Remembering the fallen amidst the cheer

Pix by M.A. Pushpa Kumara

It was a sombre moment last Tuesday, at the Mount Lavinia Hotel amidst the glamour and glitter of the Journalism Awards for Excellence 2007, when hundreds of journalists rose as one in darkness to pay tribute to their fallen colleagues by observing a minute's silence.

This is the annual ceremony organised by the Sri Lanka Press Institute and the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka where media personnel down their pens, leave their keyboards and cameras behind along with their deadlines just for a few hours to honour those in the profession who have achieved excellence.
The ceremony began with the presentation of five Lifetime Achievement Awards for Long and Distinguished Service to Journalism in Sri Lanka.

The Gold Medal recipients were M.J.M. Zarook, Assistant Legal News Editor of the 'Daily Mirror'; D.C. Ranatunga, a columnist of The Sunday Times; Sriya Ratnakara, veteran journalist and author; N.R.J. Aaron, who retired as Associate Editor of Daily News after serving for over 41 years; and K.T. Sivagurunathan, currently Features Editor of the 'Sudaroli' newspaper.

  • Mervyn de Silva Journalist of the Year- Dharisha Bastians of the Nation.
    Merit Award- Sunethra Athugalpura of Lakbima
  • Business Journalist of the Year Sinhala – Not Awarded,
    English – Indika Sakalasooriya of the Nation
    Tamil– Ahamed Nifras of Virakesari
  • Upali Wijewardene Feature Writer of the Year Sinhala– Sanjeewika Samarathunga of Sunday Lankadeepa
    English– Rathindra Kuruwita of the Nation
    Merit Award – Poornima Weerasekara of Daily Mirror
    Tamil – Niranjalee Roland of Virakesari
  • B.A. Siriwardena Columnist of the Year
    Sinhala–Thimbiriyagama Bandara of Ravaya
    English – K.S. Sivakumaran of the Island
    Tamil – Balasubramaniyam Kirubaharan of Thinakkural
  • Best Environmental Reporter of the Year – Saliya Kumara Gunasekera of Lakbima
    Merit Award – Ifham Nizam of the Island
  • Subramaniam Chettiar Social Development Reporter of the Year - R.A. Chandrasiri Ranasinghe of Sunday Lankadeepa
    Merit Award – M.A. Fahim of Virakesari
  • Sports Journalist of the Year – Mohamed Sa'adi Mohamed Thawfeeq of the Nation
  • Cartoonist of the Year – R.C. Pradeep Kumara of Thinakkural
    Merit Award – Asanga Indunil Weerasekara of Rivira
  • Photographer of the Year – Dinuka Liyanawatta of Daily Mirror
  • Best Designed Newspaper of the Year – Rivira Media Corporation - The Nation
  • Scoop of the Year – Jayantha Sri Nissanka of Lakbimanews
  • Young Reporter of the Year – Rasika Lakmal Jayakodi of Rivira
  • Prof. K. Kailasapathy Award for Reporting under Special Circumstances – Wilson Gnanadass of the Nation
  • Best TV News Story – Rasika Lakmal Alwis of Swarnavahini for his story on the child abducted from the Kalubowila Hospital
  • Best Radio News Story – Merit Award to Fathima Nazriya of Pirai FM

Awards by nomination

  • Sepala Gunasena Award for Defending Press Freedom in Sri Lanka - Poddala Jayantha and Sanath Balasooriya of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists' Association.
  • D.R. Wijewardene Award for Earning the Appreciation of Peers and Public awarded to four journalists killed in 2007 – Chandrabose Suthagar; Selvarajah Rajivarman; Nilakshan Sahadevan and W. Gunasinghe.

The awards were received by their family members.

Wasantha Siriwardene of the Nation accepting the trophy for the Best Designed Newspaper Poddala Jayantha and Sanath Balasooriya
M.J.M. Zarook D.C. Ranatunga
M.J.M. Zarook Chief Guest R.K.W. Goonesekere
Sanjeewika Samarathunga Dharisha Bastians
The Best Student in the Diploma in Journalism (English) course of the Sri Lanka College of Journalism - Himal Kotelawela Thamil Shelvi, wife of Chandrabose Suthagar
Dinuka Liyanawatte N.R.J. Aaron
K.T. Sivagurunathan R.A. Chandrasiri Ranasinghe
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Remembering the fallen amidst the cheer


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