Jaffna Press Club has pledged to “follow in the path” of Pragas Gnanapragasam, a 26-year old Tamil journalist who died on Thursday, and work towards realising his dreams. In a condolence statement, the Club paid tribute to Gnanapragasam and the integrity of his journalism.
“As the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on people who serve the public, the passing of young freelance journalist Gnanapragasam Pragas has caused a huge shock among media circles,” the statement said.
“Pragas’ name has been etched in history as the first loss of life of a journalist due to the coronavirus in the Tamil homeland of the North-East,” it continued.
“As a freelance journalist Pragas had been writing news articles and essays for periodicals operating from Jaffna as well as abroad. At the same time, he was working as a deskman for certain news websites.”
The Club lamented the growing constraints on the freedom of the press in the island, particularly in the North-East, and added that the coronavirus pandemic has caused further hindrance to the work of journalists.
“In the Tamil media circle, where oppression of the press and consequent deaths are rampant, the coronavirus has started to pose another serious threat,” it emphasised.
The Club paid tribute to Pragas’s commitment to journalism, who “served as an example” as a journalist from Jaffna despite his special needs due to his condition of muscular dystrophy.
In the statement, the club expressed its condolences to Pragas’ family and also exhorted journalists to “take serious concern” of their health.
The Club also affirmed that it would take part in the endeavour to publish Pragas’ memoirs, titled “I, Pragas”, which detail his life and journey in journalism. It also vowed to “follow in the path” of realising Pragas’ dreams.