Giving people a place to talk

The media in Sri Lanka colored by a marked lack of professionalism. While there are ongoing initiatives to instill professional journalism practices in the state media, the speed and sustainability of such reforms is suspect. Sanjana Hattotuwa created the first community web-based media in Sri Lanka to record these failings and violations of democratic governance and civil libertyBy leveraging new media including the Internet and cellular phone she has created a safe place for citizens to write about war, peace, human rights, and social justice. While huge sums of money were invested throughout the country, little or no thought was given to how the available content could support democratic governance. In response, he designed tri-lingual Citizen Journals (CJs) as a means for social activists, rights-defenders, youth, Diaspora groups, and average citizens to discuss difficult issues without facing persecution for having differing views.

He has thus created a safe space for a young group of bloggers to freely express their opinions about the war. His use of instant follow-ups and links to related web-material keep the internet savvy generation engaged. In a country where so many journalists, activists, and citizens face security threats, he is trying to build trust and ensure an open flow of information by vehemently protecting the safety of his contributors through encryption and the use of pseudonyms.



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