First National Community Video Summit held in Sri Lanka


“We need a media for excluded, unheard and under-represented,” Minister of Mass Media Gayantha Karunathilake at First National Community Video Summit 2016

Press Release, 25 April, 2016

Colombo: Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum

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 Cultural 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.

 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. Community video journalism has enormous potential to strengthen the democratic institution in Sri Lanka.

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.

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

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.

Source: SDJF

Bangladesh: More community radio in the offering – Information Minister


DHAKA, April 26, 2016 (BSS) – The government would further expand community radio in order to provide the platform for citizens to raise their voices, especially for the masses at the grassroots, Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu said today.

Inu revealed this information to visiting Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, Howe Liang Zhu, who is now in the city on a four-day visit to Bangladesh, said an official release.

“We have taken the decision (for more community radios) to bring the marginalized people into the mainstream of development and spearhead sustainable development,” the minister told Liang Zhu, who along with UNDP Representative Robert Watkins, met him at his ministry office here.

Inu listed a number of steps taken by the present government with regards to mass media expansion and said a new horizon has been drawn in the area of free press side by side with cleaning the political dirt to bring back politics on track.

The minister said mass media had earlier been regarded as a strong opponent of the autocratic and communal regimes while it has now become a co-facilitator for national development. He also credited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her sincere and brave efforts in ensuring media freedom and protecting democracy.

Liang Zhu conveyed warm felicitation to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for media expansion in the country and assured that the United Nations would provide necessary cooperation for its further expansion in Bangladesh.

Senior officials of the ministry and UNDP Assistant Country Director Shaila Khan were also present.

Source: BNNRC

5th World Radio Day 2016 observed in Bangladesh


The 5th World Radio Day 2016 was observed with a colorful rally, discussion session and cultural programs in Bangladesh.

The Hon’ble Minister for the Ministry of Information, Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu, MP Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, was the Chief Guest at the opening ceremony of World Radio Day activities in Betar Bhaban, Agargaon, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mr. A S M Mahbubul Alam, Addl. Secretary and In charge of Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Information and  Mr. A K M Rahamat Ullah, MP, Chairman  of parliamentary standing committee for the Ministry of Information also attended as special guests.

Mr. AHM Bazlur Rahman, Chief Executive Officer of Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) and Member, World Radio Day Observation International Committee, and Mr. AKM Nesar Uddin Ahmed, Director General of Bangladesh Betar (Newly Appoint) also spoke at the opening ceremony.

Ms. Shahjadi Anjuman Ara, Addl. Secretary (Broadcast) and In charge of Director General of Bangladesh Betar presided over the opening ceremony.

16 Community Radio Stations, 12 Medium wave stations, 35 FM station of Bangladesh Betar and 14 Private FM station observed 5th World Radio day 2016 on 13 February 2016 in different part of Bangladesh.

Source: BNNRC