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2013 Oct 15

Chamikara Weerasinghe

Background checks were being done on international journalists who applied for press accreditation to cover the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka next month, Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday. Minister Rambukwella said whether to allow or not to allow the participation of some foreign journalists belonging to media organisations will be on the same guidelines Australia followed in hosting the 2011 summit in Perth.
On being asked if Sri Lanka is concerned about the possible arrival of Channel 4 journalists to cover the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, Rambukwella said: “We are not particular about any individual media channels or organisations coming to cover the summit, but the applications received from foreign media establishments are being reviewed before accreditation can be given to them provided they meet the guidelines set by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.”

Asked about the chances of some foreign journalists not being accredited by the CHOGM Task Force in Colombo, Rambukwella said: “ This has happened to some international journalists at the CHOGM summit in 2011 held in Perth, Australia.”

“The applicants should fall within the guidelines,” he said.

Asked if the government is investigating the possible presence of Channel 4 journalists like Callum Macrae who produced No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, ahead of the Commonwealth Leaders’ meeting in November, Rambukwella said all checkups and screening of international journalists will be carried out as needed.

CHOGM 2013 Task Force Secretariat in Colombo will determine who qualifies and who does not qualify to cover the summit. Accreditation to cover the summit will be given following clarification regarding the process of accreditation.

All local and foreign journalists will be allowed to cover the the summit provided their applications to the summit meet the stipulated requirements as in all the previous CHOGM summits, he added.
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