The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) in collaboration with The Asia Foundation hosted the inaugural Research Symposium on Media and Democracy with the participation of leading academics, ambassadorial representatives, media professionals, civil society members, and undergraduates at the Orchid Hall of the BMICH on 08 November 2022.
The day opened with academic panel discussions on the role of Media in various fields and disciplines, including: Politics, Democracy, Social Media, Gender, Peace and Reconciliation, Mis- and Dis-Information where academics from different parts of Sri Lanka came together to present their research and engage in knowledge sharing. These sessions were moderated by four experts in the field of media, namely: Dr. Senesh Dissanaike Bandara, Dr. M.C. Rasmin, Dr. Achala Abeykoon and Mr. Asoka Dias.
The panel discussions were followed by an Award Ceremony which was graced by the presence of the SLPI Chairman Mr. Kumar Nadesan. The keynote address was delivered by political scientist and University of Colombo Professor Emeritus Jayadeva Uyangoda, who made the following observation: “Sri Lanka at present is in a rare democratic moment which is also running the risk of losing its momentum. That is why re-democratizing politics and re-democratizing the media should be viewed as an interdependent process of system change.”
The Award Ceremony felicitated presenters as well as winners of the Photography, Digital Art, and Short Film Competitions held in conjunction with the Research Symposium. The award for the best research paper was received by D. N. Jayarathne for her research on ‘Social Media Reporting during the Covid-19: Comparative Study between Sri Lanka and China’. T.M.A. Thennakoon received the award for the best photograph for his entry ‘Economy Protest’ while cartoonist Namal Amarasinghe placed first in the Digital Art Competition for his work ‘The Magic Lamp’, and the film ‘Fear of Haha’ directed by Nerun Kalpajith bagged the first place in the Short Film category.