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Fellows' Papers
Journalism & Democracy

Media Freedom in post-war Sri Lanka and its impact on the reconciliation process

At the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in May 2009, many hoped that this would represent a sharp break with the past and usher in a new period of media freedom.  However, as the BBC Tamil Service producer Swaminathan Natarajan shows, such hopes have proved ill-founded.For his research paper, Media Freedom in post-war Sri Lanka and its impact on the reconciliation process, Swami interviewed 20 journalists from different regions and backgrounds.   12 of them say their personal safety has not improved since the war, 13 say they are still not able to travel to different parts of the country to report, and 12 say they are not able to contribute to the reconciliation process. Swami places these findings in the broader context of political events since the end of the war.  He includes case studies of two women who have attempted to use the media in their efforts to seek justice for their murdered husbands, and an analysis of the impact of two recent Channel 4 documentaries on the Sri Lankan government.  He also examines how Tamil groups in the diaspora are increasingly using the western media to confront the government and the impact of several new websites started by journalists working in exile.