January 26, 2022, Sri Lanka: “CitizensConnect,” a cutting-edge mobile journalism initiative (MOJO) by the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), is looking to expand its pool of citizen journalists to develop stories using mobile and digital technology.
Interested individuals across the island can now become a part of the CitizensConnect initiative by registering through CIR’s official website: www.cir.lk. The stories generated in Sinhala and Tamil under the initiative will be published on the CitizensConnect website – to be launched in February 2022.
The program is designed to empower those interested in becoming impactful digital storytellers through training and upskilling opportunities conducted by media veterans. It is supported by the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX) and the U.S. Government’s development agency – the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), whose mission is to increase Sri Lankans’ demand for and access to balanced, reliable, and objective news and information.
“CitizensConnect offers Sri Lanka’s digital journalists an opportunity to develop high-quality MoJo stories that fail to capture mainstream media attention. The platform is a space for citizen journalists to grow into digital storytellers,” said Dilrukshi Handunnetti, CIR’s Executive Director.
The program will bring together over 400 individuals, receiving training on the fundamentals of MoJo, ethics, and media law. Out of this, a select cohort of 100 will produce over 600 pieces of high-quality, mobile-based content in Sinhala and Tamil, prioritizing common issues faced by local communities.
The program was officially launched in December 2021 and has already conducted orientation sessions for over 100 journalists across the country, many of whom are now producing digital-format stories in their communities.
Jean MacKenzie, Chief of Party of IREX’s Media Empowerment for a Democratic Sri Lanka (MEND) project, was similarly enthusiastic. “We see CitizensConnect as a way of shedding light on issues and problems that often fall under the radar,” she said. “Ordinary citizens armed with a mobile phone, some fundamental training in journalism and boundless enthusiasm for their communities can work wonders.”
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