Jaffna’s leading newspaper Uthayan was nominated for a prestigious award that is given annually by the international media watch dog organisation Reporters Sans Frontieres for working independently, despite the war raging in the north of the country. It was nominated along with the Democratic Voice of Burma (Burma), An-Nahar (Lebanon) and the Russian bi-weekly Novaya Gazeta, which carried away the award at a foundation held in Paris on December 12.
“At least five of its employees have been killed this year, two of them in an attack on the newspaper on the eve of World Press Freedom Day. The press that prints the Colombo edition was the target of an arson attack in September. In Jaffna, the newspaper has twice been forced to publish communiqués at gunpoint,” RSF said.
In 2002, the Uthayan received an honourable mention for reporting under special circumstances at the Journalism –Awards of Excellence conducted by the Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka.