Trained as a science writer, and widely experienced as a journalist across print, broadcast and web outlets, Nalaka Gunawardene is a leading commentator and analyst on social, cultural and political impacts of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in Sri Lanka. He has written and spoken widely on issues such as the digital divide, gender disparities in ICT use, rise of digital natives, social media proliferation, ICTs for good governance, online hate speech, political campaigning online, and Internet freedom.
During 2003-5, he covered the UN World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) as a journalist and broadcaster, participating in both summits (Geneva & Tunis) and also being involved in regional consultations on Internet governance and digital inclusion. In 2016-17, he is on a fellowship by the Internet Governance Academy in Germany to study internet governance and freedom of expression issues in his native Sri Lanka and Asia. During 2017, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) commissioned Nalaka to research and write a new paper, Digital Transformation in Sri Lanka: Opportunities and Challenges in Pursuit of Liberal Policies. In March 2018, Nalaka was selected as voluntary secretary of the Social Media Working Group set up by Sri Lanka’s IT industry, civil society, technical community and researchers in responded to the government’s unprecedented blocking of key social media platforms in early March 2018.