Mystery of vanishing President Rajapaksa press conference

Sri Lankan President Mahina Rajapaksa cancelled his scheduled press conference sue to scheduling issues.
Sri Lankan President Mahina Rajapaksa cancelled his scheduled press conference sue to scheduling issues. Photo: Reuters

With all the attention on Jaffna and David Cameron's visit to the north of Sri Lanka it was just starting to seem quieter in Colombo.

It seems though, even names on a list are enough to create a story here as the human rights row rumbles on in the shadows of this summit.

A list of those that would be granted access to the President's press conference today was posted but seemed to have virtually no UK journalists on it. Three in fact by my count. The full list of attendees was close to 200. And this despite applications from all of the major British broadcasters.

And then it was cancelled.

The president's spokespeople told journalists the president is 'not staying away from questions'
The president's spokespeople told journalists the president is 'not staying away from questions' Credit: APTN

The Presidential spokesperson faced the cameras to explain that the President's schedule had "over run", as she said was completely normal at these type of events, and denied that President Rajapaksa was shying away from journalists' questions.

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President Rajapaksa press conference cancelled. It's now a logistics briefing. One side says its timing issue. Other says its tactical

It is though no secret that the UK media are not popular with the President and that this is another incident raising more questions about the Rajapaksa government.

With a back drop of episodes with heavy handed minders, mystery cars following visiting journalists and severe restrictions for those wanting to access the north of the country, it's fair to say suspicions are running high.

Watch: Bill Neely reports on relatives being pushed to ground in missing Tamil protests