For the first time advertising the editor post of the BBC Sinhala Service, BBC World Service is to recruit a new editor to end nepotism and favouritism in the section, a source close to BBC told Colombo Telegraph.
The BBC has now advertised in its website, under the Careers Section the vacancy for the post of Editor of the Sinhala service, promising a salary in the range of 43000- 46000 sterling pounds per annum.
The advertisement says; “BBC Sinhala Editor will ensure content to the Sinhalese speaking audience in Sri Lanka and worldwide meets the highest standards of journalism and is always delivered in accordance with BBC editorial guidelines”. “It seems none of the permanent employees of the BBC Sinhala would be suitable to apply for the post”, someone who has seen the advertisement told Colombo Telegraph.
During last three years most of the senior BBC Sinhala broadcasters were sacked, forced to resign or removed from their duties and the section was under caretaker managers who were not the speakers of Sinhala Language.
Editor Priyath Liyanage was removed from his editorial duties in November 2013 due to unsound editorial judgements and since then BBC Sinhala service has been without a sitting editor to oversee the day today administrational functions.
In 2015, Senior Producer Chandana Keerthi Bandara was sacked on bullying and harassment charges and Producer M. J. R. David had to resign from his post due to ill health and also following a bullying and harassment allegations. The only producer remaining at the BBC Sinhala Wimalasena Hewage is to take voluntary redundancy with the proposed restructuring, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns.
Of the remaining two senior staff, presenter Saroj Pathirana was accused of a bogus marriage to get permanent residency in the United Kingdom. It is alleged that he married a woman who had her first marriage when Pathriana was a seven years old boy and the issue is now under investigation, Colombo Telegraph further learns.
Another presenter at BBC Sinhala, Thisara Aravinda Rathuwithana, a son of popular astrologer and former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s advisor, Piyasena Rathuwithana was accused of money laundering.
Neither Saroj Pathirana nor Thisara Aravinda Rathuwithana have had any journalistic training or media experience at the time they got their jobs at BBC and many questions were raised about certain appointments of the section during the editorship of Priyath Liyanage including the appointment of the current Colombo correspondent. It was alleged that the Editor Liyanage was under investigation for ethics violations when he sat on the interview panel to select the Colombo correspondent.
Considering all these facts the BBC is trying to recruit a new Editor who can deliver the ethos of public sector broadcasting with due regards to the values of BBC and follow its guidelines, Colombo Telegraph learns.
The closing date for BBC Sinhala Section Editor post is 27th of January 2016. We publish below the advertisement in full.
Editor, BBC Sinhala Service
BBC Sinhala is part of the BBC Asia Region which consists of 11 dynamic languages that produce multimedia content in text, video, interactive and audio for radio, online, mobile and Social Media platforms. BBC Sinhala delivers content to the Sinhalese speaking audience in Sri Lanka and around the world through its desktop and mobile sites, as well as through social media platforms. The service also delivers radio output on shortwave and via FM partners.
BBC Sinhala Editor will ensure content to the Sinhalese speaking audience in Sri Lanka and worldwide meets the highest standards of journalism and is always delivered in accordance with BBC editorial guidelines. They will also be responsible for commissioning creative and innovative content for all the service’s platforms. The incumbent is expected to, with the help of the Regional Editor for Asia, determine the overall strategic direction for BBC Sinhala. They will also provide editorial and managerial leadership to production teams in London and overseas.
The Ideal Candidate
This role will require a successful track record in an editorial role in TV, radio, online or print media and demonstrable experience of making sound judgements on editorial and political issues. You will have fluency in both written and spoken Sinhala and English and the ability to communicate effectively in both languages. You’ll have a sound knowledge of production and distribution processes, techniques and technology, and how emerging technology can most effectively be harnessed for the benefit of the audience. Detailed current knowledge of Sri Lanka and the wider target area as well as the changing needs of the audience and the developing media situation. This position will also need you to have business planning experience, have the ability to manage finances and resources and have recent and relevant knowledge of the region’s history and culture, coupled with detailed current knowledge of Sri Lanka and the wider target area. You will have previously lead and developed a team and managed budgets
Salary Package Range – £43,994 to £46,500 pa (including allowances)
About the Company
We don’t focus simply on what we do – we also care how we do it. Our values and the way we behave are very important to us. Please make sure you’ve read about our values and behaviours in the document attached below. You’ll be asked questions relating to them as part of your application for this role.
To apply click here