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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 731

BBC – going .... going, but not gone fully from Sri Lanka

Colombo, 14 February, (Asian Tribune): The BBC World Service which anounced on Tuesday 09 February that it has stopped providing radio news to Sri Lanka's state broadcaster alleging of "deliberate interference" by government censors, but on the contrary BBC continues daily with 3 1/2 hours of English language broadcast making use of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, the state owned radio of Sri Lanka. Hudson Samarasinghe asked, "Do you expect SLBC to allow excerpts of  Prabhakaran Heroes Day’s speech to be broadcast in state owned radio?"  Hudson Samarasinghe asked, "Do you expect SLBC to allow excerpts of Prabhakaran Heroes Day’s speech to be broadcast in state owned radio?"

When "Asian Tribune" contacted Hudson Samarasinghe, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, he told that he also read the news report that BBC has stopped providing 'Radio News' to the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. He said that so far he has not received any official intimation to that effect from the BBC World Service.

Hudson Samarasinhghe said in fact I had written a letter today (13 February) to the BBC World service for clarification regarding the authenticity of the news report that was broadcast by them.

Chairman of the SLBC said that it was a wrong interpretation to say that BBC is providing news to SLBC.

He clarified that BBC has entered into an agreement with the SLBC to have 41/2 hours of airtime daily for broadcasting their services. For giving this airtime BBC pays US$185,000 annually to the SLBC. This arrangement is similar to an advertising arrangement for the SLBC. By selling the airtime they are paying for us. That is all in short.

But for every thirty minutes of broadcasting time what BBC is said to be paying is SLR 5000, a very low amount when compared with Rs. 20,000 being charged for every 30 minutes of broadcasting time from the local sponsors.

The Chairman of the SLBC explained that BBC entered into an agreement to broadcast daily 30 minutes of Tamil Language broadcast Thamil Osaia, 30 minutes of broadcast of Sinhala Language Sandhesiya and 3hrs and 30 minutes of English language broadcast.

Hudson Samarasinghe said after 9th of February BBC has stopped its Tamil and Sinhalese language services, but it continues with its 3.30 hours of the English Language service broadcast through the SLBC.

Chairman of the SLBC said that the state owned radio is the voiceand and noise - of Sri Lanka a sovereign and independent state. He categorically said that in that broadcast he cannot allow anyone promoting and glorifying the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its leader Velupillai Prabakaran.

He said BBC has entered into an agreement with SLBC for airtime and if they want to renege the agreement let them do it.

He said it was wrong on the part of the BBC to allege SLBC of censuring the their news report.

He asked, "Do you expect SLBC to allow excerpts of Prabhakaran Heroes Day’s speech to be broadcast in state owned radio?"

He added that he will censure anything which is broadcast that poses a severe challenge to the sovereignty, and the Independence of Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

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