News media shut out of SLPP ‘Youth Convention’ | Daily News
Namal tells media: ‘watch on You Tube’

News media shut out of SLPP ‘Youth Convention’

Responding to a firestorm on social media over the ban on news media outlets from covering the National Youth Convention of the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP) at the Nelum Pokuna over the weekend, MP Namal Rajapaksa took to Twitter yesterday to apologise on behalf of the organising committee adding that the ‘situation was rectified as soon as we learnt of it.’ This latest controversy over SLPP media exclusion comes only days after last week’s reported ‘ban on questions’ addressed to presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Youth Convention of the party was held at the luxury Nelum Pokuna Theater on Saturday. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa delivered the keynote address while presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa joined in for a Question and Answer session, while the news media remained shut out.

Media industry personnel took to social media to complain that they were prevented from entering the venue. In a video posted online, media personnel who were stationed outside the venue asks MP Namal Rajapaksa why they were barred from covering the event, to which the MP responds by Inbox saying that “there is no such problem and its anyways live on Youtube.” Some media personnel were then seen in the video leaving the venue while other journalists remained outside. In the same video, former Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, an SLPP stalwart, is seen speechless when questioned as to why media was barred. Meanwhile JO parliamentarian Kanchana Wijesekera also took to Twitter to apologize to media personnel who were barred from covering the convention. “There was no ban on any local media for the event or any SLPP events. There was a lack of coordination from our part which will be rectified in the future events.”

Responding to a comment, Kanchana further states in a following tweet that “…it was not about whether they were allowed in or not. There were all allowed in but a few were not guided to the area that was for the media personnel.”

Questions have been raised over media coverage of SLPP events, after it was reported last week that Presidential nominee Gotabaya Rajapaksa would not entertain questions from media personnel at his events and that pro-SLPP media outlets have been advised to refrain from posing questions to the presidential candidate. 


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