Sri Lanka expels British TV crew over report on welfare centers
Saturday, May 9, 2009, 19:57 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
May 09, Colombo: Sri Lanka government announced today that it cancelled the visa of the London-based Channel-4 television news reporter, Nick Patton Walsh with immediate effect over a story broadcast on the welfare centers in Vavuniya.
Controller General of Immigration and Emigration P. B. Abeykoon announced the visa of the Mr. Walsh has been canceled with immediate effect as the officials have discovered that Mr. Walsh has constantly filed reports with fabricated stories tarnishing the image of the country.
Channel 4 News of Britain confirmed that its news reporting team has been told to leave Sri Lanka. Some media reports said the Channel 4 News Asia Correspondent Nick Paton-Walsh, cameraman and producer were arrested in Trincomalee and escorted to Colombo.
In what claimed to be an independently filmed video from one of the welfare centers in Vavuniya that was broadcasted by Channel 4 on May 5th, Mr. Walsh citing unidentified 'aid workers' claimed that dead bodies were strewn in the camps and there are shortages of food and water, and sexual abuse.
The government vehemently protested the report questioning its claims saying that the news clip produced by Mr. Walsh was an editorial fabrication. Independent observers also have questioned the validity of the claims by the supposed 'aid workers' who were only seen as silhouettes in the report.
Foreign envoys who have visited the welfare centers including a recent delegation of British parliamentarians have expressed satisfaction over the condition of the camps although the shortages of drinking water remain.