By Amarthanayagam Nixon –
Ponniah Manikavasagam, a veteran journalist of the media world, was a role model for Tamil media and Tamil journalists. He was an innovator in the world of Tamil journalism. He faced threats to his life during the war. But it can be said that his journalistic skills and knack for defying fate saved his life.
But when he was caught in the grip of the disease, in a state where he was expecting death, he gave his new experiences and a historical treasure about the political problems and sufferings of the Eelam Tamils as a book for future generations.
Specifically, The book ‘Memories and events are waves of thoughts crashing into the Chest’, compiled by him from his forty years of experience as a journalist, is an excellent textbook for Tamil journalists and media students.
Manikavasagam, who entered the media industry in 1983 when information technology was not developed, worked till his death on the twelfth of April 2023, when information technology was at its peak. That is, he kept writing.
It is said that old people do not have information technology skills. Or old people can never learn it. But he was familiar with all the workings of the new information technology. According to this, this book talks about the journalistic aspect of Manikavasagam and the definition of how news develops and blossoms, and the nature of the news.
This book shows the social role and commitment that a journalist should have. Written on sixty-six topics, each of his news experiences reveals solid – and fair – information. Also, the book is arranged in such a way that it covers all the explanations about the news. In particular, a news item, an idea, a program, and an issue that is real, accurate, honest, relevant to the present, and a type of explanation that arouses people’s interest.
News is not defined by technology, or by journalists, or the techniques they use. Also, the principles and purpose of journalism are defined by something very basic. News should have many changes in people’s lives. The behavior of journalists should also be adjusted accordingly. Manikavasagam formulated these characteristics as his moral rules in a unique way.
News is that part of communication that keeps us informed of the changing events, issues, and characters in the world outside. Though it may be interesting or even entertaining, the foremost value of news is as a utility to empower the informed.
Manikavasagam was the one who realized these things and carried out his news work. To be clear, journalism is not an eight-hour job. Must be willing to work around the clock at times. We should keep a close eye on what is happening in the country and in the world. Corresponding readings should include communications with relevant people.
Because of this, the news industry cannot be compared with other industries. Only people with social commitment can work as journalists. So Manikavasagam was a good example of how a journalist should be.
The purpose of journalism is thus to provide citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, their communities, their societies, and their governments.
The book written by Manikavasagam deals with the political histories of the Tamil community, especially the tragedies, and injustices faced by the Tamils during the thirty years of war. The articles in the book reveal details about whether or not there is democracy in the North East.
Manikavasagam does not insert his wishes and expectations in news and news articles. Instead, he will present the news as complete news with proper sources. The message he wrote would be perfect. No errors can be found. Therefore, there is no doubt that the book written by Manikavasagam is a historical document.
He passed away early in the morning on the twelfth of April 2023. He was still writing the article till that night. An honest and dedicated journalist is one who writes about his community even at the end of his life. Every young journalist today should definitely learn about Manikavasagam’s journalism work.
Manikavasagam’s forty years of news work have brought glory not only to the Vavuniya region but to every regional journalist in Sri Lanka.
It would be more fitting if Manikkavasakam can be said to be a regional and national and international journalist. Also, Manikavasagam is an example of how regional journalists are important at the national and international levels. He was seventy-six years old when he died.
*Amarthanayagam Nixon is Journalist. a former president of Tamil Journalists Union