Oct 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka will follow the same guidelines as Australia followed in screening international journalists when that country hosted the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella has said.
Minister Rambukwella has said that granting permission for foreign journalists to entry to the country to cover the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka will be done according to the same guidelines Australia followed in hosting the 2011 summit in Perth.
According to the Minister the background checks are being done on international journalists who applied for press accreditation to cover the Commonwealth Summit in Colombo next month.
CHOGM 2013 Task Force Secretariat in Colombo will make the decision on allowing the foreign media personnel the entry. The media accreditation to cover the summit will be given following clarification regarding the process of accreditation, he noted.
He said that all local and foreign applicants should fall within the guidelines and their applications to the summit should meet the stipulated requirements as in all the previous CHOGM summits for the Secretariat to allow them to cover the summit.
When asked about the possibility of Channel 4 journalists coming to Sri Lanka to cover the CHOGM, the Minister has said that Sri Lanka is not concerned about any individual or media organization as long as they meet the guidelines set by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
"We are not particular about any individual media channels or organizations 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." Minister said.
When asked if the government is investigating the possible presence of Channel 4 journalists who produced "No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka", ahead of the Commonwealth meeting the Minister has added that all checkups and screening of international journalists will be carried out as needed.
Local Sunday weekly meanwhile reported that the defense authorities were placed on high alert last week after information was received that a Channel 4 journalist was in the country and the Terrorist Investigations Division is probing the matter.