(May 05, We hail the Presidential pardon to English writing Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam who was sentenced to twenty years by a Sri Lanka court for charges framed under draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). This move can lead to building up of national harmony and promotion of democracy.
Tissainayagam was sentenced to twenty years rigorous imprisonment by a motive to teach a lesson to the pro-Tamil nationalist media. President Mahinda Rajapaksa provided amnesty to him a year after the victory in the war against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) to show how democratic his rule is now and to mend the friendship with the Western countries that were traditional allies of Sri Lanka. This action looks directly linked with the government's attempt to regain G.S.P. Plus tariff concessions from European Union.
Amidst war, a number of journalists that criticized the military project of the government were killed and some were harassed and detained. After the war, another set of journalists that were supporting ex-Army Commander and Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka's power project were either arrested or intimidated.
Few social activists of Sri Lanka were bold enough to take part locally in the international campaign to get Tissainayagam freed. The organizers of the meeting held in Colombo last year to protest the sentence and to urge the release of Tissainayagam were in utmost difficulty to find a venue for the meeting. Even the administration of the Jayawardhana Center where the meeting was held eventually wanted to cancel the event. Journos were scanty among the around one hundred participants of activists of this event. Tissainayagam's elderly father delivered a marvelous speech, I remember.
The fate of Tissainayagam also opened doors for a flow of money for some NGOs appearing to fight for press freedom and democracy.
Some mean characters that were holding the positions of these organizations stopped all media activities they were engaged in, if there was any, and began to find avenues to migrate to Western European countries that are socially better developed. Some of Tissainayagam's political friends were so organized that they were able to get the entire families migrated manipulating the news stories they themselves got planted in friendly media.
There are some others that fled the country actually to get rid of their wives and children. Some persons were responsible for swindling huge sums of money from the accounts of the organizations for press freedom.
Some of these thieves are now writing sensitive poetry while the majority of them do nothing except greedily devouring the newfound fantasies. The major thing they were not doing while they were in Sri Lanka also was non other than writing to media.
Most probably Tisainayagam will also migrate out of Sri Lanka with his family possibly to join the lot above mentioned. But we think Tissainayagam still can do a service to his community he fought for if he remains Tissainayagam. He will be like jailed for life if he will be caught again in another unscrupulous project of some of the artful dodgers he was in association earlier.