Jacqueline Park, Asia Pacific Director of the International Federation of Journalists (a paid worker), is currently being questioned by immigration authorities over suspected violation of immigration laws. Park entered Sri Lanka on a tourist visa.
Immigration authorities had been tipped off about Park’s visa issue by elements in organisations that are full members of the IFJ, disgruntled over continued preference of the IFJ for an affiliate (FMM) over member organizations. Even this event, as evident by the wording on the banner, clearly shows that full members of the IFJ are not involved.
Free Media Movement Convener Sunil Jayasekera has claimed that Park and another IFJ member were originally not assigned to take part in the workshop organized by them.
“After hearing that they were in the country we (FMM) decided to request for their presence at the workshop. They did not come here on an invitation extended by us,” he said.
This story appears to be a barefaced lie considering that the event was jointly organised by the FMM and IFJ. Jayasekera’s statement implies that neither he nor the FMM had prior knowledge of Park’s presence in Sri Lanka, which is highly unlikely given Park’s position in the IFJ and given IFJ’s involvement in the event as co-organiser.
The Colombo Telegraph learns that Park has visited Sri Lanka on no less than 17 occasions. Immigration authorities are currently investigating whether these visits were on tourists visas and whether Park participated in workshops, seminars or other events as per IFJ direction, i.e. ‘official work’.
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