Wife of jailed Sri Lankan reporter accepts Peter Mackler Award

WASHINGTON, October 2, 2009 (AFP) – J.S. Tissainayagam, a Tamil reporter and editor serving a 20-year prison sentence in Sri Lanka, was awarded the first Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism on Friday. The Peter Mackler Award rewards journalists who fight courageously and ethically to report the news in countries where freedom of the press is either not guaranteed or not recognized.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has also selected Tissainayagam as a recipient of a 2009 International Press Freedom Award. His wife, Ronnate Tissainayagam, accepted the award, named for a 30-year veteran of Agence France-Presse who died last year, at a ceremony at the National Press Club.

Tissainayagam was honored by the US branch of Paris-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders and Global Media Forum, a company founded by Mackler to train journalists and non-profit organizations to use the media as a tool for social change.

“For the last 20 years my husband has endeavoured to pursue the goals that Mr. Mackler believed in as a journalist,” Tissainayagam’s wife said.

“Like Peter, my husband was never too busy to encourage those who wanted to learn to write and has help