Colombo Telegraph

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


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