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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2966

BBC wants Sri Lanka under its Colonial jackboots

London, 19 December, ( BBC, the media corporation that is in hot water at home on several controversial issues, ranging from manipulating phone-in programmes to letting its presenters to leave livid messages on the answer machines of grandfathers, is good at presenting an image of an media company dedicated for integrity and fairness.

The administrators at the BBC talk to their counterparts in the developing world, as if they were whiter than white, clearly turning a blind eye to the embarrassing facts that has the potential to tarnish the squeaky-clean image of the institute that it wants to depict.

The letter written by Neil Curry, the Head of Business Development, to the Chairman of the SLBC, Mr Hudson Samarasinghe is a case in point. In that letter, Mr Curry asked for an explanation for not broadcasting two items on air waves by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation: the first one is about the agitation by Tamil nationalists in Tamil Nadu and the other one is about not broadcasting the speech of Velupillai Prabhakaran on his heroes day address. Both items, Mr Curry may think, are music to the ears of the majority of Sri Lanka.The letter written by Neil Curry, the Head of Business Development of the BBC  to the Chairman of the SLBC, Mr Hudson SamarasThe letter written by Neil Curry, the Head of Business Development of the BBC to the Chairman of the SLBC, Mr Hudson Samaras

Does Mr Curry think that we are still under the Jackboot of Colonialism? Asking Mr Samarasinghe of the SLBC - the Head of Broadcasting Corporation in a sovereign nation - to provide the BBC with an explanation, tantamount to a collective insult against the whole nation. Mr Curry seriously needs updating his patchy knowledge in history.

This is the conduct of an executive of an organization which used to air the speeches of Jerry Adams and Martin McGuinnes, the heads of Sinn Fein of Northern Ireland, without voice. How did the BBC justify that comical telecast at that time, especially for the millions of Irish viewers in the United Kingdom? Is Mr Curry aware of the existence of something called guidelines which is at the discretion of the Head of the institute?

If the BBC is strictly following the guidelines, why do they get fined by the broadcasting regulators for violating the rules on regular basis in the United Kingdom? Why do heads roll from time to time?

BBC is hell bent on improving on its ratings at home by going to extremes which once were taboo. The tax-payers are up in arms; they are not prepared to put up with non-sense any more. The issue of the disproportionately high payments made to the top executives and presenters are already in public domain for an unhealthy debate, as far as the corporation is concerned.

BBC wants to give prominence to the speech made by a terrorist leader of a banned organization in the United Kingdom. Doesn’t that make mockery of commonsense?

Is Mr Curry aware that his conduct breaks the rules against the terrorism in his own country by implicitly promoting terrorist propaganda?

It is a fact that BBC Sinhala service is not for the Sinhalese. When did this particular channel tell one good thing about this race or their country? Only thing people hear about is endless killings. How about culture that dates back thousands of years? How about the beautiful landscape and beaches? What does BBC gain by promoting doom and gloom all the time? If the predictions of the presenters of the BBC about Sri Lanka became true, most Sri Lankans would have been declared extinct by now.

The Sinhalese think it is a channel to promote the might of the LTTE, not the struggle of a democratically elected government to uphold the values of a modern democracy.
Mr Curry wants to annoy the Sinhalese by broadcasting the speech of the most hated person of the country? Which chapter of modern journalism is he trying to interpret by his conduct?

The emergence of You Tube and Blogs will cut down the broadcasting bullies like BBC to size in due course. Before that, the fair-minded British taxpayers will demand a more rational behaviour at the heart of this institute, which does not hesitate to mock even the Her Majesty the Queen, the Head of the State, if it can enhance its falling ratings.

We, the Asian Tribune hope some sense of sanity will break out at the heart of this institute before it is too late, especially when the world slides into a recession.

Given below the full text of the letter written by Neil Curry, the Head of Business Development of the BBC to the Chairman of the SLBC, Mr Hudson Samarasinghe:
British Broadcasting Corporation Bush House PO Box 76 The strand London WC2B 4PH UK

Telephone + 44 (0) 20 7240 3456 Fax + 44 (0) 20 7240 8629

Mr Hudson Samarasinghe,
The Chairman,
Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation,
Independence Square,
Colombo 07,
Sri Lanka
12 December 2008

Dear Hudson,

Greetings from London.

I hope you are well and look forward to Mr. Jackson’s early feedback on Puttalam MW so that we can plan for the testes towards Tamil Nadu early in the New Year, hopefully by February.

The reason I write today is also to express my serious concern at what I fear may be editorial interference by SLBC in BBC output.

We are monitoring our output in Sri Lanka and get regular daily feedback from our listeners too. And we are perfectly aware of the context.

On the 10th December 20087 a three minute report on protests in Tamil Nadu within our daily Sinhala transmission appears to have been blanked out for no apparent reason. This follows on from an occasion on 27th November when a five minute portion of both our Sinhala and Tamil transmissions was not transmitted locally. This was a piece on a speech by Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

We feel this may constitute a breach of our Agreement and I need to ask you to provide the BBC with an explanation as to why our programmes were interrupted in this way.

We are and always have been keen to maintain a positive on-going partnership with SLBC bu what appears to be censorship – this time but also previously – does not underpin the climate of openness and transparency that both parties were keen to maintain when they renewed their Agreement last summer.

I hope we can resume a healthy editorial dialogue in an open manner and that both parties will be able to respect the terms of the existing Agreement.

I look forward to your views on all this.

Bes Regards,

Neil Curry
Hear of Business Development
Mobile: 07967687647

Cc Media Minister Anura Priyadarsnhana Yapa

- Asian Tribune -

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SLBC Chief responds to BBC antics

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