Published in Jaffna since 1985, the daily Uthayan newspaper primarily caters to the Tamil-speaking population in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. The paper provides coverage on domestic affairs pertaining to the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. It also features content on the general current affairs in the country, sports, entertainment and global news. Its sister paper Sudar Oli ceased publication 2018.
The paper was founded by Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) Member of the Parliament Eswarapatham Saravanapavan, also referred to as E. Sarvanapavan, under the New Uthayan Publication (Pvt) Limited. E. Saravanapavan, his wife Yasothai Saravanapavan and daughter Lukshmee Saravanapavan serve as the current Directors of the company. The company's shares are also divided within the family.
Uthayan is considered to be the only newspaper that did not cease publication in Jaffna during the nearly 30-year armed conflict. This was despite the blockade that cut Jaffna off from the rest of the country as well as the lack of resources. Within the context of the armed conflict, the publishing house saw its journalists being subjected to murder, abductions, torture and threats on several occasions.
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Kawish Publications (Private) Limited operates Koshish newspaper. Three brothers and the son of eldest brother have equal number of shares among them. Muhammad Aslam Kazi owns 25% of shares in the company, whereas Muhammad Athar Kazi (25%), Muhammad Ali Kazi (25%) and Muhammad Ayub Kazi (25%) hold the remaining shares.
Affiliated Interests Founder
in legal documents, Mohammad Akram is the owner of the newspaper as per government’s regulations for print media as the declaration, or license, is issued in his name. He serves the organization as the head of Finance Department. While not illegal, the newspaper is actually owned by the Kazi family but headed by a ‘proxy’ owner. Akram is associated with the group since 1990 and serves the Finance & Admin departments of daily Koshish as well as daily Kawish – both part of the Kawish Group of Publications. His maternal uncle Mushtaq Suhail has also been employed for many years in the group’s head office in Karachi. The Kazi family has deep trust in him.
started his journalistic career at the age of 21 in 1990 when along with his elder brother Aslam, he launched daily Kawish from Hyderabad. In 2002, Kawish group launched its first-ever Sindhi-language satellite channel KTN and Ali took over as its chief executive officer. Ali then launched daily Koshish - the second newspaper of the group - to compete with contemporary rival daily Sindh and daily Tameer-e-Sindh.
Ali’s call for observing December 6 as Sindhi Topi [cap] Day received overwhelming response in 2009. The call was given in response to criticism by notorious TV anchor Dr. Shahid Masood of former president of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari for wearing the traditional Sindhi cap on foreign visits. The day is now observed annually.
Ali launched a political career in 2012 by establishing the Tabdeeli Pasand Party (Pro-Change Party) promising merit, good governance, equality, justice and transparency. Before that he was sidelined from the family’s media business quitting the editor’s position to save the economic interests of the group as his political ideology was in direct clash with rival Pakistan People’s Party – the dominant political force in Sindh. After he lost the general elections 2018, his brothers withdrew their support from him and he launched ‘Pahenji Akhbar’ – an online newspaper – from Karachi. He remains estranged from his brothers and now considers the Kawish Media Group as his competitor.
Affiliated Interests Ceo
represents the third generation in the Kazi family to join the media business. He is son of Muhammad Aslam Kazi – the elder among three brothers (Muhammad Ayoob Kazi and Muhammad Ali Kazi). Athar Kazi is masters’ degree holder in ‘investment banking’ from the prestigious Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. He started his career from Kawish Group of Publication as Marketing Director. After his father retired, he took over from him becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Kawish Group of Publications manning print publications and TV channels of the whole group. His family belongs to an established Sindhi political family – “the Kazis from Hyderabad.”
Affiliated Interests Editor-In-Chief
before being elevated to the position of editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Ayoob Kazi was managing editor and looked after management issues of the group, including circulation and marketing sections.
Affiliated Interests other important people
is former CEO of Kawish Group of Publications. He is the eldest among three brothers and founder of the group. He motivated his siblings to launch their own newspaper after their father Muhammad Akbar Kazi married a second time. Before that brothers Akbar Kazi and Abid Kazi, were running the successful Ibrat newspaper. In 2018, Aslam was elected member of Executive Committee of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) – a representative body of print media owners - for 2018-2019 period. Also a master’s degree holder in economics, he has in the past served as editor of dailySindh News and English daily Sindh Observer. He launched Kawish in 1990 and then KTN TV channel shortly thereafter.
took over as editor of the newspaper after the death of his predecessor Rasheed Rajar in November 2017. Khuhro joined the profession in 1996 at Sindhi-language daily Halchal in Hyderabad. Graduate of Sociology from the University of Sindh, Khuhro was active member of a nationalist party before journalism. He joined daily Koshish in 2001 as sub-editor. He won confidence of his employers developing the paper along professional lines. He contributes Op-Ed articles and writes poetry as well.
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An information request was sent to the media outlet on 14 January 2019 through a courier company and by email as well. No response was received from the outlet. The outlet refused to accept the information request MOM Pakistan sent through a private courier company and it was returned. A reminder was sent on 1 February 2019 through a courier company and on 04 February 2019 by email also. Again, there was no response from the newspaper and the outlet also refused to accept reminder from the private courier company and the company returned it to MOM Pakistan team. A right-to-know request was submitted on 12 February 2019 with Sindh Information Department of Sindh provincial government to seek details of advertisement released to the newspaper during 2017-18 financial year. There has been no response from the Sindh Information Commission for 15 days as the law stipulated 15 days to provide data or give reason for non-compliance with the RTI request. After 15 days, a complaint was registered against the Sindh Information Department’s non-sharing of requested data with the Information Commissioner on 5 March 2019 and the commissioner has also not responded till to date. There is little online information about the Kazi family available.
Online information about Koshish newspaper, owner structure and financial status and constituent companies and businesses is not available nor does the newspaper have online presence. There is little online information about other businesses the family may be involved in nor anyone close to the family is willing to shed light.
Sources who were interviewed for this research work did not wish to be identified to escape any conflict with the owners of the group. An interview was conducted with Ali Hasan, senior Hyderabad-based journalist, about the newspaper’s editorial policy and family background of the owners. An interview was conducted with an anonymous Hyderabad-based Sindhi journalist, about the group’s history, editorial policy and family background of the owners.