Tissainayagam's wife accepts Mackler award

[TamilNet, Saturday, 03 October 2009, 07:19 GMT]
Ronnate Tissainayagam, wife of Sri Lanka jailed journalist, Jayaprakash Tissainayagam, accepted the Peter Mackler Award for courageous and ethical journalism, named for a 30-year veteran of Agence France-Presse who died last year, at a ceremony at the National Press Club Friday, AFP reported. Tissainayagam was honored by the US branch of Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders and Global Media Forum, a company founded by Mackler to train journalists and non-profit organizations to use the media as a tool for social change, AFP report added.

"For the last 20 years my husband has endeavoured to pursue the goals that Mr. Mackler believed in as a journalist," AFP quoted Tissainayagam's wife as saying.

"Like Peter, my husband was never too busy to encourage those who wanted to learn to write and has helped many in journalism," she said. "Today my husband is continuing to teach me courage and grace in difficult times.

"For him, no matter what the circumstances are, there is no excuse for unkindness," AFP quoted Ronnate Tissainayagam as saying. "No matter what the circumstance, fellow human beings must be treated with dignity."

On World Press Freedom day, President Obama cited Tissainayagam’s case as an example of what can happen to journalists who displease governments intolerant of criticism. Obama should call for his release and for Sri Lanka’s uprooted civilians to be returned to their homes.

Boston Globe in an editorial called an irony that Tissainayagam was thrown into prison for his writings that the Sri Lanka Government called have "creat[ed] communal disharmony" when "280,000 Tamil civilians displaced by the government’s victorious war against the separatist Tamil Tigers are currently suffering and dying in flooded, ill-provided camps" which is a real cause of disharmony,"


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