by Pearl Thevanayagam
(May 04, 2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) It was reported that Uthayan editor Kanamayilnathan lived in the office of Uthayan so he could bring out the edition on time when all hell was breaking loose. He is a true journalist who was ready to sacrifice his own life in pursuit of honest and fearless journalism. Jaffna should be celebrating this veteran journalist but sadly Tamil media just gave him a cursory one paragraph at the most while RSF (Reporters sans Frontieres) accorded him the title of super hero of journalism among the 100 on its list.
It is not clear whether he received any monetary awards from RSF but it would not be too much to ask the NPC to felicitate him in a manner fitting for a journalist who sprang from the soil of Jaffna and who took journalism to the highest norms and ethics which is now almost obsolete among journalists.
He is on par with Tarzie Vitachchi, Mervyn Silva, Gamini Navaratne et al who did not bow down to powers and who wrote honestly and with gusto.
If journalism in the North were to flourish, these journalists such as Kanamayilnathan should be cherished and provided necessary funds to further the cause of journalism highlighting the goals of Tamils and their grievances. Unfortunately Tamils are hell-bent on putting down a fellow Tamil.
As CM C.V. Wigneswaran said in his May Day message that TNA is in danger of splitting hairs instead of solving NE problems. The ego of TNA members would be stumbling block towards unifying the various factions among Tamils.
Some Tamil media are spitting venom on the chief minister and deliberately trying to cause cracks in the TNA. It was a bold and righteous move on the part of CM to mend fences with Douglas Devananda and engage with the government. This should not be seen as bowing under pressure. After all he is erudite and most respected. But he is no coward.
A case in point is the ongoing spat between Ananthi Sasitharan and M.A.Sumanthiran over UNHRC in Geneva. Oor iradupattal koothadikku kondaddam ( if the town splits the joker celebrates) was never uttered in vain and it applies to our Northern Tamils who cannot see ahead the steps which need to be taken in a constructive and meaningful manner which he has made so far on behalf of the Tamils.
Were this journalist living in a Western country he would not only be revered but allowed to carry on his profession unhindered by economic constraints. He would have been provided adequately with funds to further the cause of just journalism.
To the credit of Uthayan owner A.E.Saravanapavan MP, he was wise and of right judgement in retaining the services of Mr Kanamayilnathan.
Jaffna needs a media institute badly and Tamil diaspora instead of staging demos and supporting various Tamil NGOs should do well to bolster journalism for future generation by diverting their funds towards developing media and IT towards gearing up for 21st century media challenges.
This writer challenges Tamils to accord a fitting ceremony for Mr Kanamayilnathan and award him a considerable sum of money as prize for all the sacrifice he made on our behalf. This is the least we can do for a brave journalist.
(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)