Promoting freedom of expression and information rights

  • Amount funded: £60,000
  • Year: 2022
  • Duration: 24 months
  • Locations: Sri Lanka
  • Grant stream: Annual Grants Call

Post-war and post-Covid regulations in Sri Lanka are impeding freedom of expression for artists and journalists. Lack of support networks and limited understanding of right to information has led to an increase in self-censorship and a reduction in civic activism.

Project partners
Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF)
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How we are helping

The project will create a national-level artists collective with a mandate to promote freedom of expression and information rights: raising public awareness and advocating for policy reform.

About the project

Freedom of expression for artists, journalists and broader civil society is restricted under new regulations in Sri Lanka. National-level civic activism has reduced as a consequence, impeded further by lack of networks and increase in self-censorship. Understanding of international complaint mechanisms and uptake of RTI application is limited, despite a positive response rate from public authorities.

Project partners Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF) will strengthen the capacity of artists and journalists to promote, raise awareness and advocate for freedom of expression. A network of artists and journalists will effectively monitor, document and report issues of media freedoms, information rights and complaint mechanisms, demanding high-level accountability and commitment to upholding freedom of expression (FoE).

This will be achieved through:

  • Creating a mandate for an innovative, socially responsible network of 75 young artists and journalists. 
  • Training network members on the concepts on FoE, information rights and the responsible use of new media tools.
  • Establishing a national level FoE and RTI database.
  • Developing a virtual platform (Facebook page) for creative, innovative expressions where media is widely shared to encourage dialogue among citizens.
  • Generating 150 media products such as memes, doodle art, short video, cartoon expression, mobile storytelling, digital drama on FoE and right to information for dissemination via the Facebook page. 
  • Creating 15 short educational videos on FoE and right to information for dissemination via the Facebook page. 
  • Facilitating 24 Facebook live discussions on the issues of FoE, right to information and free press.
  • Conducting two research initiatives on FoE and facilitating the development of an advocacy plan.
  • Organising regional meetings and national conferences to constructively engage with government officials and share media content and materials developed.

As a result of this project, it is expected that there will be an increased public awareness of the restrictions around FoE and an informed network of artists and journalists; all contributing to improved accountability and commitment to uphold FoE in policy processes.

Project Partners
Sri Lanka Development Journalist Forum (SDJF)

SDJF is an action based and learning organisation with a dedicated staff and over 500 trained volunteers, young journalists and civil society members across the country to foster a vibrant democracy and reduce voice poverty of excluded and marginalised communities. SDJF approaches include: use of new media tools such as smartphone journalism, community storytelling, radio drama, forum theatre, cartoon, photography and doodling to make transformations that lead to social changes and long term development of the country.

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