24 May, 2017

Expose: BBC Sinhala Head ‘Knowingly Mislead’ The Public

By Colombo Telegraph

Head of the BBC Sinhala Service Priyath Liyange knowingly misled the public and Sri Lankan newspaper editors with regard to BBC employees applying for the Sri Lankan government’s interest free vehicle loan, the Colombo Telegraph can exclusively reveal today.

Priyath Liyanage

Priyath Liyanage said on 03 December that ‘the BBC wishes to make clear that no BBC employee will be accepting car loans from the Sri Lankan government, now or in the future’

The Nation carried the full correspondence between its Editor Malinda Seneviratne and BBC’s Liyange under the title ‘Factoring integrity into media freedom’. (Read here).

Editor, BBC Sinhala Service Priyath Liyange, using the BBC Global News letterhead, on May 24, 2012 wrote to the Director General, Government Information Department of Sri Lanka that he endorses BBCs Colombo reporter Elmo Fernando’s interest free loan application to purchase a motor car.

In the letter he said; “Mr Fernando is a permanent employee of the BBC. He had been working for over twenty years and is paid a monthly wage of £750 ( Seven hundred and fifty pounds). I recommend Mr Fernando’s application to purchase a motor car under the above scheme. ( Read the original letter below)

Section 3 of the BBC Editorial Guidelines says; “We must not knowingly and materially mislead our audiences with our content.” “Now the question is whether BBC editors are allowed to mislead public and newspaper editors in official correspondence” one BBC ethics expert told Colombo Telegraph

Two of BBC journalists, BBC World Service producer Chandana Keerthi Bandara and the Colombo Reporter Elmo Fernando, applied Rs. 1,200,000/-each by way of ten year 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.

*Photo courtesy: Robert Sharp / English PEN

 

Related posts;

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

  • 0
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    What an Idiot this Liyange guy is??
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      The BBC, for all it’s shortcomings, is the best public service broadcaster in the world.Looks like these uneducated uncultured Sinhala rascals in the BBC destroying its goodwill.
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        The BBC is a huge moribund parallel-establishment which is like Britain’s colonial rule; it taxes the people irrespective of whether they want it (I haven’t watched a BBC programme in over a year, but still have to fork out to maintain this royalist behemoth. Its working according to the British foreign policy. These buggers a plying well both sides. Getting Tax payer money in one hand on the other is getting bribes from Sri Lankan government. Oh forgot collecting money from Tamil diaspora too and fooling them too. What a bunch of no good.
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        IT is a good way to find out the information of that particular country from it’s own citizens. I think a form of interferance in other countries as well as a form of espionage.
  • 0
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    This is ridiculous, how they claim there are journalists? Shame on you Mr Liyange, shame shame shame, you must resign!
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      True, those responsible for the lapses, whether willful or not, should pay a price for their incompetence, or trust in BBC standards will indeed plummet.
  • 0
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    Not an idiot, a CROOK
  • 0
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    Every one has a price and MR knows that. So even the BBC could be bought
    • 0
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      I’l tell you what whats the bigger picture is…its all about lying to the public and holding things back and covering things over and it seems to be inherent in the British establishment. Politicians with bogus second and third mortgages and duck houses and backhanders; politicians dubious relationships with media moguls controlling news output. We read Bahu man calling Ranil to cover up. Then Bahu passed message to BBC man Bandara, That means BBC man asked Bahu to intervene. Why Bahu guy did this? How Badara pay back to politicians like Bahu and Ranil? This is all about compromising journalistic integrity.
  • 0
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    What the fuck is this? Great CT thank you for investigation and keep us update this crooks. How on earth BBC can lie? This is a serious credibility issue. BBC must take action.
  • 0
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    Surely this whole discussion of inept BBC management. Cover up game , no credibility at all.
  • 0
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    people have always known right from wrong when it comes to ethics. why cannot these idiots?
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    There is NO EXCUSE for any such actions on property funded by the taxpayers while making programmes funded by the taxpayer.
  • 0
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    Mr Liyanage, now that the cat has jumped out of the bag what have you got to say? Egg on your face, isn’t it? Now, find an egg shell to hide your mug! You have compromised the BBC’s credibility and tarnished its image. You and your colleagues have also destroyed Sandeshaya painstakingly built by Wasantha Raja, a journalist with integrity, for a few rupees. You recommended your colleague’s application for a car loan and then you said no one was going to accept it when the truth came out. There’s word for people like you – hypocrites!
  • 0
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    Most people in media are psychologically ‘immune’ as to where fame and infamy starts and ends. Good work CT! I wonder why other media are not covering this issue? May be because their people also applied and got this loan. Shame on Sri Lankan media. A corrupt, bribe taking culture.
  • 0
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    This can hardly come as a surprise to anyone who actually listens the BBC Sinhala’s output. LOL
  • 0
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    If Elmo Fernando is a sri lankan and/or a dual citizen,I would think that he is eligible to apply for this loan,just like all other journalists. It maybe that Priyath Liyanage UNknowingly made his statement,without consulting the BBC administration.
  • 1
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    Cyril, re yr comment that Sandeshaya was “painstakingly built by Wasantha Raja”,may I add a bit of history to that? Sandesaya was actually founded by J.V. Fonseka, Sinhala scholar (anti-racist)and multi linguist,in the late 1940s. He began working at the BBC in London during the war in 1942, writing and reading a fortnightly letter to the country he left in 1932. He then founded Sandesaya, compered programme and engaged many visiting Sri Lankans to speak on it. In 1955 he finally returned to his home country where he became the Deputy Editor of the Sinhala Visvakosa (Encyclopaedia).
  • 1
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    Cyril, re yr comment that Sandeshaya was “painstakingly built by Wasantha Raja”,may I add a bit of history to that? Sandesaya was actually founded by J.V. Fonseka, Sinhala scholar (anti-racist) and multi linguist,in the late 1940s. He began working at the BBC in London during the war in 1942, writing and reading a fortnightly letter to the country he left in 1932. He then founded Sandesaya, compered the programme and engaged many visiting Sri Lankans to speak on it. In 1955 he finally returned to his home country where he became the Deputy Editor of the Sinhala Visvakosa (Encyclopaedia).
  • 0
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    Priyath Liyanage was a very good guy when he was cheering for LTTE while talking [Edited out] I say he is a like any other politicians. He has [Edited out]s from two ways.
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    Manel, let me add a bit more history: The Sinhala Service Mr Fonseka founded was not called Sandeshaya and it was discontinued in 1976. Further, it was limited to programmes on ‘British life-styles’. The Sinhala Service as Sandeshya with a focus on news and current affairs was founded by Wasantha Raja in 1990. Therefore, I was right in saying that Sandeshya was painstakinly built by him.
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    Cyril, I’m afraid you have your lines mixed up. The programme my father evolved after years of broadcasting his “London Letter” WAS called “Sandesaya” (which was the usual English transliteration until non linguists began to use a “sh”). Maybe by the time you listened to the programme which you say ended in 1976 it had changed a lot from that evolved by my father. However, I bow to your superior knowledge of W-Raja’s revival of the same-named programme in 1990.
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    Manel, much water has passed under the BBC bridge since your father worked for the ‘British Empire Service’ peddling the culture of colonial masters of his day! The Sinhala Service re-founded by Wasantha Raja in 1990 was radically different in the content,form and quality of its programs.
  • 0
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    Cyril, forgive me for barging in. Vasantha Raja’s Sandeshaya as well as Priyath Liyanage’s Sandeshaya may not have ‘peddled the culture of colonial masters’, but they were/are following the instructions of the colonial masters in more sinister way. Old ‘Sandesaya’ was trying to introduce a ‘culture’ whomever it was belonged to. But the new ‘Sandeshaya’ had agendas beyond culturing people. I am not trying to say one was right and the other was wrong. But I don’t see any reason to glorify re-established Sandeshaya as ‘radical’ or ‘anti-imperialist’, because it was/is not. One proof for my argument is- Sandeshaya is funded by British Foreign Office and not by BBC as many other language services. What do you think is the reason for that? By the way, In my ears old Sandesaya was more innocent and genuinely harmless compared to the latter. And, if Vasantha wanted his new program to be different from the old Sandesaya he could have chosen a completely different name for his program. Initially he was trying to emulate the old program and with time it was evolved to become more relevant to that time. Though you may not know, J V Fonseka’s Sandesaya also changed from the days it started and throughout. I am sure it must have reflected the time and then Sri Lankan community in UK as it was supposed to be. In that background, your radical talks here seem like rhetoric of a simple mind to me.
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    Chandra, to my ‘simple mind’ Wasantha Raja’s Sandeshaya was radical in its quality, content and the focus on news and current affairs: it was Sri Lanka focused and it was perhaps the only reliable source of information about what was happening in Sri Lanka itself, particularly during the brutal regime of President Premadasa. So, the radical change that Wasantha brought about was a shift of focus from peddling the culture of colonial masters and the life-styles of the SL community in the UK to a news and current affairs program with a focus on events in Sri Lanka. I didn’t say it was ‘anti-imperialist’ and though it was funded by the British FCO it maintained editorial independence. The reason for the British FCO funding of the language services is related to their overseas aid budget in that they are interested in seeing that their money is well-spent under good governance. So, they use the language services as sources of news-gathering and monitoring for informed policy-making and it’s in their interest to allow editorial independence to language services. To my ‘simple mind’ that is how imperial countries work in the post-modern era. However, enough of history, let’s get back to the issue at hand: my point was the present-day Sandeshaya editors, CK Bandara and Priyath Liyanage, are now compromising its credibility and impartiality by accepting ‘bribes’ from the Sri Lanka government.
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    Cyril, my apologies for the unwarranted use of inappropriate language. You have said eloquently what I was attempting to say. “….. The reason for the British FCO funding of the language services is related to their overseas aid budget in that they are interested in seeing that their money is well-spent………. So, they use the language services as sources of news-gathering and monitoring for informed policy-making….”
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    It is matter is reported to the BBC administration. It is very unlikely the BBC would tolerate this type of wrongdoing since it will surely affect its independent reporting.

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