Colombo: The BBC has claimed that Sri Lankan authorities have denied them access to cover the proceedings of a government-appointed Commission probing the last phase of the LTTE war in former strife-affected areas in northern Jaffna peninsula.
"Defence Ministry refused to give reasons for preventing the BBC from covering the story in Jaffna," the British media giant reported last night.
The denial came two days after President Mahinda Rajapaksa extended the Commission`s mandate by six months "in view of the large number of persons from Sri Lanka and abroad still to give evidence before it”.
In September, the BBC was denied coverage of similar proceedings in Kilinochchi, the former stronghold of LTTE in northern Sri Lanka.
The eight-member Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was appointed by the President on May 2010 to report on the lessons to be learnt from the events in the period from 21st February 2002 to 19th May 2009. The LLRC is chaired by the former Attorney General Chitta Ranjan de Silva.
The proceedings of the LLRC were open to the media ever since its inception.
However, the coverage was restricted when the proceedings took place outside Colombo.
The LLRC is scheduled to conduct hearings in Jaffna peninsula beginning from today.
Foreign media requires prior permission for coverages in former battle zones although the war ended 18 months ago with the death of LTTE chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran.