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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2642

Why is SLBC tolerating BBC Sandeshaya?

By C.P.Kuruppu

Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe will find an excellent opportunity to stop BBC Sinhala and Tamil services relaying LTTE propaganda if President Mahinda Rajapaksa proscribes the Tigers next month (in the event of their failure to allow Tamils held hostage to cross over to government controlled areas).

In any case if the SLBC Chief is really keen on making Sinhala listeners ignore Sandeshaya he should make every effort draw them towards the Sinhala programs of All India Radio and Radio Beijing. He also needs to explore the possibility – as suggested by Teleshan Networks Limited (TNL) Chairman Shan Wickremesinghe – of getting other foreign broadcasting services like Deustche Welle and Voice of America to broadcast facts on Sri Lanka.

Samarasinghe simply need not care a hoot for contractual obligations if he can successfully challenge the BBC in a court of law, because that is exactly what is urgently required instead of merely condemning it. The harm Sandeshaya is doing to the country is far more than the money lost by failing to honour the contract.

Failure to stop these treacherous programs altogether will only result in the SLBC Authorities having to make Sandeshaya and the BBC Tamil Service inaudible every time a falsehood is relayed as in the case of Prabhakaran's so-called Heroes Day speech and the earlier interviews conducted by Vasantha Raja with Tiger strongman Kittu (Kittugen Ahanna).

It is impossible that the BBC was ignorant of SLBC guidelines when it signed the contract. These were introduced when the former Radio Ceylon was made a State Corporation. But the BBC seems to have become a law unto itself since it has the audacity – even in violation of its own Act - to air the propaganda of a terrorist organization banned in the UK. But that should not be Sri Lanka's problem since we have to act in our interests no matter what comes.

The SLBC Chief has already categorically stated that he is not prepared to use a State-run media organization maintained with public funds for the propaganda of a terrorist outfit trying to destroy that very State.

Samarasinghe himself has said that he preferred to violate an agreement with the BBC rather than betray his country. Sri Lankans know very well that the BBC and its Sinhala programme Sandeshaya has become a propaganda arm of the LTTE, especially after the Sri Lanka Air Force knocked out the LTTE broadcast facility in the North.

BBC bosses will never change their hypocritical policy despite being caught with their pants down. They will continue to dance in the nude on the Tigers' behalf for there's money in it - obviously. So, then why is the SLBC Chairman hesitating to stop Sandeshaya and the BBC Tamil Service once and for all?

- Asian Tribune -

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