Panel – (Mis)information in the time of Covid
Sanjana Hattotuwa is an Ashoka, Rotary World Peace, and TED Fellow, and is a pioneer in the use of technology for peacebuilding. In 2006 he founded the award-winning Groundviews, Sri Lanka’s first civic media website, which he curated for over 11 years. From 2002 to 2020 he was with the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a think-tank based in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he worked on civic media, social media tactics and strategy, digital activism, and digital security for activists. He completed his doctoral studies in 2021, where he studied the complicated and symbiotic relationships between online content on social media and consequential offline socio-political developments in post-war Sri Lanka. As a Special Advisor at the Swiss-based ICT4Peace Foundation since 2006, Sanjana helps strengthen information management during crises and work on countering violent extremism online. This includes leading the Foundation’s work on these lines with the United Nations on peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and humanitarian responses. Since 2008, Sanjana has worked extensively in South Asia, South-East Asia, North Africa, Europe and the Balkans to capture, disseminate and archive inconvenient truths in austere, violent contexts. He is presently working with Te Pūnaha Matatini, at the University of Auckland, studying misinformation and disinformation ecologies in Aotearoa, New Zealand, building on over two decades of grounded research at the intersection of social media, political communication, violence generation and the fuller realisation of a country’s democratic potential.