New Tamil daily launched in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 October 2002, 14:52 GMT]
A new Tamil daily newspaper, Namathu Eelanadu, hit the stands in Jaffna Tuesday. With the arrival of Eelanadu, readers in the northern peninsula will have four daily papers to provide them news and views. The paper’s editor Mr. Sivasubramaniam Raguram, said that Eelanadu will be published on the web too. Jaffna has one of the oldest and richest regional newspaper publishing traditions in South Asia.

Eelanadu would be competing in the Jaffna newspaper market with the dailies Uthayan, Valampuri and Thinakkural. The Tamil dailies published from Colombo, Thinakaran and Virakesari are also available in the peninsula now.

Four daily papers, Murasoli, Eelamurasu, Uthayan and Eelanadu, were published in Jaffna in 1986-87. The Indian army which arrived in the peninsula under the Indo Lanka agreement in July 1987, bombed the Eelamurasu and arrested its staff in October that year when it started military operations against the Liberation Tigers.

Namathu Eelanadhu
A new Tamil daily newspaper, Namathu Eelanadu, hit the stands in Jaffna Tuesday.
From 1990 to 95 only two dailies, Uthayan and Eelantham, were published in Jaffna. Newsprint too was banned under the economic embargo Sri Lankan government on the north at the time, crippling the regional newspaper industry there.

Uthayan was the only daily that was able to continue publishing in the northern peninsula after the Sri Lanka Jaffna army captured Jaffna in early 1996. It ran unhindered and without any potential or real competitors under the SLA’s dispensation in Jaffna until the launch of the daily, Valampuri, in December 1999.

“We believe in healthy competition. It is good for the growth of a vigourous fourth estate in Jaffna,” says Namathu Eelanadu editor.

The first newspaper in Jaffna, Uthayatharakai (Morning Star) was published in 1841. It was a bilingual paper. Papers such as Catholikka Pathukavalan, Catholic Guardian, Hindu Organ (bilingual), Dravida Kokila and Suthesanaattiyam were published from mid 19th century to the turn of the 20th century.

The next major landmark in Jaffna’s newspaper history was Eelakesari (Lion of Eelam), published in 1930 by Mr. N. Ponnaiah, a social worker and a businessman from Kurumbasiddy.

Jaffna’s first daily, Eelanadu was published in 1961. Mr. S. M Gopalaratnam from Batticaloa was the founding editor of the paper.

“Namathu Eelanadu comes in the tradition of Eelanadu. It will be the Tamil homeland’s vanguard daily,” editor Raguram said.

 

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