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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. […]

Being small, thinking Big: Publishing for the International Market

Original photo courtesy Tarika Wickremeratne Being small, thinking Big: Publishing for the International Market from the perspective of an independent small publisher concentrating on fiction) Sri Lanka, like many countries of the Asia-pacific region, has long been an exotic destination for travelers in search of the unusual, and as can be expected, there are quite a […]

Restrictions and intimidation on journalists covering resettlement process in the Vanni

From Lines Magazine “The Government should ensure the freedom of movement of media personnel in the North and East, as it would help in the exchange of information contributing to reconciliation” (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, recommendation 9.115-d) After more than 11 months of the LLRC report being handed over to the President, the above […]

Comprehensive archive of tweets: 8 May to 1 October 2012

Given that Groundviews is extremely active on Twitter, covering, inter alia, unique updates after eventful Presidential Elections, alerting and real time information curation during tsunami warnings and the international fallout over Twitter of media content published domestically, it’s been a real challenge to record our conversations and updates for posterity. This is especially important in a country […]

Innocence of the Muslims

March in Colombo on 24 September 2012 against the film. Photo courtesy Vikalpa Muslims have never shied away from discussing the private and public life of their Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). In fact they have welcomed an examination of his life and times. However when the Muslim world is geared for a debate and public engagement, […]

In Memoriam: Tilak Jayaratne

Tilak’s journey in search of people’s media, from the Sunday Times Tilak Jayaratne, veteran broadcaster and media advocate, passed away on September 6, after a long illness bravely borne.  All those who knew Tilak, and who encountered him in the many different orbits that he inhabited, will recall the intensity which he worked, and the […]

The Rebel Who Peddled Dreams: On Nimal Lakshapathiarachchi (1954–2012)

Nimal Lakshapathiarachchi, who suddenly died on July 19 aged 57, is being described in tributes as a ‘veteran broadcaster’ and a pioneering figure in private radio and TV broadcasting. He certainly was – but that covers only part of his legacy. He was also an indefatigable champion of popular culture, a rebel who undermined, in […]

Stand Athwart Censorship in Sri Lanka

In Tom Stoppard’s superlative play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Ros shouts “Fire!” and when questioned by Guil, Ros reassuringly responds, “It’s all right – I’m demonstrating the misuse of free speech. To prove that it exists.” After surveying the audience with “contempt”, Ros says, “Not a move. They should all burn to death in […]

Gotabhaya Rajapaksha: Too Drunk with Power to Exercise it?

Still image captured from BBC video interview. Excerpt from first conversation FJ: Mr. Rajapaksa are you threatening me? GR: Yes! I am threatening you! Write every single word I have told you if you want – you write a bloody f…..g word and we will see… FJ: Mr. Rajapaksa I called you as a journalist to […]