Award for senior Tamil journalists stopped

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 September 2001, 16:46 GMT]
Special awards for two senior Tamil journalists were cancelled on a directive by the Sri government, media sources said Tuesday. The North-eastern Provincial Council (NEPC) announced on 2 September that Mr.Ponnaiah Manikavasagam, the correspondent for the Tamil daily Thinakkural in Vavuniya and a regular contributor to the BBC and other international media, would receive the NEPC Governor's special journalism award for 2001. It also announced that Mr. Aiyathurai Nadesan, senior correspondent and political columnist for the Tamil daily Virakesari, would get an award for his book 'The history of the ethnic contradiction in Sri Lanka' published last year. The awards for the two senior Tamil journalists were stopped for political reasons, an official of the NEPC said.

nadesan_a_1.jpgMr. Nadesan came under direct fire from state owned Tamil media for his views and his reporting in the Virakesari last week.

Senior independent Tamil journalists in the northern and eastern parts of the island have come under fire from the state owned English and Tamil media recently for taking up human rights issues in the Tamil majority areas of the island's north and east with a view to damaging the Sri Lankan government's standing in the international community.

The Sri Lankan state media accused the journalists of putting out reports and articles heavily biased towards the LTTE - a claim which they categorically deny.

Mr. P. Manikavasagam, is the President of the widely represented 'Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance' which has been fighting against discrimination against Tamil media persons.

manikavasagam_p.jpg"This is a lame excuse by the government to justify its blatant actions against Tamil journalists," said a senior media person in Colombo.

"The virulent attacks on us by the state media recently made it quite clear to us that we were going to be hounded mercilessly and inhumanly," he said.

The awards function that was to be held on 1 October has been postponed following the cancellation of the awards to Nadesan and Manikavasagam.

The organising committee for the awards function will meet on 29 October to decide the question of the awards distribution, sources said.


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