I am delighted to participate in IFJ’s regional online organising conference – FUTURE POWER: Organising media in challenging times. I am representing the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions –FMETU Sri Lanka.

It is also very important that this event is focusing on impunity to mark the International Day to End Impunity.

I am very happy to state that FMETU, our union just concluded very successfully the planned activities under the 2021 IFJ pilot project named IFJ-UTU project.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that for three consecutive years, 2019, 20, and 2021, FMETU was able to make a tremendous impact due to the IFJ-UTU program.

I would now like to share our experiences through the IFJ-UTU project that we implemented this year


• Our program focused on how the FMETU works to transform our membership to widen it’s scope by mobilizing with new members, and adapting to digital disruption in the Sri Lankan Media Industry.

• With the rapid spread of the pandemic in Sri Lanka, this program was carried out entirely online. This was a new experience for our members. At the onset we engaged in discussions with our members the importance of including mre women journalists and more young journalists in our union. We Identified the need for constitutional reforms to include women and younth in leadership positions. We then conducted online workshops to develop skills of young journalists and women journalists on leadership and role and responsibility of leaders.

• . We engaged with 70 journalists from all the districts in Sri Lanka, using the two major languages of Sri Lanka (Sinhala And Tamil) The discussions were lively and productive.

• This project helped FMETU to \realize the much needed the website. The trilingual website was launched in the presence of of Jeremy, Sabina, and Umesh at our delegates’ conference held on 30 October. The website serves as a platform to bring together journalists from Sri Lanka and around the world together. It is also a portal for Sri Lankan journalists to post articles on important issues.

• We have enabled a historical achievement through a radical transformation of the FMETU Constitution. This change makes it possible to to increase the representation of Sinhala and Tamil-speaking young journalists and women journalists in the FMETU executive committee. We were able to make it mandatory to appoint a women journalist to one of the three top posts ( President, General and Treasurer). We also took steps to increase the representation of youth and women journalists in the Executive Council.

• It is not surprising that in the context of the male dominated traditional culture in Sri Lanka, our bid to empower women and youth and elevate them to leadership met with opposition from certain traditional male journalists. They opposed the to a change of the constitution to bring in women and representatives of minority communities to the executive committee. However with a great deal of diplomatic discussion and support from the majority of our members, the spoilers were defeated and the proposed constitutional amendment made.

• In the context of achievements through the project, we are also challenged with lack of resources for the continued maintenance of the website. We respectfully solicit IFJ Asia’s continuous support for the development and improvement of the website.

• Finally, a big thank you to Jane and the IFJ Asia Pacific office Staff for their continued support to the development of FMETU Sri Lanka.. You have been a tower of strength to us continuously and helped us greatly in our forward journey. Thank you so much for this opportunity to present a glimpse of our work in Sri Lanka with your collaboration.