Origin and Footsteps of SLTMA

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There was a need for a separate alliance for Tamil journalists at the time when there was no

support from some of the Sinhala Media Organizations. At this point all Tamil journalists got

together and formed themselves as Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA).

Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA) was inaugurated in 1999 in Colombo. In 1998

when S. Srikajan, a journalist of (Virakesari The Colombo based Tamil National daily) and P.

Manikawasaham Virakesari Vavuniya correspondent were arrested in July and detained by

the forces till September. The Free Media Movement didn’t volunteer to cooperate to fight

for his release. Sinhala media alliances refused to contribute in this move with their suspicion

that Tamil journalists are interlinked with LTTE. This has caused the birth of Sri Lanka

Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA). At the time when Tamil media people from Colombo, north

East province and upcountry were under threat the Tamil journalist assembled in Colombo

and conceived the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance (SLTMA). The first president and the

first secretary and the first treasurer of the alliance were Mr. S. Gurunathar, Mr.

Poobalasingham Seevahan Mr. S.Sivakumar respectively.

Messes P. Manikawasaham, T Thurairatnam, Ananth Palakidnar, S. Rajkumar, R Barati had

served as the consecutive Presidents and Messes R Barati, Vishu Karunanithi, R Sivarajah

had served as the consecutive secretaries and Mr. Srikajan had been served as the Treasurer

since 2002.

Mr. Ananth Palakidnar, Mr. A.Nixon, Mr. Srikajan were elected as the President, the

Secretary and the Treasurer respectively in the AGM held in 27-February 2012 in Colombo

after an interval of four years due to most members obtained asylum in other countries owing

to the war situation in the country.

Our journalists are taking forward the alliance clearing so much of obstacles they face.

The assassinated journalists, Mr.T.Sivaram and Mr I.Nadesan, had strived hard for the

growth of the SLTMA in the early age of the SLTMA. One of the senior journalists, Mr.R.

Barati, dedicated his long service as the secretary of the SLTMA.

We did not have enough financial aids for our activities. With the generosity of a few Owners

of some of the Tamil Media Institution, we honoured the senior and young journalists by

presenting with awards. We organized training programmes in Jaffna, Trincomalee and

Nuwaraeliya. At the time when senior journalist Mr. P. Manikavasakam served as the

president, we met the diplomats in Colombo and discussed the problems of Tamil journalists.

In 2003 Mr. Sunanda Deshapriya,the convenor of the Free Media Movement in a discussion

invited Mr.Barati, then Secretary and assisting secretary Mr. A. Nixon to work together.

We agreed and accepted the invitation. Accordingly five media movements, including Free

Media Movement,(FMM), Working Journalist Association (WJA), Muslim Media Forum

(MMF), have been working, to date for the freedom of the media.

We are currently working with SAFMA too.

In 2000 with the murder of Mr. Nimalarajan our alliance showcased a rally in Colombo, and

then in 2003 it commenced working in association with the Free Media Movement. It is

commendable that five media organizations are functioning together from that date. After the

killing of the journalist Mr.Nimalarajan, the Free Media Movement, the Working Journalists

Association, the Muslim Media Forum, and in particular, Senior Journalists M/s. Gnanasiri

Kottegoda, Lanka Peli, Sanath Balasuriya, Bodala Jeyantha, Suni Jeyasekara, seetha Ranjine

and Lasantha Ruhunuge, have been very supportive in all our protests.

Background:

The Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance was established to stabilise and enhance the Tamil

media activities in Sri Lanka .The association remains an integral body bringing all Tamil

media personnel together from all parts of the country .Since its inception the SLTMA, is

supportive of all media related activities and stood up with prime media organisations and

media activists to voice for the rights and the safety of the media personnel in the Island.

Despite intimidations and loss of lives of its members the SLTMA remained strong and

steady in dealing with the challenges it came across. The SLTMA with its dedicated members

island wide remains committed in maintaining the integrity and the dignity of the Tamil

media fraternity in the country.

Our aim is to bring all Tamil media personnel under one umbrella to maintain the integrity

and their professional dignity. While remain an integral force of the Tamil media personnel,

the Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance is also committed itself to voice for the rights of the

entire media fraternity in the country at large. Streamlining the Tamil media community to

face whatever the challenges in the profession is the vision of the Sri Lanka Tamil Media

Alliance.

Our vision: A media that gives prominence to peoples voices and promotes citizens

participation in governance

Our Mission: Infusing values of democracy and pluralism in journalists, and building

capacities of media organizations to enable decision makers to be accountable to the citizens

through their various media products.

A.Nixon

General Secretary- SLTMA

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