Why Channel 4 journalists pulled out of Sri Lanka Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear pulled his reporting team out of Sri Lanka in the face of ceaseless intimidation. hey arrived in Colombo to report the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) but were subjected to days of what he called "organised and controlled protests". The journalists were accused of lying and of supporting the LTTE - the former, and now defeated, Tamil Tigers. Though invited to visit any part of the country the train they took to the north of the country, the Tamil area, was stopped by protestors. The team were then forced into a van by police and driven back to Colombo. De Pear tells of the president having invited them for tea in what was nothing more than a public relations exercise. It was not a genuine invitation. Channel 4's team were followed everywhere by people who, so they were reliably informed, were intelligence operatives. Their phones and laptops were monitored. De Pear writes: "Our hotel was under instructions to tell the authorities every time we left". When the crew stopped to film the scene of a Tamil Tiger terror attack in 1996, rocks were hurled at them "by people we believe to be members of the security services." Eventually, they were visited in their hotel by six burly men who identified themselves as "immigration police" who told de Pear that his team had broken the terms of their visa by "attempting to enter the president's palace". "For the record," writes de Pear, "we did not attempt to sneak into President Rajapaksa's residence." He concludes: "The people who so effectively executed the annihilation of the Tamil Tigers and many tens of thousands around them still run the country on a war footing. Now the enemy is civil society, journalists, the opposition. But we leave heartened. Everywhere we went, as subtly but as strongly as they could, Sri Lankans; Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim tipped us the wink, gave us a thumbs up, whispered a thank you. Sri Lankan journalist colleagues told us of their jealousy of our freedom to tell the stories they know are true." Sri Lanka, for the record, is ranked 162nd out of 179 countries on the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. Why Channel 4 journalists pulled out of Sri Lanka | Media | theguardian.com ****************************************************** Channel 4 has put Sri Lanka's current dispensation's name in the mud with their exposÃ© of the gruesome murder and genocide perpetrated on the Tamils, by Gotta, just before the end of the Sri Lankan battle with the LTTE. It is obvious that Channel 4 would not be welcome in Sri Lanka. It would have been better if the SL Govt had denied visas to Channel 4 rather than intimidating them on arrival, not letting them to their work as journalists and the authorities generally acting boorish and being a nuisance. This act will only raise the ire of the journalist community worldwide and SL will only be showered with brickbats. A silly thing has been done by the SL Govt.