Jaffna journalists said facing 'calculated discrimination'
[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 June 2002, 18:18 GMT]
"Journalists in Jaffna do not have the same rights and privileges that their colleagues enjoy in the south. None of the governments that came to power in Colombo bothered to look into the grievances and problems we face here. We feel that the discrimination against us is calculated. In this context I would like to draw your attention to the tardy pace of the investigations into the dastardly murder of our colleague Mylvaganam Nimalarajan. This wouldn't have been the case if he had been a journalist in the south," said Velupillai Thavachelvam, the President of the Jaffna Journalists' Association, speaking at a conference Saturday called by Sri Lanka's media minister, Mr. Imtiaz Bakeer Makkar who is on a visit to the northern peninsula this weekend.
Armed men suspected to be members of the paramilitary group closely aligned to President Chandrika Kumaratunga murdered Mr. Mylvaganam Nimalarajan at his home in a Sri Lanka army high security zone in Jaffna town on 19 October 2000. None of the perpetrators have been brought to book so far.
"The Sri Lanka Telecom Company's branch in Jaffna is very reluctant to give telephone connections to journalists who have already sent in their applications. If the Telecom branch in Jaffna gives connections on priority to persons who give bribes, why can't it help journalists in Jaffna? There is corruption among government officials and in institutions such as the Telecom and the Petroleum Corporation in Jaffna", Mr. Thavachelvam added.
Sri Lanka's media minister Mr. Makkar and minister for Parliamentary affairs, Mr. A. H. M Azwer addressed the conference for the northern press at the Jaffna Kachcheri (District Secretariat) Saturday afternoon.
Mr. Makkar will declare open a bookshop of the state run Lake House on Stanley Road in a building owned by Minister for Hindu Affairs, Mr. T. Maheswran.