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The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012 20 th & 21 st January, 2012 Western Province Aesthetic Resort, Colombo

st January, 2012 Western Province Aesthetic Resort, Colombo Session: Representation and Articulation Date: 21 st

Session: Representation and Articulation

Date: 21 st January, 2012

Time: 10.15am-11.15am

To register for YRF 2012 and to find out more details please visit http://theyrc.org/what-we- do/yrf or email forum@theyrc.org

(Prior registration required)

The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012

The Sri Lankan IDP as Portrayed by the Media in Sri Lanka.

Sachee Ranaweera

The Sri Lankan civil war which lasted over 20 years ended in May 2009. As a nation, Sri Lanka has been waiting for this moment in history and at a time such as this, the focus of the public was on the media for reports of the war. As the reporting was being done, one group of people highlighted were the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). This paper is an attempt to bring out their identity/identities as portrayed in the media. Sunday Observer, Daily News, Daily Mirror and Tamilnet.com have been used as primary data sources, in order to analyze the ways in which the identity of the IDP has been portrayed in the media.

This paper is an attempt to analyze the primary data using a multiple analysis. Moreover, it attempts to answer the research questions, how and why the IDPs have been portrayed in a particular way. It is a research which was conducted between August and September 2010 and it was done solely, to create awareness on the various identities “given” to the Sri Lankan IDPs by media.

This research falls under the category of "Marginalization and Social Justice" because it is about a group of people who are marginalized in post war Sri Lanka. As found by the researcher, IDPs were portrayed mainly in five different ways. They are, “IDP” as “victim”, IDP as the „Other‟ , IDP: the gender identities, the female IDP and the “Trapped” IDP. However, the research also addresses the topic of the “the voice of the IDP” in which the IDP has been portrayed as someone desperately “in need”.

The study also digs deep into the ways in which media has portrayed "The Post-war State" of Sri Lanka because as Bertrand Russell states, “War does not determine who is right - only who is left” 1 ; and post war Sri Lanka should be about those who are “left”.

1 Russell, Bertrand. “Quotes.” Antiwar.com, 2010. Web. 23. Aug. 2010. <http://antiwar.com/quotes.php>

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The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012

This paper therefore, was written so that those who are “left” would be given a „voice‟. The IDPs in both the North and East were given prominence but it has deteriorated today. This paper would remind the reader that there is much to be done in Sri Lanka. Not just in terms of infrastructure development, but in terms of building up the people.

The research provides no solution, only the awareness that this limited portrayal has not done justice to who they are. It is almost impossible to portray the IDPs in a way that would justify who they are as human beings (multi-dimensional persons), because whatever identity imposed on them by the media, fails to bring out every aspect of their identity both individually and collectively. Therefore, the study consciously limits the identity of the IDP, in order to bring out how vast it really is.

Though the research has been done with the information based solely on the media, the researcher was also able to go to the North and talk to some people now re-settled. Though this research is seemingly a minute step toward creating awareness about the IDPs, it was done with a great hope that this would change perspectives and reconcile people groups in some way.

the IDPs, it was done with a great hope that this would change perspectives and reconcile

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