The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) convened two consultations for journalists and media personnel over the months of July and September.
During 20-21 July 2015, a consultation was held for journalists working with print and electronic media. On the 07th of September a similar consultation was held with journalists and digital activists who work with or have knowledge of and experience with alternative and digital media.
The causes behind the fuelling of tensions and violence against minorities have created much discussion in the recent past. As a result, there has been growing scrutiny over media practice when reporting or commenting on situations of religious and communal tensions.
The participants were consulted on best practices for covering these topics with greater sensitivity and responsibility. They were also asked to reflect on how existing norms and standards could be improved. The consultation held in September, in particular, discussed the extent of harmful content online and explored ways in which the spread of such content can be controlled or countered.
Acknowledging that media personnel and journalists bring into media their own perceptions, prejudices and biases, the participants discussed the importance of individual self-evaluation, industry level media self-regulation, and how reforms could be initiated from within the media community.
The consultations produced a series of recommendations for consideration when reporting or commenting on religious and communal tensions.