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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2225

Boosting terrorism to defend 'democracy'

By Janaka Perera

What should be the primary objective of an agreement between the radio broadcasting services of two countries on the matter of news and other programs? Undoubtedly it is to introduce the culture, language, religion, politics and other relevant subjects of one country to the listeners of the other. In fact this was the basis on which the BBC Sinhala Service, Sandeshaya, was launched in the post-World War II years.

In that pre-Internet era people of my generation, who were then school children, eagerly listened to Sandeshaya to learn about people and events in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. BBC was then still basking in the glory of having strengthened the spirit of freedom and democracy through its broadcasts to Nazi and Fascist-occupied Europe during the world war. In that era listeners would not have imagined even in their wildest dreams that decades later the very same BBC would help to promote the agendas of a banned Fascist terrorist outfit (the LTTE) in UK's democratic society.

In the words of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe:

"We grew up learning from the BBC a much respected organization in the past – following BBC guidelines, BBC ethics etc."

Veteran Sandeshaya broadcasters like H.M. Gunasekera and Sunanda Mahendra – whatever their shortcomings – remained loyal to their native land and the Sri Lankan State.

But all that went topsy-turvy when LTTE sympathizers hijacked Sandeshaya and the BBC Tamil Services with the outbreak of the Tiger insurgency. Today the BBC's bosses - persuaded by LTTE proxies – have taken upon themselves the burden of imposing their version of democracy and freedom of expression on Sri Lanka by making us listen to whom the majority here treat as vermin. The whole job of the Sinhala and Tamil Service clowns today is not to educate and entertain the non-English speaking audiences about Europe but to recycle Sri Lanka's political garbage and send them back to us.

Teleshan Networks Limited (TNL) Chairman Shan Wickremesinghe has already exposed the BBC's policy of luring unsuspecting broadcasters into signing agreements that eventually force the latter to accept double standards on terrorism. The issue is linked to the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation's failure to include appropriate terms before signing the agreement with the BBC, although the former blocked relaying the BBC broadcast of Prabhakaran's speech.

Speaking on the TNL-operated Isira Radio Channel last week, Wickremesinghe said that earlier when BBC's Head of Business Development Neil Curry had wanted to sign a similar agreement with TNL, he (Wickremesinghe) had stressed that as Chairman he should have the right to delete any program that he considered harmful.

"I know my limits. I cannot allow objectionable remarks or statements over my broadcasting service in the name of media freedom," he observed.

"No matter what the program is we cannot compromise the country's interests. We have to be responsible for any program. If anyone is interested to know what Prabhakaran said he / she is free to go to the LTTE website and read it."

The so-called Reporters Without Borders however seem to think otherwise, perhaps because they have no loyalty to any country, any nation or any cause, except the cause of freedom to propagate any rubbish anywhere. Hence the RWB's unstinted support to BBC on the issue of SLBC not relaying Prabhakaran's speech.

Agreements apart, The TNL Chief drew attention to the SLBC's program guideline (also included in the Rupavahini Act) which prohibits relaying views of criminals and terrorists like Prabhakaran. Wickremesinghe requested SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe to send a copy of the guideline to Neil Curry who pretends to be ignorant of even the rules of his own organization. The BBC Act, Wickremesinghe noted, does not permit programs that incite terrorism or promote terrorist agendas.

"How many people are listening to the BBC Sinhala and Tamil services? It is good mostly for the whisky-gulping Colombo 7 crowd. The average citizen is not interested in it. The people and the country have gained hardly anything from BBC news programs on Sri Lanka. We should make use of other international broadcasting services like the Deutsche Welle and Voice of America to explain the facts here to the world."

The BBC's obvious partiality to the LTTE has been further reflected in its Tamil Service broadcasting the deplorable anti-Sri Lankan comments that Tamil National Alliance (Tiger proxy) MP Sivajilingam had made in India, according to the SLBC Chairman.

Strongly defending Prabhakaran, Sivajilingam had called the Sri Lankan Government a barbarian regime and flatly denied all criminal charges made against the Tigers including the recruitment of child soldiers and other human rights violations.

Samarasinghe has noticed that the BBC is apparently in a mighty hurry to have a ceasefire declared between Sri Lankan troops and the LTTE. In a BBC interview with an Indian Marxist who had talks with the Indian Prime Minister, the reporter had repeatedly asked the interviewee whether he had not stressed the need for a ceasefire, ignoring the latter saying again and again that it was a matter for the Sri Lankan Government to decide.

Samarasinghe further observed:

"The LTTE is a banned terrorist organization in UK. And BBC is that country's national broadcaster. Yet it airs a despotic mass murderer's speech commemorating his organization's suicide bombers. Velupillai Prabhakaran is Sri Lanka's most hated man, rejected by the majority of the island's 20 million people. But that is of no concern to BBC buffoons. Neil Curry thinks that we are still part of Lipton's Tea Garden. Is this UK's morality, civilization and ethics? Now they are screaming that terrorists are going to attack UK. We predicted that rationalizing separatist terrorism in Sri Lanka would someday boomerang on those doing so."

- Asian Tribune -

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