AP joins global initiative to expand reporting on religion

The Associated Press is joining with the Religion News Service and the non-profit publisher The Conversation to form a global initiative to expand news reporting on religion in the United States and around the world.The collaboration is being funded by an 18-month, $4.9 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Religion News Service’s parent organization, the non-profit Religion News Foundation. The grant represents one of the biggest investments in religion news coverage in decades.The initiative will create a joint news desk to produce multi-format coverage of major faiths, with a focus on illuminating the religious practices and principles that underlie current events and cultural movements.To help build the initiative, the AP will hire eight religion journalists, and the Religion New Service will hire three. The Conversation will add two editors. The organizations will also hire additional business staff to help administer the grant.“This collaboration significantly expands AP’s capacity to explore issues of faith, ethics and spirituality as a social and cultural force,” said AP Vice-President and Managing Editor Brian Carovillano.The initiative “fundamentally transforms religion journalism in the U.S. and globally,” said Thomas Gallagher, CEO of the Religion News Foundation and publisher of its news service. “Competent, reliable, professional religion journalism is needed more than ever.”Bruce Wilson, chief innovation and development officer at The Conversation, which publishes analysis and commentary from academic experts, said the initiative “can bring our fresh insights to an even wider range of audiences across the country and globally.”Each of the three organizations will retain editorial control of its content, which will be labeled and distributed by the AP. Opinion pieces from the Religion News Service will be available to AP members and customers but will not run on AP’s news wire.The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment has sought to improve public understanding of religion by funding documentaries about religious leaders and traditions and by supporting the Religion News Service.“This is an opportunity to bring content about religion to a much broader audience and market than has previously been possible,” said Michael Fabiano, AP’s vice-president for local media.Associated Press, The Associated Press read more

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Government says no new commitments after Zeids report

“During the Government headed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Human Rights Council, on 27 March 2014, adopted Resolution 25/1 titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, requesting the High Commissioner, inter alia, to undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the LLRC, and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures mandate holders, ” he said. The Government says there will be no additional or new commitments for Sri Lanka arising from the report on Sri Lanka by the UN High Commissioner for human rights, Zeid al-Hussein which was submitted to the ongoing 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.The Foreign Ministry quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva as saying Sri Lanka will undertake a two-year extension of the timeline for fulfilment of commitments made in Resolution 30/1. “Moreover, further international action was being envisaged on Sri Lanka as a result of the Government’s inaction on matters pertaining to rule of law, reconciliation, and governance, at the time the Presidential Election was held on 8 January 2015,” the Deputy Foreign Minister said.Following the Presidential election on 8 January 2015, the National Unity Government of Sri Lanka, under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, took steps to take ownership of reconciliation, rule of law, accountability, human rights and governance issues. (Colombo Gazette) Following this request of the Council, the High Commissioner launched the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), a first of this nature carried out by an external entity on matters pertaining to Sri Lanka. read more

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