Journalists island-wide pledged their commitment to social inclusion and ethics at the conclusion of the Mediathon, presented by the British Council, Colombo, and the Rainbow Institute of Communication.
The Mediathon was part of the “Strengthening Reconciliation Process in Sri Lanka” SRP program, funded by the European Union & the German Federal Foreign Office.
The Mediathon was an intensive 21- an hour online training, focusing on social inclusion and ethics for journalists.
130 full-time journalists from newspaper, radio, TV, and digital media and media students representing all main communities and languages in Sri Lanka and all 25 districts, successfully completed this training.
The Mediathon focused on the role of media in fostering attitudes and behavior that build a socially cohesive, peaceful, and prosperous Sri Lanka.
The training was conducted by three media trainers. Namely; Chief Academic Adviser of Rainbow Institute and Senior Communications Academic Dr. Mahim Mendis, Foreign Correspondent and Media Trainer, Shihar Aneez and Senior University Lecturer in Communication Studies, Ms. Thushari Gamage.
The curriculum for the Mediathion was designed by a team of British Council experts headed by Ms. Tanya Warnakulasuriya . The curriculum was localized through a workshop conducted by Ms. Warnakulasuriya, with the Rainbow Institute of Communication team of media specialists and media trainers.
Participants were divided into 6 groups classified on the basis on language. They engaged in intensive learning and practical exercises during the Mediathon. During the final session of the Mediathon, the participants designed extremely creative posters and slogans, demonstrating their commitment to media ethics and social inclusion.
An awards ceremony was held on 16 December 2021 at the Rainbow Institute of Communication premises in Colombo with 20 Journalists participating physically as a symbolic gesture. All other participants throughout the island participated online through the live stream.
The chief guest at the awards ceremony was Ms. Loise Cowcher, Director, Education and English, British Council.
Addressing the gathering, she stressed the role and responsibility of media in presenting accurate information based on the principle of “do no harm”.
She urged the Rainbow Institute and Participating Journalists to use the Mediathon training material for the benefit of more journalists, The participants were unanimous in commending the program and reiterated their commitment to applying what they learned in relation to social inclusion and ethics in their day to day work as journalists.
Dr. Mahim Mendis expressed his gratitude to the British Council for the valuable opportunity to make an impact in the field of media in Sri Lanka. He explained that the Rainbow Institute had been carrying out projects in media development and empowering journalists in professional skills development for over a decade.
These projects were implemented in partnership with international organisations and the support of the Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, FMETU, headed by Mr. Dharmasiri Lankapeli.
Earlier this year, the Rainbow Institute of Communication in partnership with the American Centre conducted 30 hours of training in Media Literacy for two hundred (200) youth leaders in ten (10) districts in Sri Lanka.
The Rainbow Institute also collaborated this year with the FMETU in developing leadership skills of seventy (70) journalists island-wide and facilitated them to strengthen themselves through unionism and networking.
This program also made provision for young journalists and women journalists to take the helm in media trade union activities by stepping into leadership roles in the Executive Committee of the FMETU. This program was supported by the International Federation of Journalists, IFJ.
The Rainbow Institute of Communication together with the FMETU looks forward to carrying out more work to strengthen media professionalism and media freedom with responsibility, contributing to enhancing the role of the fourth estate in a vibrant democracy.
Written By Monique Mendis