Two new sites for dissent

Came across two new sites for dissent and critical perspectives in Sri Lanka have cropped up recently.

fd

Forgotten Diaries was started in June ’08 and only has a handful of posts. However, the content in these posts is very thought provoking, though judging by the paucity of comments, it is unlikely that this blog is well known.

jd

Just Dissent is brand new. Begun in March 2009 it already has content in English and Sinhala which is largely linking to wire reports on the web. The latest post at the time of writing, I am a Traitor, challenges apathy and encourages pro-active participation to strengthen democracy.

The idiom in Just Dissent is more immediate and visceral, whereas the prose in Forgotten Diaries, which features content from In Mutiny, is more measured. Both however offer new sites for debate and discussion for those connected to the web and interested in civic identity, nationalism, democracy and conflict transformation.

That’s two more valuable spaces in a context where independent media and the freedom of expression are almost non-existant.

Mainstream bloggers?

Indi and Dinidu are two examples of bloggers who transition easily, and arguably effectively, between new and mainstream print media. Indi’s just taken up a column in the Sunday Leader (as I have, more anon) and Dinidu was formerly with the Daily Mirror, helping them inter alia to set up a Twitter feed. Both write regularly on their blogs, treating blogs not as another chore but an integral part of their self-expression and work.

The three of us are perhaps the only bloggers in Sri Lanka that engage regularly with mainstream media (though authors such as David Blacker write the occasional piece). I have an on-going English TV talk show, write to Montage and Spectrum monthly, have just accepted to write a column in the Sunday Leader, blog here, edit and manage Groundviews, occasionally give input into Vikalpa, Vikalpa’s YouTube channel, archive websites at risk of being blocked or just dissapearing and am part of a many other web initiatives that seek to promote progressive, civil dialogue aimed at securing dissent and democracy in a violent context.

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Blogs and media censorship – Iran and Sri Lanka

“Given the repressive media environment in Iran today, blogs may represent the most open public communications platform for political discourse. The peer-to-peer architecture of the blogosphere is more resistant to capture or control by the state than the older, hub and spoke architecture of the mass media model.”

The very same could be said of the blogoshere in Sri Lanka today.

Read the fascinating study, Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere, conducted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society here.  

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