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Commonwealth to discuss concerns

2013 Jul 13

The Commonwealth Secretariat in London says it is working with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 task force in Sri Lanka on concerns raised over media accreditation for the November summit.

Official spokesperson and Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Richard Uku said the Commonwealth Secretariat welcomes applications from all journalists seeking media accreditation to the summit in Sri Lanka.

He said that all media participating in CHOGM 2013 must be accredited in order to access and use the media facilities within the Media Centre, located at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) complex.

“As is customary, the Commonwealth Secretariat is the final authority for all international media accreditation for CHOGM. The accreditation process will be carried out in collaboration with the host country authorities, who are responsible for processing and approving visa applications by accredited media,” he added.

The spokesman said that media accreditation is open to all bona fide journalists, including online media practitioners, broadcasters, photographers, film and television camera crews and technicians and every effort will be made to facilitate attendance and coverage of CHOGM by the media.

The New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had earlier raised concerns about press accreditation procedures for CHOGM that will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in November.

At past meetings, the Commonwealth’s Communications and Public Affairs Division has been responsible for issuing permission to journalists to attend the meeting.

But CPJ said there are indications the Sri Lankan government intends to enforce stringent background checks on any foreign journalists covering the meeting, with the apparent intention of denying them permission to enter the country. (Colombo Gazette)

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