Honored for their work, threatened at home CPJ introduces 2009 International Press Freedom Awardees Washington, November 19, 2009—Naziha Réjiba, editor of the Tunisian online news journal Kalima, said she knows what to expect when she returns home—surveillance, harassment, and threats conducted by one the world’s most repressive governments. “While I’m speaking, many homes of Tunisian journalists are completely surrounded,” Réjiba, one of four recipients of the 2009 International Press Freedom Awards, told reporters at the National Press Club today, describing state surveillance. The Committee to Protect Journalists gives the awards each year to courageous journalists working in dangerous and repressive circumstances. At today’s press conference, CPJ also introduced awardee Mustafa Haji Abdinur, an Agence France-Presse correspondent and editor-in-chief of Radio Simba in Somalia. Two other CPJ awardees, J.S. Tissainayagam of Sri Lanka and Eynulla Fatullayev of Azerbaijan, were recognized but not present: They are imprisoned in their home countries in retaliation for their work.(more)

The Tissanayagam Felicitation Ceremony

Please see photo gallery Jayathilake Bandara sings about Thissainayagam at Felicitation Ceramony held in Colombo on 7 th October. This song made by Manjula Wediwardane on 31 August the date thissa was Sentanced
Sri Lankan journalist J.S Tissainayagam rewarded by the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism
Global Media Forum and the US branch of Reporters Without Borders have formally awarded the respected Sri Lankan journalist and editor J. S. Tissainayagam as first winner of the Peter Mackler Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on October 2, 2009. His wife, Ronnate Tissainayagam, was present at the ceremony to receive the Award. “For the last 20 years my husband has endeavoured to pursue the goals that Mr.Mackler believed in as a journalist. Like Peter, my husband was never too busy to encourage those who wanted to learn to write and has helped many in journalism. 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. No matter what circumstance fellow human beings must be treated with dignity », said Ronnate Tissainayagam. J. S Tissainayagam is a respected Tamil journalist and editor who wrote for the North Eastern Monthly Magazine and the Sunday Times in Sri Lanka. And is the founder of the website Outreachsl.com. He was arrested March 7, 2008 by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) of the Sri Lanka police and got a 20 year sentence on terrorism charges today on August 31st.(more)
ICJ Condemns Misuse of Anti-Terrorism Laws to Prosecute Sri Lankan Journalist, J. S. Tissainayagam 11 September 2009 Today the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) released its Trial Observation Report (http://www.icj.org/IMG/ICJ_Tissa_Trial_Observation_Report_11_Sept_09.pdf) regarding proceedings before the Colombo High Court in the prosecution of J.S. Tissainayagam, a Tamil journalist. On 31 August 2009, Mr Tissainayagam was convicted under anti-terrorism laws and sentenced by Judge Deepali Wijesundara to 20 years “rigorous imprisonment.” (more) ---------------------------------------------- Blow to media freedomThe August 31 verdict of a Colombo High Court sentencing the veteran journalist and columnist J.S. Tissainayagam to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment under the country’s draconian anti-terror law has raised concerns across the world on the ...
CPJ award goes to jailed Sri Lankan journalist New York, August 31,2009. The Committee to Protect Journalists announced today that it will honor imprisoned Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam with a 2009 International Press Freedom Award. Tissainayagam, left, sentenced today to 20 years in prison on specious charges of violating anti-terror laws, is one of five journalists who will be honored by CPJ at a ceremony in November. The full slate of awardees, selected by CPJ's Board of Directors this summer, will be formally announced in September. A Colombo High Court sentenced Tissainayagam to 20 years of hard labor in the first conviction of a journalist under the country's harsh anti-terror laws. Tissainayagam, known as Tissa, suffers from poor health and said his confession to the charge was extracted under threat of torture, according to his lawyers. (more)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Summary of the Order

Journalist Tissainayagam was indicted in the
High Court of Colombo on the following offences…

1. Between the 1st of June 2006 and the 1st of June 2007 you have with persons unknown to the prosecution, with intent to commit a crime with a common intention with or without premeditation by word, sign, or visual representation have caused to wit arousing communal feelings by editing, printing or distributing the magazine called North Eastern Monthly, you have conspired and committed the offence punishable under s.113(b) and s.102 and The Prevention of Terrorism Act.

2. You have in the same course of events, have published or distributed the articles listed herein in the North Eastern Monthly magazine and committed the offence as referred to in the above law.

3. You have in the course of the said events, collected money or made payments on terrorism or aided and abetted by collecting money for the said magazine, North Eastern Monthly has committed the offence as referred to in the Emergency Regulations published on the 6th of December 2006.(more)

Friday, September 4, 2009

National Peace Councilof Sri Lanka
Media Release

...............The National Peace Council believes that at the root of the harsh prison sentence is the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which is a draconian law with a disproportionate impact that is aimed at apprehending terrorists and not journalists who use the pen and not the sword to influence the politics of the society in which they live. Mr Tissainayagam was the first journalist to be formally charged under this law for his writings. A number of eminent witnesses had given evidence at the trial that Mr Tissainayagam was not a person who would incite communal disharmony and had stood for human rights in general, including the rights of Tamil people affected by the war. This was our conviction too. ....... (more)

JDS - 005/AUG/09
මාධ්‍ය නිවේදනය / 31 අගෝස්තු 2009
ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදයට විලංගු ලයි:

තිස්සනායගම්ට විසි වසරක සිර ද~ුවමක්
ජනමාධ්‍යවේදී ෙජ්.එස්. තිසෙයිනායගම් ත්‍රස්තවාදය වැළැක්වීමේ පනත යටතේ 2009 අගොස්තු 31 දින විසි වසරක
බරපතල වැඩ සහිත සිර දඩුවමකට ලක් කිරීම ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදය සඳහා මාධ්‍යවේදියෝ සංවිධානය හෙළා

31 August 2009
Tissainayagam sentenced to 20 years:
Democracy in chains in Sri Lanka
Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka condemns the sentencing of journalist J.S. Tissainayagam to twenty
years rigorous imprisonment under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) on August 31, 2009.
Tissainayagam’s sentence is based on a ‘confession’ that he has refuted and two articles written and published by him in 2006. The judgment also states that the two articles written by Tissainayagam that are the subject of this investigation contain material that causes ‘communal disharmony’, and this too is considered a basis for his sentence. Tissainayagam has never engaged in, or promoted, violence of any kind, and we have always known him to be committed to co-existence and inter-ethnic justice. (more)

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena,
September 5th 2009, - Focus on Rights',
The Sunday Times

It was a week dominated by the unprecedented sentencing of senior journalist JS Tissainayagam to twenty years hard labour under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) No 48 of 1979 (as amended) and prevalent Emergency Regulations for the writing of two articles in a journal some years back. A third charge related to the obtaining of funds to run that journal, thereby constituting the collection of monies for the furtherance of terrorist acts. (more)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tissainayagam's detention highlighted by Obama

May 02, 2009 (LBO) - US President Barack Obama said he was concerned about threats against the media the world over, and mentioned the plight of Sri Lankan journalist J S Tissainayagam who has been detained for over a year.

"In every corner of the globe, there are journalists in jail or being actively harassed: from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, Burma to Uzbekistan, Cuba to Eritrea," Obama said in a statement marking World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
"Emblematic examples of this distressing reality are figures like J S Tissainayagam in Sri Lanka, or Shi Tao and Hu Jia in China.
"We are also especially concerned about the citizens from our own country currently under detention abroad: individuals such as Roxana Saberi in Iran, and Euna Lee and Laura Ling in North Korea."
Tissainayagam has been detained and is on trial over his writings on Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict, especially references to Tamil Tiger rebels and the plight of Tamil civilians affected by the conflict.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

17 March 2009SRI LANKA
UN Human Rights Council urged to intercede on behalf of two detained journalistsReporters
Without Borders, which has consultative status with the United Nations Human Rights Council, today asked the council to intercede on behalf of two imprisoned Sri Lankan journalists, J.S. Tissainayagam and N. Vithyatharan, and to meet as quickly as possible to discuss the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.(more)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

For immediate release – 6 March 2009
Sri Lanka:
Free Journalist Detained on Terrorism Charges
365 days after Sri Lankan journalist J.S. Tissainayagam was detained underAnti-Terrorism legislation, ARTICLE 19 joins many people and organisationsaround the world calling for his immediate release. (more)
International Press Freedom Groups Call for Justice for Jailed Journalist
One year after Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam was detained without charge in Sri Lanka, international media rights organisations remain deeply worried about his continuing detention on charges of terrorism.Marking the anniversary of his detention on March 7, 2008, the International Press Freedom Mission is calling for the unconditional release of Tissainayagam, who has been subjected to arbitrary court adjournments and is suffering ill health. (more)
Vigil at Sri Lankan Embassy (London) calls for renowned journalist to be released, as he approaches one year in prison
( more photos)
Amnesty International today called on the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels to stop the continuing harassment of journalists and media workers - a policy that has left the country's people open to abuse in a conflict that journalists cannot report on freely.
The call came at a vigil outside the Sri Lankan Embassy in London to mark the continuing detention of the renowned journalist and human rights defender Jayaprakash Sittampalam Tissainayagam, first arrested on 7 March 2008.
Amnesty International's Sri Lanka researcher said:
"Without a free media able to express alternative views and offer the opportunity for public scrutiny, abuses can flourish under a veil of secrecy and denial.
'Sri Lanka's climate of impunity for attacks on the media has made it impossible to get an accurate impartial picture of what is happening in the country. By threatening journalists with the risk of arrest, and failing to protect them from attack, the government is failing its citizens.'
A year ago Tissainayagam, a journalist for the Sri Lankan Sunday Times and the North Eastern magazine, was taken into custody by the Terrorist Investigation Department - part of the Sri Lankan police force. His 'crime' was composing a number of articles critical of the government. His trial has been repeatedly postponed and serious questions have been raised as to whether he will get a fair trial.
Amnesty International believes Tissainayagam is a prisoner of conscience and is calling for his unconditional release.
Since 2006 at least 14 media workers have been killed and hundreds of others harassed and attacked by both sides of the conflict. More than 20 have fled the country in response to death threats. The cases are emblematic of the problems journalists and media workers face in the war-torn country.
Tissainayagam was detained after he went to inquire about the whereabouts of writer and publisher N. Jasikaran and his wife Valarmathi. He was subsequently charged 'causing or commissioning the act of violence, racial disharmony' through articles in the North Eastern Monthly magazine. Although it is not in the official charge, statements by senior governments have indicated that the main reason for his arrest is because of his writing in the Sunday Times newspaper.
The writing and publication of the magazine occurred during the period of the Ceasefire Agreement, where the Government made a commitment not to detain or arrest anyone under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. On this basis alone, the indictments should not have been served.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sri Lanka: Free Journalists Held Illegally
Due Process Violated in Tissainayagam Case

(New York) - President Mahinda Rajapakse should order prosecutors to drop all charges against journalists held on politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the president today. J.S. Tissainayagam, a journalist, and N. Jashiharan, a publisher, and his wife, V. Valamathy, have been in detention since March 2008.
The letter identified serious violations of due process and the right to a fair trial by the authorities in Tissainayagam's case.
"Tissainayagam's arrest was politically motivated and his detention has involved a litany of due process violations," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The prosecution of journalists only reinforces the impression that the government has embarked on a systematic campaign to smother free media."
In recent months, media freedom in Sri Lanka has come under serious assault, including the recent killing of the journalist Lasantha Wickremetunga and an attack on the offices of Maharaja Television in Colombo.

Related Materials:
Letter to President Mahinda Rajapakse of Sri Lanka to Free Journalists Unfairly Held
Sri Lanka: Attacks Highlight Threat to Media
Sri Lanka: Free Journalists Unfairly Held

Tissainayagam’s arrest was politically motivated and his detention has involved a litany of due process violations. The prosecution of journalists only reinforces the impression that the government has embarked on a systematic campaign to smother free media.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Being the 300 days of detention

Photos about a vigil on 1st January, 5pm, in front of Fort railway station- being the 300 days of detention of Tissa, Jesse and Valarmathy(more)

Colombo High Court convicts journalist JS Tissanayagam under prevntion of Terrorism Act, sentences to 20 years rigorous imprisonment