President Mahinda Rajapaksa has pardoned journalist J. S. Tissainayagam, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison last year on conviction of charges of printing a seditious publication - the North East monthly between 2006 and 07.
The announcement came on the World Press Freedom Day which was observed yesterday.
Asked for his views, Deputy Mass Media and Information Minister Mervyn Silva told The Island that the President s action deserved praise from the media community.
Tissainayagam was convicted on three counts, including editing, printing and distributing the publication North Eastern Monthly magazine during the period between June 1, 2006 and June 1, 2007.
Tissainayagam was arrested in March 2008 and charged with inciting violence in articles for his magazine, in addition to being accused of receiving funds from LTTE.
Tissainayagam denied any support for rebels. He was released on bail in January this year.
Subsequently, he was awarded the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism at the National Press Club in Washington in October, 2009 by the Global Media Forum and the US branch of Reporters Without Borders.