Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND)

Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND)


Through a five-year partnership with USAID, IREX’s Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND) program improves citizen’s access to balanced, reliable, and objective news and information in Sri Lanka.

The program also supports Sri Lanka’s efforts to solidify recent advances in media freedom and democratic governance.

To accomplish this, IREX works with several local organizations, such as the Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI).

Quick Facts

  • The program has supported more than 2,000 journalists through advocacy, mobile journalism, multimedia storytelling, Learn to Discern training, and the MEND Professional Security Fund for Journalists.
  • Through MEND’s MediaCorps fellowship program, more than 260 young journalists received training on improving cross-cultural understanding. They also improved their ability to foster diversity and produce gender- and conflict-sensitive reporting.
  • MEND supported the dissemination of more than 500 media stories to promote reconciliation and good governance highlighting stories of marginalized and vulnerable groups, and debunking COVID-19 misinformation.
  • After participating in MEND training sessions, 96% of media professionals reported an improved understanding of key topics.


  • 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 dialogue.
  • Increase citizens’ demand for accurate, reliable, and objective information, and raise their resistance to disinformation and manipulation.
  • Improve media governance and the enabling environment for media in Sri Lanka.
As a result of [the program], I am able to engage with people from different backgrounds better. This has helped my career as a journalist as I am able to approach situations with more understanding now. Nirasha Priyawadani, Associate Editor, Boston Lanka

Project Activities

  • Support Network for Advocacy Partners:  This initiative will improve organizations’ ability to promote their mission and advocacy work through training and mentorship support on topics such as mobile journalism, planning campaigns, lobbying, media ethics and organizational management. The advocacy partners will form a network, allowing them to combine their efforts for greater impact.
  • Media Incubator Initiative: Media startups will have an opportunity to develop viable products and ideas into fully-fledged business opportunities. These startups will receive intensive training, mentoring, and other assistance to manage issues commonly associated with running a startup such as purchasing equipment, buying domain space, and developing a website.

  • MediaExchange: IREX will facilitate exchanges between media organizations, where teams of journalists from radio, television, print, or online outlets will visit each other’s communities, meet their colleagues, and work on collaborative stories.

  • The Civic Action through Mobile Phones: Community organizations that serve marginalized populations and promote peace and reconciliation will be trained on mobile journalism and advocacy skills, which they can use to amplify their voices and promote positive change.

  • Spotlight: Experienced investigative journalists will be trained and mentored by international experts and will produce investigative stories, which will be published through the journalists’ own outlets, as well as promoted through social media.

  • Media Gender Charter: The charter establishes minimum standards, principles, and actions needed to underpin gender equality in media in Sri Lanka and to further outline a practical program of action to support achieving equality in media workplaces, journalist’s organizations, and the media itself. IREX, working with Sri Lankan gender experts, is beginning gender audits at several media outlets that have registered their interest and willingness to take part in the initiative, which will reveal ways in which organizations can institutionalize gender equality in their work.





Linda Trail, senior technical advisor,


  • Media
  • Asia
  • Sri Lanka