Groundviews was launched in November 2006 and is the first citizen journalism website in Sri Lanka. The central idea was to use a blog to publish compelling content in the form of text, audio, video and photos in English, Sinhala and Tamil. The strategy was to raise awareness of the blog virally. Key authors were asked to contribute pithy and provocative articles that pushed the boundaries of polity and traditional media and forced readers to think outside their comfort zones. Up to 27th May 2009 alone, the site received 235,000 pageviews and now gets around 2,250 page views a day.
Groundviews fosters citizen journalism and is accessed widely around the world. It's a website which was started in Colombo, Sri Lanka. What no media dares to report, Groundviews publicly exposes everything. It's a new age media for a new Sri Lanka. Groundviews offers a multiple perspective on the civil war, by writings, pictures, eye-witness accounts, unbiased blogs, etc. It is the first website from Sri Lanka which fits into a mobile and thus, is accessible to a lot of citizens. Free media at its very best!
To demonstrate, by example, that citizen journalism can enable civil, progressive and inclusive discussions on democracy, rights, governance and peace in Sri Lanka.
In December 2007, Groundviews was awarded an Award of Excellence in New Communications from the Society for New Communications Research. It is the first and to date only civil society and media web initiative in Sri Lanka to have won a competitive international award for excellence in journalism and media. “Groundviews exemplifies the mission of this awards program: the successful and innovative use of new communications solutions and social media practices to enhance communications and relationships” commented Mike Manuel, SNCR Best Practices committee chairman.In 2009, Groundviews won the prestigious Manthan Award South Asia, E-NEWS category. The grand jury’s evaluation of the site noted, “What no media dares to report, Groundviews publicly exposes. It’s a new age media for a new Sri Lanka… Free media at it’s very best!”
This site was the first attempt in Sri Lanka to create a means through which citizens in civil society could pen their own perspectives of life in conflict zones, call attention to humanitarian emergencies, give information on security / ground conditions and present alternatives to the status quo. The site is also a forum for critical debate, including academic commentary anchored in ground reality that would or could not find expression in traditional / mainstream media in Sri Lanka today.
Groundviews was set up under the Voices of Reconciliation Project, conducted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) from 2005 – 2006 and funded by CIDA and AusAID. From February 2007 to late 2009, Groundviews did not receive any funding from local or international sources. From late 2010 to date, core operational costs are met by funding from Ford Foundation. The Centre for Policy Alternatives is the institutional anchor for Groundviews, since its inception.
Digital Knowledge Center (DKC) is an initiative of Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) & National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) to function as an ‘Online repository’ of best digital contents for development in India and South Asia.
With the incoming of new technology in ICT and digital content technology along with various technology delivery platforms, a lot many interventions in digital content have been taking place in South Asia. Interventions are visible in all major areas – Education, Learning, Health, Governance, Entertainment, Localization, Commerce, Culture, Environment, Tourism, Infrastructure and so on. Creation of digital content, its deployment, service delivery and usage has increased each day.
While these developments are taking place, it is equally critical to have these interventions and practices shared, exchanged, and deployable from one place to another. For this to happen, one needs to have a resource bank available for learning, sharing and replication. Digital Knowledge Centre works as such a platform in audio-visual documentation format, which provides solutions to many of our social, economic, cultural and governance challenges.