21 September, 2020

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BBC Says Applying For GSL Interest Free Loan Is Violation Of Its Code, Sinhala Service Corrupt Journalists To Be Re-Trained On Ethics

By Colombo Telegraph

The BBC World Service accepts that some of its Sinhala Section journalists have breached journalistic ethics and violated BBC’s code of conduct by applying for interest free vehicle loans offered by the Sri Lankan Government. The BBC has also stated that the staff in breach of the code would be sent for retraining.

The Colombo Telegraph exposed the applications made by two BBC World Service journalists to the Sri Lankan government to obtain interest-free loans. After a series of exposures about the serious conflict of interest issues and violations of standard journalistic ethics, a public-spirited individual made a complaint to the BBC. The BBC initially responded with a rejection of an inquiry on the basis that their employees had not in fact accepted the loans. This ridiculous response was quite rightly appealed, and last week the BBC has accepted that the complaint in fact raised a serious breach by its staff of the BBC code of conduct for its employees.

Two of its journalists, BBC World Service producer Chandana Keerthi Bandara and the Colombo Reporter Elmo Fernando, applied Rs. 1,200,000/-each by way of interest free loans from the state banks to purchase cars or vans, where the interest will be paid by the Treasury using tax payer money.

In a letter dated February 25, 2013 the BBC says; “The applications for the loans were reviewed and it was made clear to staff that it was not appropriate to have applied for them. All staff in question have been reminded of the BBC Conflict of Interest Guidelines and are re-doing the BBC’s training course on this subject.” ( Read letter below)

Responding to the complainant, British journalist, Dushy Ranetunge, on February 11, 2013, BBC forwarded a letter by its Sinhala Service Editor Priyath Liyanage, which says, “BBC Sinhala member of staff Chandana Bandara was one of the hundreds who applied. From what he had told me, that his application had been successful… However, after careful consideration, the employee had decided not to go through with the application and accept the loan…Under these circumstances, I do not see the need for an investigation at present.”

Forwarding Liyange’s letter Dejan Calovski, BBC World Service, Audience Relations said, ‘I hope the above allays the concerns you have raised and thank you for taking the time, and making the effort, to write.’

Responding to the above letter the complainant said; “I wish to refer my complaint to stage 2, as I feel that your response does not address my concerns, especially when Mr Priyath Liyanage himself, who has responded to my complaint has been involved in this process, by issuing letters in support of these applications to secure the inducements/bribes. ..There is no such thing called an interest free loan. The Sri Lankan tax payers have to subsidise these inducements, which the government of Sri Lankan is offering to Journalists, clearly with the motive of influencing them. These loans have to be approved and it is unlikely that they will be approved for journalists who are critical of the regime.’

According to the Colombo Telegraph sources the inquiry has not yet been concluded.

Related posts;

Interest Free Loan Scandal: BBC’s £41,000 Annual Salary Employee Was Favored By Sri Lankan Govt

Exclusive: BBC’s Londoner Who Applied GoSL’s Interest Free Loan Receives RS 8.5 Million Annual Salary!

Expose: BBC Sinhala Head ‘Knowingly Mislead’ The Public

BBC Editor Uses BBC Resources To Cover Up Personal Misconduct

No More Dr. Vickramabahu’s Columns

Left-Right Collusion: Socialist Bahu Called Capitalist Ranil And Urged Not To Expose BBC Misconduct

BBC Pussyfooting On “Takes” From SL Govt’

‘BBC World Service Journalist’s Interest-Free Loan Application ‘On The Waiting List’ Says Sri Lankan Government

Applying And Receiving An Interest-Free Motor Vehicle Loan Will Damage BBC’s Credibility Says The Former Head

‘It Is A Shame And Very Disappointing, BBC Should Investigate Its Journalists’ – Says Dr Saravanamuttu

Exclusive: Investigate Your Journalists! – Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe To BBC’s Lord Chris Patten

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Latest comments

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    What is there to be re-trained? The buggers should be sacked.

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    The BBC should investigate all their journalists especially the ones posted in countries where regimes are known for corrupt practices. Is it not possible that journalists could be bought by these corrupt regimes.

  • 0
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    Great work CT, I wonder why other Sri Lankan media don’t raise this issue. I think all are corrupt.

  • 0
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    Great work CT & Mr Ranetunge

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    credit goes to sunday divaina defece writer keerthi warnakulasuriya. he is the man who expose this chandana bandaras appp for carloan i defence column hhe also expose ranath kumarasinghas application

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    What a bunch of corrupt idiots. Shame on you BBC.

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    Even in this letter BBC is wrong. Look at the way they sacked other section people. Why BBC did mislead the public and this complainant in the fist place? I’ve been reading this stories, the breach in not conflict of interest, but lying/misleading/ using political pressure to suppress complaints and using BBC properties for that.

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    Retrain is code word for look we are OK with what they did this is the outfit hid Jimmy Saviel for years things has not changed much.

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    What a bunch of no good, it shame this old bunch to be re trained. Waste of money BBC, they will do the same, how many trainings have you done before??

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