Colombo Telegraph

Tamil Politicians Became Media Oppressors

By S. V. Kirubaharan

S. V. Kirubaharan

In Sri Lanka there are few Tamil newspapers that have both local and international reputations. “Virakesari” is one of these and also one of the oldest newspapers in Sri Lanka. The news, articles and analyses it publishes, are taken seriously by diplomatic circles in Colombo and abroad.

This newspaper carries verified news items, balanced/neutral articles and analysis irrespective of race, language, religion, individuals, political parties and leaders.

Virakesari’s Sunday publication includes coverage on culture, religion and the political situation with analysis of factual realities. There are well reputed journalists with good qualifications and much experience. Some have received awards for their courageous journalism.

At least three reporters and contributors to this esteemed newspaper have been assassinated for writing facts and realities. The Editor of the Sunday edition Mr Vadivelu Thevaraj was followed by gunmen in the capital Colombo for publishing information on casualties of the war. International Media watch dogs published urgent appeals on the impending danger faced by Mr Thevaraj who has worked unstintingly in this field for nearly three decades.

Mr Thevaraj narrowly escaped those dangers and continued his ardent and honest task with respect and dignity.

Unfortunately he earned the jealousy of another journalist whose family publishes a Tamil regional newspaper in Jaffna. Three years ago this journalist (V) resigned from his job and became a grassroots politician overnight – joining the Tamil National Alliance – TNA.

In February 2009 this gentleman was abducted by unknown gunmen in Colombo. He was   released in April 2009. It is worth noting that journalists abducted are never returned alive – other than this journalist-cum-grassroots politician!

To everyone’s surprise this gentleman even withdrew the fundamental rights case filed by his lawyers and he very often travels to Europe. This led to the diaspora Tamils being very suspicious of him. Some electronic media and newspapers alleged that he sides with Rajapaksa’s regime.

Due to the ambitions of this gentleman who seems to want to be the Chief Minister of North or East, the Federal party, (one of the original coalition parties of the TULF, and the TNA), started to function again. The Federal party took new shape, creating a separate identity. A few TNA MPs told us that since this gentleman joined the TNA, many new factions and divisions have cropped up within it, and Rajapaksa’s agenda has begun to become apparent.

During the impending Eastern Provincial Council elections, this gentleman was not given a chance to stand for election. But the Leaders of the Federal Party have agreed to help him become the Chief Editor of a well-reputed newspaper in Colombo.

Recently we learned from some media that this gentleman and some of his colleagues in the Federal party started to work hard against Mr Vadivelu Thevaraj, the editor of Virakesari’s Sunday edition. They even went to the extent of seeking the help of a diplomat to back their fabricated complaint.

When one analyses the ways and means they use to work tirelessly against Mr Thevaraj, it is obvious that the reason for this underhand action is to fulfil the ambition of the journalist-cum-grassroots politician.

For a long time, many local and foreign Tamil and Singhalese media have published harsh, insulting and rude news items about the Federal party and this grassroots politician. But neither he nor his colleagues took any action in response to those media and those editors.

The way these people are harassing Mr Thevaraj shows their obvious determination to remove him from the editor’s post. Is this an indirect method of recruiting people to Rajapaksa’s side? Some observers have said that there is no mystery. The agenda is obvious. One stone to achieve many targets.

If the Federal party, its members and the TNA do not understand the hidden task of this journalist-cum-grassroots politician, in due course Rajapaksa’s agenda will be implemented without any obstacles.

Working against an Editor is not the task and path of politicians. There is enough political work for any Tamil politician, without the underhand task of ‘hitting someone below the belt’ with selfish motives.

Be aware, the international media watch dogs and others are observing these developments. 

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