Sri Lanka president revokes expulsion of Swiss reporter

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

January 31, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday revoked an expulsion order against a Swiss reporter who covered the island’s fiercely fought election. A government spokesman said that “wrong information” had led to the immigration authorities ordering Karin Wenger, of Swiss Public Radio, to leave the country.

The department of information had accused her of damaging the image of Sri Lanka with “defamatory” reports.

A government minister also criticised her for grilling the authorities on allegations of irregularities in Tuesday’s vote, which was comfortably won by incumbent Rajapakse. International rights organisations accused the government of harassing independent journalists who it believed sided with the defeated opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka.