Image from The end of war in Sri Lanka, captured for posterity by Google Earth

I am very pleased to announce that Raisa Wickrematunge has taken over as Editor-in-Chief of Groundviews. She is joined by Amalini de Sayrah as Co-Editor. Raisa has worked with me at Groundviews since October 2015. Amalini joined the civic media team at the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) – the institutional anchor of Groundviews – earlier the same year.

Raisa and Amalini share a range of skills, experience and interests completely aligned with the civic media focus and output of Groundviews. Their interactive, multimedia stories over the past three years have repeatedly gone viral and won critical acclaim. I am incredibly lucky to have them on the civic media team, and Groundviews is richer, better and stronger in their hands.

Eleven years ago, I started the site as an experiment in what citizen journalism, which evolved into civic media, could do in a violent, oppressive, censorious environment, that progressively got worse. Post-war, the challenges the site faced for the content it promoted and produced continued to grow. Through these very dark times and to date, the site has pioneered new ways of telling vital stories, borne witness to processes, places and people many others have chosen to forget or sought to violently suppress, pioneered storytelling online, innovated more than any other media institution or platform in the country and has succeeded in becoming the platform of choice for testimony, content, perspectives, opinion and investigative reports that matter.

Throughout eleven years, the site has been a lightning rod for the pushback against what it has chosen to highlight, and in doing this, learnt the hard way how to best protect sources and narratives at risk, document evidence and help civil society produce irrepressible content that holds to account those with and in power. Groundviews is absolutely unique in the media landscape in Sri Lanka. Its archives – on the site and over social media – a vital record of conversations that have deeply shaped both country and context. I cannot be happier to leave this legacy in the hands of Raisa and Amalini, who are demonstrably committed to the same pursuit of inconvenient truths the site has always been wedded to.

I will leave Sri Lanka shortly for doctoral studies anchored social media discourse and politics. As a close friend noted, it is possible to leave the country but never quite leave it behind. I will remain connected to the site and the issues it frames from afar, but as a reader instead of an Editor. After eleven years of active curation every single day and without a break, I frankly look forward to this and also seeing how the site will evolve.

May I take this opportunity to thank Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, the Executive Director of CPA, for eleven years of continuous support for everything Groundviews has stood for, done and achieved. There is no question about it – the site is what it is, because it is located at CPA. And equally if not more, to everyone who has roundly critiqued Groundviews, contributed to it, championed it, defended it and shared content on it.

I hope you join me in wishing Raisa and Amalini all the very best, and look forward to many more years of award-winning content, generated by and featuring you, on Groundviews.