Mourning the past director of The Exiled Journalists’ Network, Pearl Thevanayagam
The Arab Women Media Watch Centre offer tributes and mourns the loss of dedicated colleague, Pearl Thevanayagam.
Pearl was the director of the Exiled Journalists’ Network in the UK, and worked for the Sunday Leader and Daily News in Sri Lanka before settling in the UK.
Iqbal Tamimi, director of AWMWC, said
“I have been informed of the heart-rending news by our colleague and shared friend, Mike Jempson, the journalism lecturer and Director of journalism ethics at the MediaWise Trust. I first met Pearl in 2007 at the EJN where she has put huge effort to help exiled journalists and highlight the perils they go through as a consequence of their fight for freedom of speech across borders. She was deeply passionate about creating a platform that speaks of exiled journalists, especially those arriving in the UK.
Pearl will be greatly missed by everyone who had the pleasure and the privilege to work alongside her. Our thoughts, and those of everyone who worked with her at the EJN, are with her family and friends.”
Mike Jempson added
“I will miss Pearl as a friend and colleague. She had such a big heart. She insisted that other people’s worries were more important than her own. Pearl’s loss of a beloved journalistic career and her Sri Lankan homeland affected her deeply, and she was appalled by the way exiled journalists were treated by the UK asylum system.
She will be mourned and remembered by colleagues from around the world whom she tried to help.”
Abel Ugba, member of the Executive Committee of the EJN said
“I have been shocked and saddened by the news of Pearl’s death. I knew her well as we were both on the Executive Committee of the Exiled Journalists’ Network. I remember her unwavering devotion to journalism and journalists in exile. She had a ‘can do’ attitude and she put her full might into any task she accepted or took on. She was selfless with her time and resources. She was never afraid to challenge injustice and oppressors. Journalism and society in general have lost an irrepressible voice of courage.”
Pearl’s funeral will be held on 13 January 2016. We extend our deepest condolences for her friends and family for their loss.