Daily edition of Tamil paper launched in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 23 September 2003, 13:28 GMT]
Thamil Alai, the weekly newspaper published in Batticaloa, was launched as a daily from Monday. “We have started small but hope to soon become the main daily newspaper in the Batticaloa-Amparai region. One of our main aims is to strengthen and promote Tamil-Muslim amity. We also intend to focus on development issues,” said Mr. Pakkiaselvam Ariyanethiran who publishes the paper from Kokkoaddicholai, 15 kilometres southwest of Batticaloa.

Mr. P. Ariyanethiran
“Newspaper reading habit is not as widespread in Batticaloa as it is in Jaffna. This district had one of the lowest literacy rates in the island before the war started. The war was a good excuse to totally neglect Batticaloa’s general development; local bodies got no money to develop or stock libraries and reading rooms, several of which were turned into Sri Lanka armed forces camps," said Mr. S. Venugopal, the editor of the Thamil Alai daily.

The reading habit remains low despite the rise in literacy, said Mr. Venugopal. "Our task is difficult. But peace is now creating an environment where people have the time and mindset to read more and be curious about developments in the world outside.”



Thamil Alai office and press in Kokkaddicholai


Batticaloa’s first daily, Thinakkathir, was short lived. It was launched in 2000 and stopped publishing in 2002 following an attack on its office in Batticaloa town.

Both Mr. Ariyanethiran and Mr. Venugopal worked as journalists with the Thinakkathir.

Thamil Alai has its editorial office and press in Kokkaddicholai, the main village in the district’s hinterland controlled by the Liberation Tigers.



The Thamil Alai newspaper displayed for sale in a local business.

 

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