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Commonwealth Sec defends its authority over media accreditation

In a press release, published on Thursday, the Commonwealth Secretariat's spoksperson and Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Richard Uku, clarified regarding media accreditation for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) due to be held in Sri Lanka later this year.

The statement comes amidst increasing controversy surrounding the media accreditation for international journalists, following remarks by Sri Lankan officials - including the Media Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, and the Consul General to New South Wales, Australia, Bandula Jayasekara. See here.

Such interference by the host country into the international media presence at a CHOGM is unprecedented.

Highlighting the sentence in bold, the spokesperson's statement read: "As is customary, the Commonwealth Secretariat is the final authority for all international media accreditation for CHOGM", but added "The accreditation process will be carried out in collaboration with the host country authorities, who are responsible for processing and approving visa applications by accredited media."

The statement comes as another journalist for a Tamil media source, Uthayan, was attacked.

See here for full statement, further extracts reproduced below.

"Media accreditation is open to all bona fide journalists, including online media practitioners, broadcasters, photographers, film and television camera crews and technicians. Every effort will be made to facilitate attendance and coverage of CHOGM by the media."

"Applicants that need to apply for a Sri Lankan visa to attend CHOGM 2013 will be provided with an Accreditation Certificate via email which, they must include as part of their application for an ‘electronic’ or ‘paper based’ Visitor Visa."

"Applications for accreditation will be considered on a case-by-case basis."

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