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Friday, 20 October, 2000, 14:20 GMT
Nimalarajan: Reporting from the frontline
By Sinhala service editor Priyath Liyanage

Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan, who has been shot dead in his home, spent most of his 38 years working as a journalist in Jaffna, the epicentre of Sri Lanka's ethnic conflict which has destroyed over 60,000 lives in the past decade.

Although the situation in the region had become increasingly tense and dangerous, he continued to report on the war, human rights abuses and other political activities in the peninsula.

Nimalarajan remained in Jaffna during the time when the town fell under the control of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam).

Nimalrajan
Nimalrajan: Reported for the BBC from Jaffna
And he continued to do so after government forces recaptured the city.

He was a simple man who always had a smile.

He knew everyone in Jaffna, and everyone in Jaffna knew Nimal.

And he knew the dangers involved in reporting from Jaffna.

Threats

Threats and intimidation were a regular occurrence.

When other journalists stopped reporting from northern Sri Lanka, Nimalarajan did not join them because there was a story to be told.

In the past 12 months, most journalists in Jaffna have been silenced by threats they have received - mainly from political parties created by former militants.

During the recent election campaign, which ended last week, he is said to have received many such threats.

His loss will mean a complete news blackout from the peninsula and there will be no one to inform the outside world objectively of what might be happening in the area.

Nimal often talked about the risks he faced working in one of the most dangerous spots in the world, but this never prevented him from doing his job.

He never stopped campaigning for press freedom in an environment where most basic rights were marginalised by the continuing war.

Many of his colleagues and the people of Sri Lanka will remember him for his courage and a man who gave his life for what he believed.

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See also:

20 Oct 00 | South Asia
Sri Lanka journalists condemn killing
10 Oct 00 | South Asia
Violence mars Sri Lanka poll
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