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Last updated: 01 May, 2005 - Published 13:16 GMT
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‘Great man’ award to Tamilnet editor
Sivaram's body at his residence (photo Elmo Fernando)
Sivaram was the forth person to receive 'Maamanithar' award
Murdered journalist Dhrmeratnam Sivaram was honoured with the highest ever award to a civilian by the Tamil Tigers.

A statement from the LTTE said that leader Velupillai Prabhakaran has conferred the late journalist with “Maamanithar (Great man)” award.

Sivaram is the fourth person to be awarded with “Maamanithar”.

The award was first conferred to late Prof. Alagiah Thurairajah, former vice chancellor of the Jaffna University. He was honoured after his natural death.

Murdered politicians Kumar Ponnambalam and Chandra Nehru Ariayanayagam were the other recipients of the award.

International condemnation

Sivaram was kidnapped from outside a Colombo restaurant late on Thursday evening.

He was later found dead with gunshot wounds. A former Tamil militant, Sivaram became a journalist and was the senior editor of the pro-Tamil Tiger rebel news website, Tamilnet.

Paris based media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) demanded the government bring the killers and the masterminds to justice.

International organisations and media rights groups worldwide strongly condemned the killing.

Impact on peace process
 This situation is a major drawback & impediment towards peace building
Article 19

“Impunity held by perpetrators is one of the major reasons for these continued killings. RSF urges the government to end this practise and to put every measure to end these killings,” Vincent Brossel, head of Asia Pacific desk of RSF, told BBC Sinhala.

“We are profoundly saddened and angered by this coward murder,” Agnes Callamard, executive director of Article 19 told BBC Sandeshaya (BBC Sinhala).

"We are very much concerned and this situation is a major drawback & impediment towards peace building."

Journalists killed

Journalists have been targeted in the past for political reasons.

Last year suspected Tamil Tiger rebels seriously wounded a reporter in the east of the country.

Protest in Jaffna
Journalists protesting Nimalarajan killing

Journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan was killed in the east in May 2004 after senior LTTE leader Karuna defected from the Tamil Tigers in March 2004.

Bala Nadarajah Iyer, a veteran EPDP activist, writer, and editor, was shot dead outside his house in Colombo just weeks later.

Two other Tamil journalists had to flee the country as a result of death threats.

Earlier, BBC journalist Nimalarajan Mylvaganam was shot dead in his home at Jaffna’s High Security Zone in October 2000.

After four years, Nimalarajan's killers are yet to be punished.

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