Colombo revises decision to refuse AP coverage in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Thursday, 08 May 2008, 11:20 GMT]
Associated Press of America (AP) Colombo Bureau Chief Ravi Nessman and staff photographer Gemunu Amarasinghe, who were in Batticaloa and asked to leave the area immediately as the Government of Sri Lanka had taken a decision not to allow foreigners, except the election monitors, to visit Batticaloa. The journalists were told Thursday afternoon that they would need Ministry of Defence clearance. However, soon after the news spread, the GoSL revised the decision and allowed the journalists to return to Batticaloa giving instructions they can only engage in election coverage, media activists in Colombo said.
Mr. Nessman and Mr. Amarasinghe left Colombo on Wednesday and they were doing an election coverage in Batticaloa without any hindrance but when they were at Vaazhaichcheanai on Thursday, they were asked to leave the area immediately because other than foreign monitors, no foreigner would be allowed to visit Batticaloa.
There were many other foreign journalists and photographers who were allowed to cover the opening of the Vaazhaichchenai paper factory on Tuesday.
The Free Media Movement (FMM) immediately expressed concern about the decision not to allow the foreigner journalists to cover the elections.