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Green light for Channel 4 director to cover CHOGM?

2013 Jul 16

The Government yesterday sought to put to rest a controversy over international media access for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November, with the Media Minister, who also leads the Cabinet committee coordinating summit media coverage, Keheliya Rambukwella saying any foreign journalist who falls within the Commonwealth guidelines for accreditation would be permitted into the country.

Channel 4 Director Callum Macrae and former BBC Journalist Frances Harrison have expressed concern that they would be barred from CHOGM coverage due to their controversial portrayal of the final phase of the Sri Lankan conflict.

“Media accreditation will be done exactly like it was done in Perth in 2011,” Rambukwella said, adding that there was a set of Commonwealth guidelines for accrediting journalists to cover the event that the Sri Lankan Government would follow when allowing access to the summit.

“Sri Lanka doesn’t expect any special treatment when it comes to the accreditation process,” the Media Minister said.

Asked by journalists specifically if Macrae would be permitted into the country if his application adhered to the Commonwealth guidelines on media registration, Rambukwella replied: “Of course.”

The controversy over sections of the foreign press perceived as being ‘hostile’ to the ruling Government in Sri Lanka being barred access to Colombo to cover CHOGM intensified after one of the country’s top diplomats vowed to prevent Macrae and others from obtaining access into the country in November.

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