The Sunday Leader

BBC Banned From Northern Hearings

The Defence Ministry has denied permission for the BBC to observe this weekends Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission hearings in Kilinochchi and Mullativu. This phase of the commission hearings is held in what was formerly LTTE held territory, including the lagoon which saw the last stand of the LTTE. While the BBC has attended hearings in Colombo and Vavuniya, they have been denied permission now.

The military spokesman denying the permission told the BBC that they did not have to give reasons why.

The BBC correspondent Charles Haviland said that he filed his request weeks ago and then made appeals to Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa and Director General of the Media Center For National Security, Lakshman Hulugalle. Upon visiting the Ministry of Defence itself he was put in phone contact with a military spokesman who said permission would not be given.

The Defence Ministry controls national security and defence related media through the Media Center For National Security. This includes the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, where the Defence Secretary has also given testimony. The administration has regularly accused foreign and local organizations of bias and in this case has denied access to the BBC completely.

There were some inaccuracies in our story “BBC Banned From Northern Hearings”. Herewith a corrected version:

The Defence Ministry did indeed deny permission for the BBC to observe the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu sittings of the Lessons Leart and Reconciliation Commission. BBC News sought permission by delivering letters on 9th September to the Defence Secretary, the Military Liaison Officer, and the head of the Media Centre for National Security. On 15th September, having not received replies, the BBC correspondent again visited the Defence Ministry and was told over the telephone by the Military Liaison Officer that the Ministry could not allow the BBC to attend the hearings. When asked what were the reasons, he said he could not give any. The Military Spokesman was not involved in considering the application.

18 Comments for “BBC Banned From Northern Hearings”

  1. raj

    most people do not believe when there were accusations that there are war criminals in Sri Lanka, and the government in Sri Lanka is compareable to Taliban government. Not allowing BBC proves that claim.

  2. gemba


  3. nishan

    War criminals are justifing why rest of the world is calling this LLRC is lacking transperancy..

  4. Psycho

    Very good, our Rupawahini do not meddle in London OK

    • Punk

      Rupavahini dont have basic. No modern technocgy No expertise to telecast to village Bandas let alone London you duffer.

    • Psycho,
      Are you comparing BBC , a recognised media, to Rupavahini which is controled by this govt.
      Who will ever listen to Rupavahini except the blind-folded masses in confined to the island?

    • brian

      psycho, you really have some issues eh. Please seek help

  5. CheeLanka

    BBC is not an impartial, investigative media that it once used to be. BBC has repeatedly shown its bias in covering Sri Lanka during and after the war. For once, it’s a good decision by government to deny them access to LLRC hearings in the North. The pesky and puny BBC correspondent should be kicked out of Lanka.

  6. Malin

    BBC which always reports against Sri Lanka but anything to appease and support LTTE and LTTE Diaspora. Hats off to Defence Ministry for declining BBC’s request to cover up LLRC in Kili.

    • Shaik Anwar

      Malin, you have to be delusional to think that the BBC will now go away with their tail between its legs. The BBC is a trusted media and a conduit to the world press. There is no perfect reporting anywhere and it is up to you to refute any false claims. Banning the carrier is an easy option but much more damaging.

  7. N K Ratnam

    All those people who support the ban on BBC should realise that they are giving away their own democratic right to information. A free press is a cornerstone of democracy. Those who advocate banning any press are advocating destruction of democracy. It will not be too long before the same ban is imposed on those journalists who report the antics of Mervin Silva. Now that brings back the memory of Lasantha and his reminder of Martin Niemoller’s “First they came for me”

    They came first for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up

  8. Shaik Anwar

    This is patently counter productive. The BBC News will now produce a report, probably adverse, speculative and biased and the military cannot then complain. The most effective method of combating false reporting, if any, is to produce refutable evidence and demand apologies. A few of these would soon put the journalist out of business but more importantly diminish the journal’s credibility. As usual, these hotheads spring into action without thinking things through.

  9. No surprise in this banning.
    The whole world knows why the independent media was banned before the last stages of the war.

  10. sali

    you guys have no jobs other than thinking that srilankan govt will be free and fair for all? i admire you guys and its ur birth right to dream, god save the gost town


    press freedom is our right. no doubt. UK and USA kills a lot of innocents daily in the middle east. why don’t the BBC go there and inform the UK publc ? we will do our business in sri lanka. thanks BBC. don’t come here. forever.

  12. Che

    Who Cares, Sri Lanka has a 20 Million Stupid Fools, who haven’t a clue about anything, they only care about their stomach.

  13. [...] involvement in the process. Further, media coverage has been hampered. In some instances, the BBC has been denied access to cover the Commission’s [...]

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