Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND)

Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND)

Through a four-year partnership with USAID, IREX’s Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND) program will improve citizen’s access to balanced, reliable, and objective news and information in Sri Lanka. It will also support Sri Lanka’s efforts to solidify recent advances in media freedom and democratic governance.

To accomplish this, IREX is working in collaboration with four key implementing partners: The National Secretariat for Media Reform (NSMR), Verite Research, Sarvodaya Fusion, and Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF).

Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND)

Through a four-year partnership with USAID, IREX’s Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND) program will improve citizen’s access to balanced, reliable, and objective news and information in Sri Lanka. It will also support Sri Lanka’s efforts to solidify recent advances in media freedom and democratic governance.

To accomplish this, IREX is working in collaboration with four key implementing partners: The National Secretariat for Media Reform (NSMR), Verite Research, Sarvodaya Fusion, and Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF).

Quick Facts

  • Sri Lanka’s score in the World Press Freedom Index rose 24 points one year after the election of a new administration, which made a public commitment to respecting the rule of law, human rights, and the process of transitional justice and reconciliation.
  • In an IREX survey, 83% of young journalists in Sri Lanka said they use news-specific mobile apps the most for news, followed by social media mobile apps.
  • In February 2017, access to information was recognized as a fundamental right through the 19th amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Goals

  • Improve media governance in Sri Lanka and create an enabling environment for media.
  • Strengthen the ability of media to provide balanced, informed, unbiased, and ethical reporting on key policy and public interest issues in Sri Lanka.
  • Advance the role of media to serve as an important forum for national dialogues.

Project Activities

IREX is working with program partners and media organizations to fully define and design activities. They will include:

  • Advocacy Partner Training: Trainings will support journalists’ unions and advocacy groups, especially those outside Colombo, with technical support for grassroots campaigns, social media advocacy, and micro-grants. MEND will hold three-day advocacy support trainings on key issues in media reform and will seek new and non-traditional partners to reinvigorate networks.
  • MediaCohorts Program: Three cohorts of five to six media outlets will be paired with media mentors to receive training on rigorous research and innovative storytelling techniques, aimed at surfacing sidelined issues and unheard voices. Each cohort will also include a political component to ensure the stories they produce will be immediately applicable to the current political context.
  • Gender charter for media: The first of its kind in Sri Lanka, the charter will establish minimum standards, principles, and actions to support gender equality in media. It will outline practical steps to support the achievement of equality in media workplaces, journalists’ organizations, and media itself.
  • Sri Lanka MediaCorp Fellowship Program: Journalists are paired with peers from other linguistic, ethnic, or religious backgrounds in Sri Lanka. Journalists work collaboratively for approximately 10 days on stories that focus on transitional justice, social cohesion, and national integration issues.

Partners

USAID

People

Contact

Matthew Shelley, Chief of Party, mshelley@irex.org