Two representatives from the International Federation of Journalists had been detained by the immigration authorities for violating Sri Lanka’s immigration laws Cabinet Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said, vowing to investigate the matter thoroughly.
“Just because of CHOGM we cannot let everything go. The law of the land prevails,” Rambukwella told the weekly cabinet press briefing a short while ago.
He said the two representatives had arrived in the island on tourist visas although they needed Government accreditation in order to conduct a media workshop in the country.
When it was pointed out to Rambukwella that Sri Lanka had stopped issuing business visas and the only visa available on the immigration website was the tourist visa option, the Minister said that it was still necessary to obtain necessary media accreditation to engaged in media activity in the country.
Asked if all business people travelling for CHOGM would also be arrested since they would be arriving on a tourist visa since the business visa option was no longer available, the Cabinet Spokesman said “Business is not media, media needs accreditation.”
He said immigration authorities were conducting a full investigation into whether the two representatives from IFJ were journalists or not.
The CID and immigration authorities have been grilling IFJ Asia Pacific Head Jacqui Parks and a second member of the organisation since last evening on the basis that they had violated immigration laws and participated in a workshop on tourist visas.
The two IFJ representatives were to be deported this morning but are still being questioned.