Internews has been working in Sri Lanka since the 2005 Asian tsunami, when we established a humanitarian lifeline program producing radio programming and weekly newspapers aimed at those affected by the natural disaster.
A few years later, when conflict began to escalate between the Tamils and government forces, Internews began a program providing information to war-affected IDPs (internally displaced persons). Internews also established a number of regional media houses, training local journalists and providing them with resources to more effectively cover local issues. This included safety-oriented training programs, covering digital and physical safety.
Because of media restrictions, conducting journalism training was challenging – especially during 2010 to 2014. With a new President and new government in office in 2015, restrictions on the media have been lifted, and journalists can report freely. However, with this new era of media freedom, there is a great need to build the capacity and professionalism of the media sector.
Internews’ programs in Sri Lanka continue to provide much needed training and mentoring of journalists, giving them practical opportunities to produce feature and investigative journalisms, and increase their familiarity with ICTs and social media. Our programs also focus on facilitating journalists to work with peers from other ethnic communities, and mentor them to report accurately and fairly, promoting government transparency and help the country transition to a progressive, diverse and vibrant democracy.