Media Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, said yesterday that he cannot vouch for the safety of foreign media personnel who travel outside the Colombo city. He said that the government can guarantee security for foreign media personnel within the city but not when they go outstation on their own volition. He said, “There is ‘huge dissent’ among the public regarding Callum Macrae, the Channel 4 Director who exposed alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, and the people appear to have taken steps on their own to agitate.”
He said the Channel 4 journalists have been given visas to visit Sri Lanka and it is the government’s duty to provide them security. “Meaningful steps will be taken to bring them to a safe place and security will be provided till they depart,” he said.
To the question on the protest such as the one that took place in Anuradhapura, before the train in which Macrae and his team were travelling to Kilinochchi, would cause embarrassment to the government, to the foreign delegation and to the President who will be the Chairperson of the CHOGM for next two years, the minister responded saying ‘it will never be so.’ “Just because President Mahinda Rajapaksa would be the Chairman of the CHOGM does not mean anyone could violate the rules of the country,” he remarked.
Rambukwella also said just because some are ‘Australians and Europeans’ they cannot violate the law of the country. “Recently, we even deported an Australian and a New Zealander who were engaged in activities that do not come under the conditions in which their visas were issued. They are unpopular people and their safety is in question,” he said.
by Chrishanthi Christopher