Sri Lanka
More than five years have passed since the Sri Lankan government seized the last area controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. Since 2009, the country has been reluctant to come to terms with its past. Instead, recriminations over abuses continue from both the majority Sinhalese and the Tamil minority. The civil war which lasted over 25 years has left noticeable scars on both sides.

In January 2015, Maithripala Sirisena was elected president. The former health minister promised to tackle a number of these problems, to strengthen the democratic process and to push ahead with reform. Parliamentary elections followed in August of the same year bringing a coalition of democratic parties to power. These developments are expected to stimulate new social and political discussions around the themes of reconciliation and social integration.

MiCT’s activities aim at fostering reconciliation between different ethnic and religious groups in the country by way of strengthening professionalism and transparency in the media sector. The project relies on close cooperation with publishing houses as well as journalists of various ethnic and confessional backgrounds. Tamil and Singhalese media professionals will participate in activities alongside Muslim journalists and publishers.

The project is funded by the European Union and the Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development and implemented by MiCT together with two local partner organisations: The Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka (SLPI/PCCSL), located in Colombo, and the University of Jaffna.

MiCT has an editorial Team based in Berlin, Colombo and Jaffna and besides publishing on a weekly basis, there are also journalism training workshops taking place in a number of cities in different regions of Sri Lanka. Articles produced in tandem by both Tamil and Sinhalese journalists will be published on the project’s trilingual website called The-catamaran.org.

Original reporting from The-Catamaran will be made available for syndication in Sri Lankan and international media, the aim being to give novice reporters exposure and help experienced local journalists reach a wider audience. Their work together on the story portal will strengthen vital ties and increase opportunities for collaboration between journalists from right around the country, contributing to capacity building in the Sri Lankan media sector.