In the context of war, many extraordinary laws were promulgated to make sure that there were checks against those who supported separatism. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was one such draconian piece of legislation introduced as a deterrent.
However, today war is a thing of the past. The government is fast making moves in the process of reconciliation by holding elections in the North, mapping out strategies to resettle IDPs, re-establishing the transport system in the war torn areas and more importantly rehabilitating the LTTE cadres who no doubt have killed thousands of people.
The core post-war theme espoused by the government is let s forget the past and rebuild the battered nation .
There s no doubt about the fact, that one cannot expect the judiciary to drop all conflict related cases filed during the war, just because the war had come to an end. The due process has to be followed to sustain the judiciary.
Although PTA was in operation throughout the war, no journalist was indicted under the law. The decision to pass the first indictment on a journalist four months after the official declaration announcing the end of war and when the nation was fast on the path of healing and reconciliation has left many doubts in the minds of those who were optimistic about post war Sri Lanka.
The judgment was followed by announcements from two international media rights groups that they have decided to present Tissaniayagam with two prestigious international media awards. The Reporters without Borders on Monday declared Tissainayagam as the winner of their maiden Peter Mackler Award named for a top AFP journalist. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also announced that it was planning to award him the 2009 International Press Freedom Award. Besides, the US State Department has issued a strong statement on the verdict.
The fact that there s recourse for the convict that he is able to appeal against the verdict, indeed comes as a consolation and goes to prove the strength of the judiciary. It is on record that the family of Tissainayagam has already made an appeal.
The most difficult part of any moves for reconciliation at the end of a quarter century old war is to surmount the deep rooted stereotypes. That needs joint efforts by the three pillars of democracy executive, judiciary and legislature. Now that it has routed the LTTE, the biggest triumph of the government would come on the day that it makes everyone, including the media feel that war and related typecasting are things of the past.