SLFP stopped from joining protest against BBC

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 May 2006, 16:36 GMT]
Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse has sent a directive to the London based Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) officials not to participate in the Monday demonstration in front of the BBC world service offices in UK, party officials said. Sri Lanka media had previously accused BBC of biased coverage, for inflating the number of refugees displaced by the bombing campaign by Sri Lanka Air Force in Sampoor area on the 25 and 26th of April.

Following Mr Rajapakse's drawing attention to "propaganda war," State run newspapers accused foreign journalists, singling out the BBC, for biased coverage.

Earlier newspaper reports cited SLFP London branch president as the chief organiser of the protest.

An internal government document sent produced by Muttur Divisional Secretary on 26th of April giving the figures of the displaced people as 43,158 has also been obtained by the BBC, reports said. The local press claimed the figure was close to 16,000.

A foreign ministry source had confirmed that the document had been handed over to the Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera by a BBC official who visited Colombo recently, sources in UK said.

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