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J.S. Tissainayagam Granted Presidential Pardon

May 3, 2010

J. S. Tissainayagam, first recipient of the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism, was granted a pardon by Sir Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier today.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the news of a presidential pardon for Tamil journalist J.S. Tissainayagam, who received the first Peter Mackler Award on October 2, 2009,” said Camille Mackler, director of the award.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued the pardon on May 3rd, World Press Freedom Day.

A reporter for the local North Eastern Monthly Magazine and the Sunday Times and editor of the Outreachsl website, Tissainayagam was freed on bail in January pending an appeal against a 20-year jail sentence on charges of supporting terrorism and inciting racial hatred.

“As journalists around the world are subjected to unprecedented pressures, we urge Sri Lanka to allow Tissainayagam to return to his profession freely” she added.

Tissainayagam was still in prison when he received the Peter Mackler Award for journalistic courage and integrity. His wife, Ronnate Tissainayagam, accepted the award on his behalf.

You can read Reporters Without Borders statement on Tissainayagam’s pardon here.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.