appearance in France

Photo by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai As reported in the media, Government parliamentarian Arundhika Fernando told parliament on 5 June that missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda is currently residing in France. On 6 June, the media met Keheliya Rambukwella, the incumbent Media and Information Minister in Sri Lanka. This recording was provided to Groundviews by a journalist present […]

Sri Lanka: After the world’s media has moved on

As the Editor of Groundviews, I was invited by World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN/IFRA) to give a presentation on Sri Lanka at the 20th World Editors Forum (WEF) and the 65th World Newspaper Congress, held recently in Bangkok, Thailand. As noted on the WAN/IFRA WEF site, “The World Editors Forum is the […]

World Press Freedom day, Uthayan and Freedom of Expression in Sri Lanka

Photo courtesy SIDA “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties” John Milton 3rd May was declared as World Press Freedom day by the UN General Assembly in 1991. Since then, it is celebrated every year, around the world. It is a time to cherish, […]

A-Z of Sri Lankan English: Z is for Z-score and zipperman

Image via Sri Lanka Guardian There are only two Z-words that I have come across in SLE: Z-score and zipperman. Both are terms which are found in standard English, but which have particular meanings and associations in a Sri Lankan context. The Z-score is the controversial system used to determine university entrance based on average […]

‘Kerosene’ by Kannan Arunasalam wins international documentary award

Groundviews is extremely pleased to recognise that Kannan Arunasalam has won the 2013 South Asian International Documentary Festival’s Prism Short Award for ‘Kerosene’. This short film was one of three produced by Kannan with utilising a small grant by Groundviews in 2011. First screened in Colombo and subsequently featured on the critically acclaimed Moving Images […]

The state of media in Sri Lanka: In conversation with Dilrukshi Handunnetti

Dilrukshi Handunnetti is currently Senior Deputy Editor, Ceylon Today and was, before Lasantha Wickrematunge’s murder, lead investigative journalist at the Sunday Leader. We begin by going into why after years as a journalist, Dilrukshi joined Transparency International for a few years to advocacy for many of the same issues that she had written about in […]

The Sri Lankan President’s Twitter archive and Propaganda 2.0: New challenges for online dissent

The President enters Twitter Last month, the President of Sri Lanka began tweeting officially as @PresRajapaksa. The account is already authenticated by Twitter. Though @PresRajapaksa’s profile notes that “tweets from the President are signed MR.” there is, to date, not a single tweet penned by the President himself. The launch of the account was instructive […]

Memes and the Art of Majority Placation in Sri Lanka

The thing about Social Media is that it gives people a shot at engineering their identities without much effort. A simple ‘like’ or ‘share’ of a particular picture can easily give the impression of an aware and concerned citizen, and so the proliferation of such images in such a politically-charged climate is not surprising. This […]

‘Black January’ demonstration 2013: Protesting a perfect record of impunity

Since 2005, in the month of January alone, the list of violent attacks on media personnel and journalists across Sri Lanka is mind-boggling. There is a very long yet still incomplete list of the attacks by Sunanda Deshapriya published on Groundviews. As he notes, “Not a single case of killing, assault or arson listed here […]

Prageeth Ekneligoda: A 3 year struggle to find husband, father, cartoonist and journalist

Image courtesy Vikalpa I had never met Prageeth Ekneligoda. But after he disappeared, on 24th Jan. 2010, I read some of his articles. I found them to be thought provoking and cover many issues related to freedom of expression, human rights in general, democracy etc. But what struck me most was some of his cartoons. […]