Journalists barred from covering government meeting in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 June 2009, 11:41 GMT]
North Ceylon Journalists’ Association (NCJA), in its media report Thursday, accused government authorities in Jaffna for barring journalists from attending a high level government meeting held Thursday by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother, Basil Rajapakse. Jaffna Government Agent (GA), when contacted by journalists seeking permission to cover the meeting, had said that journalists cannot be allowed to attend the meeting for security reasons, the report said.

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officials in Jaffna, however, said that there were no such restrictions and added that the government has empowered the GA to handle this matter, NCJA report said.

Some local newspaper reporters who had directly contacted Minister Douglas Devananda were taken to the meeting in his official vehicle to the meeting.

Meanwhile, the plight of more than 13,000 Vanni civilians held in the SLA internment camps in Jaffna nor the resettlement and rehabilitation of more than 86,000 civilians evicted from their villages when they were declared SLA High Security Zones (HSZs) in 1990, were taken for consideration in the high level government meeting held Thursday by Basil Rajapakse, Jaffna Secretariat sources said.

More than ten journalists who had been waiting had to return without being able to cover the meeting.

Journalists being barred from attending important meetings related to the public in Jaffna, seems to confirm the prevailing accusation that media freedom does not exist in Jaffna, the report said.

Similar government meetings held in the other districts of Sri Lanka are covered by journalists and reporters without any restrictions.

 

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