« Disinformation in Sri Lanka: An Overview » by Groundviews

Editor’s Note: This discussion note was prepared in the run up to the Digital Disinformation Forum, held on June 26 and 27. Excerpts of this were used in a moderated discussion on the media’s efforts to build resilience to disinformation. 

Fake news became a buzzword around the 2016 US Presidential election campaign. However, it’s something we have been grappling with in Sri Lanka for years. Fake news, is news created with the intent to deceive. However, the term has also been distorted over the years. Not only has it been used by people to dismiss news they don’t like, but it has also become confused with reporting that requires correction, as the Washington Post pointed out. In fact, saying something is ‘fake news’ doesn’t necessarily make it so – Trump himself often accuses entire publication houses as being fake.

To understand how and why fake news has been such a persistent problem in Sri Lanka, it’s necessary to understand a little about the political context. Sri Lanka is still recovering from nearly three decades of civil war that, among other issues along lines of language, land, ethnic politics, education and employment, has sowed deep and enduring divisions between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamil communities.

For decades, politicians have deliberately pandered to the Sinhala majority community and their needs in order to gain political mileage- from as back as 1956, when Prime Minister S W R D Bandaranaike passed the Sinhala Only Act, which made Sinhalese the official language of administrative service. In the run up to elections, politicians, news outlets and social media have all put out information designed deliberately to mislead.

Read the article in full here.

Source: Groundviews

« Insights into Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign on social media » by Groundviews

As virtual extensions of the power and influence of real world party politics, these social media campaigns will be vital to observe in the weeks ahead, to see to what degree both leading candidates will go to in order to influence voters whose primary source of information around politics and the elections will be mediated through the very platforms Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the President’s all-powerful brother, once called a threat to national security.

via: http://groundviews.org/2014/12/18/insights-into-mahinda-rajapaksas-re-election-campaign-on-social-media/

« Exploring the ‘Chat Republic’: In conversation with Angelo Fernando » by Groundviews

Angelo Fernando, in addition to being a long-standing columnist in the Lanka Monthly Digest (LMD) is also the author of a new book, Chat Republic: How Social Media Drives Us To Be Human 1.0 in a Web 2.0 World.

We begin our conversation on matters digital and online by looking at how Angelo’s father in particular networked socially in the world of brick and mortar, and how this shaped the author’s take on online social networking and new media. After going into how Angelo started to get interested in new media, and web based communications and communities, we talk about his take on media literacy, and its importance today.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/06/23/exploring-the-chat-republic-in-conversation-with-angelo-fernando/

source: Groundviews

« Gotabaya Rajapaksa and National Security: The Kotelawala Defence University lecture » by Thrishantha Nanayakkara

The secretary of defense once mentions that Sri Lanka is a “democratic nation with an extremely popular political leadership”, and then expresses fear of free public exchange of ideas! Why should an extremely popular leader in a truly democratic Nation be scared of free propagation of ideas? Did the cat jump out of the bag here? I urge the distinguished academics on the new MPhil/PhD Programme to study the role of pseudo-democracy in the deterioration of public security with a bold academic approach. In this regard, I refer the distinguished academics to a statement shown on the Roosevelt Memorial –  “they (who) seek to establish systems of Government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers…call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order.”
Click here for full article.
Source: Groundviews

« Sri Lanka: After the world’s media has moved on » by Sanjana Hattotuwa

« As the Editor of Groundviews, I was invited by World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN/IFRA) to give a presentation on Sri Lanka at the 20th World Editors Forum (WEF) and the 65th World Newspaper Congress, held recently in Bangkok, Thailand.

As the only Sri Lankan invited to speak at the Forum, I focussed on challenges facing governance, human rights and democracy in Sri Lanka, over four years after the end of the war. I also spoke about the violence against independent media, and the culture of near total impunity against those who have killed, abducted, harmed, forced into exile and murdered journalists. »

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/06/06/sri-lanka-after-the-worlds-media-has-moved-on/

source: Groundviews

« Media Minister on Prageeth Eknaligoda’s sudden appearance in France » by groundviews

As reported in the media, Government parliamentarian Arundhika Fernando told parliament on 5 June that missing journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda is currently residing in France.

On 6 June, the media met Keheliya Rambukwella, the incumbent Media and Information Minister in Sri Lanka.

This recording was provided to Groundviews by a journalist present at the media briefing.

Via http://groundviews.org/2013/06/06/media-minister-on-prageeth-eknaligodas-sudden-appearance-in-france/

source: Groundviews