Poor management of the BBC Sinhala was exposed at Central London Employment Tribunal in the case filled by sacked BBC Sinhala Service (Sandeshaya) Senior Producer Chandana Keerthi Bandara against the BBC.
The tribunal which concluded yesterday that Bandara was unsuccessful in his claim to unfair dismissal said that the BBC was entitled to arrive at the decision based on the evidence at hand.
The BBC south Asia hub editor Juliana Iootty told the tribunal that Priyath Liyanage was not managing properly. Priyath Liyanage was the Editor of the Sinhala Service who has been punished for misreporting an exposure into torture in Sri Lanka by Frances Harrison.
Chandana Keerthi Bandara accused of gross misconduct by a few in the Sinhala service was dismissed in August 2014. Former editor of the BBC Sinhala Priyath Liyanage, Saroj Pathirana, Thisara Aravinda Rathuwithana and former acting editor Dejan Radojevic complained to the BBC management accusing Bandara of harassment and bullying.
The tribunal heard that Priyath Liyanage, Saroj Pathirana and Dejan Radojevic accused Bandara of being a LTTE supporter. However it was not made clear to the tribunal by the BBC that they have investigated the accusation. Bandara told the tribunal that these accusation were made by pro Sinhala gang that was supportive of Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.
Apart from Mr Radojevic no one else from the BBC Sinhala service went to court to give evidence against Bandara. However, former BBC Sri Lanka correspondent Frances Harrison, award winning director Callum Macrae, (No Fire Zone fame), Bandara’s long time BBC colleagues Upali Gajanayake and M J R David gave evidence supporting Bandara claim.
The BBC Sinhala Service has been ailing due to drastic loss of listenership. Senior management has been trying to replace the broadcast audience with an online audience.
However managerial dysfunction, editorial blunders biased reporting and its broadcast on Short Wave, which is very much out dated technology aggravated this situation. The service has been accused of distorting information a charge that has been acknowledged by the management.
Following the ruling that BBC Management is under pressure for allowing mismanagement and lack of transparency in its BBC Sinhala operation in particular and South Asia hub generally.