Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum
Sri Lankan Development Journalist Forum (SDJF) is a well established national level organization, with more than 7 years of extensive experience in promoting the role of media in democratization and transformation. We work closely with local media organizations, International media development agencies, civil society organizations, youth and women development movements and organizations that promote democracy and pluralism towards better transformation. Media for Transformation, Community Media for Inclusive Development and Training and Capacity Building are the major programme areas of Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum. The Democracy, Equality, Social Justice and Inclusiveness are the cross-cutting themes of SDJF.
Freddy Gamage, a well known freedom activist, and the chief editor of Meepura – one of the leading alternative news publications, has come under an assault yesterday (2nd June) evening.
Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum stated “we strongly condemn the attack on Gamage and such incidents against creating threatening environment for media freedom should immediately be ceased. Gamage is the Convener of the Web Journalists Association and the government should take the responsibility to expedite justice over this attack.
Police source said that two unidentified assailants in full-face helmets and jackets had assaulted him when he was going to climb into his car after attending a meeting at the Negombo Municipal Council premises.
Gamage himself through a telephone voice cut noted it was obvious that this was a planned attack. Both the unknowns have come with jacket and fully covered helmets in order to hide their identity.
He added that in my return from the meeting, I noticed two of them were approaching me. With the suspicion I tried to escape. However, they hit me on my head from a baton. Eventually, I ran to escape from the attack and somehow managed myself from the second attack.
Speaking further he observed “Just two weeks back, Dayan, who is the Deputy Mayor of Negombo, warned me that if I continue to write negatively about him and his brother, Nimal, god will punish me. He had also ordered me to write only positive articles about the ‘Lanza family’, and nothing negative.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who condemned the attack against Gamage, assured quick action against the culprits. “I have informed the Inspector General of Police to carry out an immediate investigation on the attack, and bring the culprits to book,” Wickremesinghe said in a Tweet.
In the meantime, government information department issuing a statement noted that the government has already informed the responsible to carry out investigation without any further delay.
SDJF further added ‘Government should take this incident as the first step to trigger an integrated program to create recognition for safety and security of the journalists. This has to be given priority before the right to information act is being passed by the parliament to enable journalists to work at the community level informing people through media.’
Independent Citizen’s Journalist (iVoice) reporters played a substantial role providing updates and information during the flooding and post-flooding recovery situation in Sri Lanka said Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF)
SDJF observed that i-reporters made it clear that community video is a highly sensitive and timely tool in emergency situation to carry out humanitarian communication highlighting peoples’ need, peoples’ concerns and people led solutions.
Tropical Storm Roanu that struck Sri Lanka on 15 May 2016 caused severe flooding and numerous landslides, particularly in the west of the country. Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka noted that 301,602 people have been affected by the floods and landslides. 104 people are known to have died and 99 people are still missing.
It has been further revealed an estimated 21,484 people are still displaced as a result of the disaster and are living in camps and temporary accommodation including schools.
Disaster Management Centre report says at least 623 houses have been destroyed and 4,414 have been damaged. This figure is likely to increase as more affected areas are assessed.
These are reportedly the worst floods in 25 years, with further heavy rains and flooding likely as the monsoon season continues.
Covering devastating landslide in Aranayake, the central part of Sri Lanka, and heavy flooding in Colombo, iVoice reporters produced more than 20 short video stories. They stayed with the people who were affected and provided information of what is needed for people. Please click below for the stories reported from Aranayake.
Not only the issues concerning health, education and environment were covered but also specific focus into children, women and venerable segments were given highlights in the ivoice stories. Click below for video stories on Colombo recovery situation.
SDJF further noted this unfortunate incident has made us realized a need of having well capacitated pool of independent journalists who have deepest knowledge on Disaster communication, humanitarian communication and gender sensitive media approaches and willingness to reach areas where mainstream media may not reach while bringing people perspectives on difficult situations.
For iVoice website click www.ivoice.lk
Supported by The Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO, The Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences invites to the conference “Best Practice in teaching conflict, war and peace journalism”.
The conference will take place at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences on November 7-8 2016.
We welcome papers that seek to contribute to improving higher education in peace and war journalism, safety of journalists and freedom of expression.
Many journalism and media educations around the world today offer courses touching upon these issues. The purpose of the conference is to gather teachers and journalists to exchange knowledge and experience in order to improve teaching within this field. We seek to use the opportunity to exchange experiences from different pedagogical models and teaching techniques. The conference will open with a keynote speech by Professor Simon Cottle, University of Cardiff.
We invite papers discussing themes such as (but not limited to):
- Best practices in safety education for journalists
- Training and use of freelancers
- How to deal with traumatic experiences in conflict- and war situations
- Consequences of threats and violence against journalist for the coverage of conflict and war
- Theoretical models for analysing media coverage of conflict, war and peace issues
- How gender affects safety issues and conflict and war coverage
- How to use computer assisted research when traveling to war zones is too dangerous
- Protection of freedom of expression in dangerous situation
- How to deal with impunity
- Ethical challenges in sending students to danger areas
- How to protect teaching institutions and students in conflict areas
- How to produce relevant knowledge in order to protect reporters
We also welcome papers with other relevant topics within the field.
Abstracts of maximum 250 words should be sent to Professor Rune Ottosen before August 15, 2016. The number of participants will be limited and a maximum of 25 papers will be accepted. The best papers will be represented in a report, or, if the quality allows, an edited book after the conference. There is no registration fee and lunch is included. The participants are expected to cover their own costs for travel and accommodation. A limited number of scholarships of up to 800 Euro is available for Ph.D. students and researcher from low-income countries.
Paper submission and questions about the conference should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Within the globalized context, mainstream media has its own struggle and difficulties in catering all the segments in a country. As a result of this global reality, we have excluded communities, voiceless, unheard and underrepresented in Sri Lanka as well. Therefore, Sri Lanka needs a strong community video journalism as an alternative form of media to cater those excluded segments - said Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka.
He noted the above, delivering a speech at the first National Community Video Summit, held on 24th of April at Sri Lanka Foundation, under the theme ‘Capturing Local Voices and Strengthening Democracy for Development’.
The summit was organized by Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF) in conclusion of its three successful community video training programs implemented in partnership with Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture (PGIA), Prathiba Media Network-Matara, and American Corner– Kandy.
The summit brought together more than 200 independent video journalists including experts from mainstream media, development agencies, civil society organizations and academia to discuss the potentiality of Community Video as an alternative media to keep citizens informed, shape their perspectives, facilitate people participation in democratization, and help the citizens to play an active role in fostering wider justice and accountability.
The summit explored the fact that the independent video journalism has enormous potential, in the current socio, economical and political environment for the excluded segments to have a voice on issues affecting their societies.
Nicole A. Chulick, Counselor, Press, Cultural and Educational Affairs, Embassy of United States for Sri Lanka and Maldives and H.E. Shelly Whiting, High Commissioner of Canada in Sri Lanka also took part in the event.
Speaking further Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilake noted that Community video journalism as a substitute form of people’s media is produced by the community and for the community. It is used globally to promote conflict resolution, free expression, social and behavioral change, local knowledge, critical thinking, democratization and rural development.
He also noted that community video has the potential in bringing local stories on right-based concerns such as rights of women, children and migrants. It also helps the community members to reach out to policy makers.
It allows people to participate in media production. In community video journalism, people are the writers, editors, and producers. In a traditional media context, the audience is treated as customers, and consumers. But within community video journalism the audience is treated as stakeholders and active contributors. This kind of journalism increases the media literacy of the civil society as well – he added.
The inaugural session was held under the theme ‘Voicing for the Unheard and Under-represented - Positioning Community Video’. This was chaired by Minelle Fernandez, Reporter, Al Jezeera. Jayantha Karunarathne, Head of Camera, Recoding and Lighting Division, ITN, Udaya Shan Idamegedera, News Manager, Siyatha FM & TV, T.M.G. Chandrasekara, Director - Research and Training, SLRC, Chaminda Karunarathne, Head of News, Swarnavahini, Sandaruwan Thilakarathne, Producer & Script Writer, Hiru TV and Shehan Baranage, Director – News and Current Affairs, TV Derana were the speakers of this session.
Necessity of independent video journalists being trained, need for community engagement in making media for the community, media ethics in community video journalism, capturing and disseminating right-based concerns through Community Video journalism, potential of community video in encouraging public participation, accountability and governance, and promoting political participation of people through community video were different topics discussed in the session.
The panelist expressed the need of community video journalism to have recognized by the government through policy. In chairing a session on Community Video – Making it a Media for People, Dr. Paradeep Weerasinghe noted, Community Media, particularly Community Video journalism needs a welcoming environment in Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lankan government is committed to create such an environment. Speaking further he added that mainstream media must not be seen as the only avenue to disseminate the video’s produced by community video journalists. However, it is important for the mainstream media to have a lot allocated for community voices.
Chaminda Karunarathne, Director News, Swarnavahini noted that Community Video journalists should be informed of understanding the role of a journalist in a context where the community he or she lives in crisis. He also emphasized issues around women, youth, children, and migrants can also be addressed using community video.
Nicole A. Chulick, Counselor, Press, Cultural and Educational Affairs for Sri Lanka and Maldives indicated that summit sounds a milestone in the field of video journalism promoting people voice in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Raguram from the University of Jaffna raised a perspective that giving or taking employment opportunities should not be taken as a final destination of community video journalism. Community video journalism is something that should survive in the community as an integral part of it. It should come up in a time of need.
Speaking of this summit Prof. W. A. D. P. Wanigasundera, Chairperson of SDJF noted that the commercialization, globalization and politicization are threats for many mainstream media. And this is a global reality and not an issue specific to Sri Lanka alone. Within such a context we also need a media that could represent all segments of the community regardless of their diversity, and not treat people as just recipients, particularly women and children as not just victims. Such a media should also be able to vividly capture the positives of the community and culture, build a united identity respecting diversity, and make people’s voice louder.
As a part of the summit Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum launched Sri Lanka’s first community video news website www.ivoice.lk
During the post lunch session, SDJF announced the National Community Video Award winners. 10 National Community Video Awards were presented for those independent Video Journalists who took part in the National competition concluded last month.
Community video is a powerful tool, used globally to promote conflict resolution, free expression, social change , behavioral change, local knowledge, critical thinking, participate in democratization and people perspectives. The process of making community video not only transforms disadvantaged individuals but also wider communities whose voices are excluded in mainstream media.
In this context SDJF decided to launch its first National Community Video Competition with an aim of encouraging young video storytellers and social activists to tell the stories that are important for them, for their community and for their country.
SDJF invites all interested individuals to take part in this competition. Age limit is 18-35 years and the deadline for the submission of videos will be April 10th 2016.
Please find the below poster for further details of this competition.
The participatory community video storytelling program was organized by Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum in partnership with Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya for 25 potential youth in the Kandy district. This program started in the month of December 2015. The program consisted 4 training workshops for the youth on using participatory community video storytelling in addressing community issues in the district.
The final training of this workshop was held on 27th and 28th of February 2016 at the American Corner, D.S. Memorial Public Library, Kandy. The youth were enthusiastic on finalizing their videos and towards the end of the training 10 powerful community videos were made by the young storytellers.
Youth had covered role model stories as well as community issues in their videos. Some of the stories covered issues in areas like Digana, Ulapane, Hasalaka, Pilimathalawa, Mawanella in the Kandy district.
Speaking about the program most of the participants noted that this program was a turning point in their lives as they believe community video storytelling is a power tool to bring out their own community issues and find solutions by showing these to the authorities and other responsible parties.