A paid worker of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Jacqueline Park, currently in Sri Lanka as a resource person for a workshop organised by the Free Media Movement (FMM) at the Janaki Hotel, Colombo, has been detained by immigration authorities for questioning after it was found that Park had come on a tourist visa, thereby violating immigration laws.
Controller of Immigration and Emigration, Chulananda Perera has confirmed to media that the Park, along with an associate, are being questioned over violation of immigration laws prior to them being deported. According to sources, authorities are questioning Park regarding her previous visits to Sri Lanka to determine whether or not she is guilty of other violations.
Park has been a regular attendee at FMM events, conducting workshops and other training programmes. According to sources Park has always used a tourist visa to enter the country and as such is guilty of violating immigration laws on multiple occasions.
Park, a close friend and associate of Sunanda Deshapriya, was a beneficiary of an air ticket purchased for her by the latter using funds fraudulently obtained from the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA). Deshapriya was sacked by the CPA and subsequently admitted wrongdoing. Deshapriya’s fraudulent activities while in charge of the FMM are well documented. Park later issued a letter claiming that she did receive a ticket from Deshapriya, but CPA found that no such ticket was purchased. CPA concluded subsequent to an investigation that Park’s letter was an attempt to cover up highway robbery perpetrated by Deshapriya.
Colombo Telegraph is in possession of irrefutable proof that Park, a paid employee of the iFJ has violated the organidation’s regulations by accepting cash payments from the FMM for services rendered during a workshop held at the Janaki Hotel on July 1, 2008, the day following an assault on former TNL News Editor and then employee of the Sri Lanka Press Institute.
Sunil Jayasekera of the FMM is also being questioned regarding the organisation’s long standing association with Park and therefore possible complicity in the said violations.
IFJ is an organisation where full membership can only be obtained by journalist trade unions. As such, Sri Lanka is represented by the Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association (SLWJA) and the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union (FMETU). The FMM only has ‘Associate Member’ status in the IFJ and does not enjoy voting rights.