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)

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.

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