Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

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 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.

Source: SDJF

Dhaka-Colombo for fair and free Mass Media: Sri Lankan side expressed interest in learning from the experience of Bangladesh in introducing Community Radio!

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu called on his Sri Lankan counterpart Gayantha Karunathilaka Wednesday, 17 June in Colombo
Information Minister H. E. Hasanul Haq Inu, MP, and Sri Lankan Mass Media and Information Minister H. E. Gayantha Karunathilaka voiced together on keeping the mass media free from religious militancy and inappropriate content in order to uphold democracy.

They also agreed in principle to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on sharing of content between state-owned news agencies, television and radio as well as producing cinema in joint venture as Bangladesh Information Minister called on his counterpart in Colombo Wednesday morning.

Hasanul Haq Inu is on a two-day visit to Sri Lanka heading a government delegation aimed at enhanced cooperation between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in mass-media sector and sharing technical experiences in related field.

The two Ministers laid emphasis on the need of training of officials engaged in the institutions of information and media, and of regular holding of film festivals in each other’s country. Sri Lankan side expressed interest in learning from the experience of Bangladesh in implementing Right to Information Act and in introducing Community Radio.

Mass Media and Information Secretary Karunarathne Paranavithana and high officials of the ministry were present from the Sri Lankan side. Bangladesh officials present at the call on included Additional Secretary of Ministry of Information S. M. Haroon-Or-Rashid, High Commissioner Tarik Ahsan, Sr. Deputy Principal Information Officer Mahfuzur Rahman Malangi and BTV Engineer Md. Kamaluddin.

This was the first Ministerial level bilateral visit taking place between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka after the new government in Sri Lanka took office following the Presidential election in January 2015.

Sri Lanka, an island country of 65,610 sq km (little less than half the size of Bangladesh), with a population of about 21 million has 21 terrestrial, 29 satellite television, 72 radio channels and about 12 national daily newspapers.

Source: BNNRC

South Asia Network for Community Media (SANCOM) launched

The South Asia Network for Community Media (SANCOM) was formally launched on February 13, 2015 at the World Radio Day event in New Delhi, India, organized jointly by UNESCO and the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre in Asia (CEMCA).

Launching the virtual network of SANCOM (http://www.sancomonline.net), Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, the Director and UNESCO Representative to Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, expressed his happiness about the formation of the regional network and emphasized the importance of such groupings to promote media pluralism and diversity in South Asia. Prof. Vinod Pavarala, UNESCO Chair on Community Media and Member-Convener of SANCOM, explained the broad objectives of the network during his presentation. He explained that in fulfilling its’ objectives, SANCOM would respond to challenges and issues as and when they emerge with smaller interest groups tending to them from time to time.

The foundation for SANCOM was created on July 12, 2014 at a Roundtable on ‘Towards a South Asia Network for Community Media’ at the University of Hyderabad, India. The twenty-five attendees, representing different countries in the region, discussed the need for such a network, what it can do, how it will function and who can join. This resulted in a Steering Committee, comprising sixteen individuals, being formed to take the initiative forward.

The attendees agreed on seven objectives for the network. Firstly, SANCOM would advocate for a more free and open policy environment for community media to flourish in the region. Secondly, the network would exchange information regarding community media related initiatives and activities in the region. Thirdly, SANCOM would foster the building/sharing of capacities for community media production and management across national boundaries. Fourthly, it would document and disseminate best practices and explore possibilities of replicating success stories. Fifthly, SANCOM hopes to encourage comparative research that could help gain greater awareness and deeper understanding of community media in different national contexts in the region. Sixthly, the initiative will promote peer learning and self-evaluation. Lastly, SANCOM will build alliances with other national, regional and global networks, both of community media as well as of broader social movements.

Currently, the eight SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) would be involved with the SANCOM initiative.

Contact: Taijrani Rampersaud,
Editorial Assistant,
SANCOM Secretariat
Department of Communication,
Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication,
University of Hyderabad,
Gachibowli, Hyderabad, 500 046, India.
SANCOM E-Mail: sancommail@gmail.com