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Jailed Tissainayagam awarded

October 3, 2009

AFP

Wife of jailed SLankan reporter accepts award

J.S. Tissainayagam, a Tamil reporter and editor serving a 20-year prison sentence in Sri Lanka, was awarded the first Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism on Friday.

His wife, Ronnate Tissainayagam, accepted the award, named for a 30-year veteran of Agence France-Presse who died last year, at a ceremony at the National Press Club.

Tissainayagam was honored by the US branch of Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders and Global Media Forum, a company founded by Mackler to train journalists and non-profit organizations to use the media as a tool for social change.

“For the last 20 years my husband has endeavoured to pursue the goals that Mr. Mackler believed in as a journalist,” Tissainayagam’s wife said.

“Like Peter, my husband was never too busy to encourage those who wanted to learn to write and has helped many in journalism,” she said. “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,” Ronnate Tissainayagam said. “No matter what the circumstance, fellow human beings must be treated with dignity.”

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