Let’s recognise those who pen letters to the Editor

By Arul, Colombo 13

The Journalism Awards for Excellence has become an annual event. Deserving journalists receive awards in recognition of their work in the field, and this encourages other journalists to do better. It is a way of honouring the good and essential work of journalists.

In this connection, I would like to make a suggestion. It would be a good idea to give the same kind of recognition to those concerned citizens who regularly contribute to the Letters To The Editor column. These people too are writers, and they too should be recognised and honoured in a similar way for their contribution to the media.

They help by highlighting current and local issues and problems. Many of them write very well indeed, and what they write can be highly beneficial to society.

The late Geo. P. Solomons, to mention just one such writer, wrote excellent letters to the newspapers. These letters were filled with wit, and written in his inimitable style. Many highly educated and experienced people, including retired civil servants and professionals, write letters to the editors. We should give these writers due recognition, as individual writers and as a class or category of writers in their own right.

Close to a century ago, Lytton Strachey, the eminent English writer and a prominent member of the famous Bloomsbury Group, described letters as being “the only really satisfactory form of literature”. Perhaps letters will be regarded as a form of literature in the 21st century.

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