Disaster Management, Gender, Human Rights, Human Security, Media and Communications, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War, Reconciliation

1,000 posts on Groundviews: Bearing witness, shaping peace

Exactly three years after its launch, Groundviews published its 1000th post today. In it Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu identifies the site with quality debate and asks citizens to use it to canvass their ideas for constitutional reform, governance, human rights and the economy and whatever else they see as constituting essential elements of an agenda for change and reform.

Over three years, Groundviews has borne witness to that which traditional print and electronic media did not, and for well-known reasons, could not. Post-war for example, our path-breaking coverage of the situation facing IDPs in Menik Farm was picked up and featured on leading domestic and international media, including the New York Times, Al Jazeera and the BBC. The wealth of debate and submissions online already makes Groundviews unique as an online resource and platform for engaging discussion in Sri Lanka. We are globally recognised as an authoritative voice on Sri Lanka and were the first to feature a mobile version, and the first to leverage social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

At a conservative average word count per submission, we now feature well over one and a half million words on the site of original content. Recently, we hosted the world premiere of a short film on one of Sri Lanka’s least known communities of African origin. Banyan News Reporters, a series of satirical articles on key issues related to war, human rights and peace has generated a cult following, and is sui generis in Sri Lanka as an innovative way to flag issues of significant concern in cycles of violence.  Groundviews has commissioned award winning Sri Lankan poets and dramatists to bear witness to violence. The site has also featured compelling and innovative photojournalism that explores, post-war, hope for a just and enduring peace amongst our citizens. A series of articles commemorating the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 and the race riots of 1958, along with a series of short-form videos, remain invaluable resources for the student of conflict resolution and the discernible historian.

Over 160 authors have contributed to the 1,000 posts published on the site to date. There are over 9,300 comments to date generated by this original content, penned by from those as diverse as senior diplomats in government and retired civil servants to university students and those writing into online media for the first time in English. These comments alone feature nearly one million words. Framed by our progressive editorial guidelines, these comments are invaluable insights from citizens in Sri Lanka and from the diaspora unique to the site. For example, The Internment – A Collective Punishment? by Dr. Devanesan Nesiah has been read over twenty-four thousand times and mind-bogglingly generated well over sixty-thousand words of critical comments through over 140 responses to date.

Our 1000th post is a significant milestone in a quest to define journalism as it should be in Sri Lanka, and a peace with dignity for all which we believe is so much more than the absence of war.

We invite you to join us.