22 October, 2020

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Frances Is The Complainant: ‘Allocating Inappropriate Time To SL Military And Misrepresentation’ Under BBC Investigation!

Colombo Telegraph can now reveal some details about BBC Sinhala Service’s alleged ‘editorial lapse’ that triggered the immediate suspension of the editor Priyath Liyanage and installing a thorough investigation. We understand Frances Harrison, a former BBC Colombo correspondent has made a strong protest about the programme in question to the highest BBC authority.

FrancesThe forty minute long BBC radio programme that looks into the ongoing abuses and human rights violations in Sri Lanka north has been the centre of the controversy, Colombo Telegraph learns. In contrast to several other World Service sections’ coverage of this documentary, the Sinhala Service is reported to have produced a roughly 3 minute programme that manifestly does injustice to the BBC documentary produced by Francis Harrison, a well-known authority on the subject.

Out of the three minutes, the Sinhala ‘Sandesaya’ has dubiously allocated just around one minute to cover the wide-ranging interviews of Tamil victims’ harrowing stories, using Sinhala voices. The programme in question was produced by the editor himself. The Sinhala programme produced by its head, Priyath Liayange, has been filled with his own interview with Sri Lanka’s military spokesman who merely used his time to attack Francis Harrison with allegations that are totally irrelevant to the issues raised in the main BBC programme. Francis Harrison herself has not been given the opportunity to respond.

Colombo Telegraph’s efforts to get reactions from Francis Harrison and the BBC press office to the above mentioned findings of the CT investigative team have failed so far.

Early this year the BBC Sinhala head was sent to follow a BBC course on Journalistic ethics after he was caught giving letters of recommendation to Sri Lanka government to approve interest free loans  to his deputy Chandana Keerthi Bandara and to the  Colombo reporter Elmo Fernando.

Related stories;

Sinhala Story On Frances Harrison’s BBC Documentary In Question, BBC Confirms Removing Programmes From Its Web

BBC Sinhala Head Suspended: Non Sinhala Bosses Appointed, Liyanage’s Reports On Frances Harison’s Documentary Removed From BBC Web

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

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

  • 1
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    Liyanage in of the Sinhala Diaspora and has been catering to its most extreme elements – to sell his product – and reproduced Sinhala racism!

    This is true of the Sinhala language press in Sri Lanka which is far more racist against minorities than the English language press in the country.

    The majority of the Sinhala diaspora like the majority of the Tamil diaspora is ultra-nationalist and racist.

    • 0
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      Would Frances Harrison report Channel 4 too? For highly biased, anti Sri Lankan, inflamatory broadcasting since 2009?

      I guess not. What a surprise!

      BBC Sandeshaya team may have had ethical issues. Signing up for housing loans etc offered by GOSL, if true.

      However, based on my experience with their programs, I can confirm they are not racist chauvnists.

      More often than not they stood up for the weak and the down trodden of Sri Lanka. That meant they often found themselves reporting hardships of Tamil Sri Lankans.

      Cheers!

      • 0
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        Murali’s 45 minute interview with Jon Snow was edited to a three minute interview totally misinterpreting what he said . Any chance of suspending John SNow?

    • 0
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      Legendary English cricketer, Sir Ian Botham’s daughter, Sarah, yesterday expressed shock and surprise at the unprecedented negative media coverage Sri Lanka was receiving in spite of rapid post-war recovery process.

      She said: “I am really, really sad about the media coverage. I have seen much progress on the ground though nothing is reported.”

      Sarah declined to comment on British Premier David Cameron’s threat to haul Sri Lanka up before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva next March unless the government addressed accountability issues.

      Cameron launched a broadside in Colombo on Saturday after having met President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

      “I couldn’t comment on the UK Premier or the British government position. What I am saying is that the media coverage doesn’t reflect the actual situation on the ground.”

      Responding to another query, Ms Botham said that her father, Ian, too, had been saddened by the unfortunate situation. She fondly recalled the support given by the Sri Lankan Army to the community as well as various projects that were being implemented for the benefit of the people in the Northern Province. Emphasising that much more had to be done to address grievances of the people since the conclusion of the war, she said that it was necessary to give a true picture without being prejudiced.

      She acknowledged that Beefy’s Big Sri Lanka Walk 2013 (Nov 1-9) would never have been a reality if not for the end of conflict.

      Botham walked from Kilinochchi, one-time administrative centre of LTTE operations to Seenigama to raise funds for sports-based community projects, including those managed by the Foundation of Goodness in Sri Lanka with the support of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.

    • 1
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      The Foreign Residents’ Association (FRA) of Sri Lanka, has said that Sri Lanka is the only country that has comprehensively overcome the spectre of terrorism and should be supported and encouraged in its reconciliation efforts.

      The FRA is made up largely of British citizens, who have settled down in Sri Lanka.

      In a statement released yesterday it added that since the conflict ended four years ago, there had not been a single terrorist inspired incident in the country.

      The full statement FRA statement:

      “CHOGM was a very dignified conference and the Sri Lankan people were given the chance to show the huge progress of the country after 30 years of turmoil. We, the Foreign Residents Association Executive Committee comprising nationals from different parts of the world, have chosen Sri Lanka as our country of residence. We have watched this country cope with unbridled terror and violence for over 30 years and recovery from the devastation of a tsunami. The conflict ended four years ago, in 2009. Since then there has not been a single terrorist inspired incident in this country. Indeed it could be said that Sri Lanka is the only country that has comprehensively overcome the spectre of terrorism.

      “There has been extensive development, reconstruction and resettlement in the war torn areas. The wounds of war, however, take longer to heal. The Sri Lankan Government appointed the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) headed by the former Attorney General of the country to identify the human toll of the conflict and to take meaningful steps towards reconciliation. The country is engaged in this task. For the first time in 30 years it is our understanding that democratic elections were held in the Northern Province in a very peaceful atmosphere and that the people who have suffered untold hardship had the opportunity to electing their leaders. The reconciliation process has started, but it cannot happen overnight. To ensure a peaceful future and lay bitter memories to rest there must be a common understanding.

      “The country needs and would like to be supported and encouraged to speed up this process.

    • 1
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      Only a fool can tell Harrison is not paid by Tamil diaspora who wants to see Sri Lanka is becoming a Hell. they use Harrison a totally biased so called journalist from BBC. All her criticism against the GOSL relevant to final stages of war deserves to be in rubbish heap. Even Rajapakses Sinhalese opponents are totally against a disgusting Journo like Harrison. irony is more and more Harrison’s and Chanel 4’s make Rajapakses popularity go up not down. this is a challenge face by Rajapases genuine opponents today.

    • 0
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      Truth about British politics. Specially David Cameron. Despicable!

      Dispatches by CH4 – inside Britain’s Israel Lobby:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E70BwA7xgU

      The truth about Israel lobby in the UK and David Cameron.

      LTTE Die-ass-pora is on the same path.

      Sri Lanka has a massive task to keep the country united.

      Cheers!

  • 0
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    Joseph Goebbels of Sri Lanka unmasked and laid bare!

    • 0
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      Thiru,

      If you compare Joseph Goebbels with Priyath Liyanage, it proves one point.

      You need help!

      Cheers!

  • 0
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    So Ms Harrison fixed these two Sinhala Kollas.

    What were they doing there in the first place?.

    Blimey, did they expect to be treated as equals?.

  • 0
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    that is how press freedom works in stinkin England . screw them . they should use tamils to run the BBC sinhala service like they did before . Then Frances will get the ability to talk to her toilet cleaning coolie all day !

    • 0
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      Toilet cleaning coolies – dont insult the Sinhala mothers and sisters who are in the ME, doing exactly the same !!!

    • 0
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      This is a lesson of why private political views and prejudices should be kept out of professional life which demands balanced objective thinking. Too often our guys mix the two up and end up in hot water. Looking at all the comments around it seems thinking objectively is a uphill task for most Sinhalese.

      • 0
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        Dushy,

        Agree with you on balanced objective thinking.

        However, Tamil Sri Lankans are as bad as their Sinhalese brethren, if not worse, in that department.

        Thinking objectively is an uphill task for most Sri Lankans & BRITS.

        True, Brits enjoy higher standards of Journalism as opposed to Sri Lankans. However, objective & verified reporting is a challenge for British journalists too. More often than not.

        CH4 has been on an unbalanced, out of context, relentless onslaught against SL for a while now. And Frances Harrison has made it her personal mission to drag Sri Lanka to The Hague.

        Both CH4 & Frnces Harriosn are very professional. However, for some “unknown reasons” lack objectivity on Sri Lankan affairs.

        Sri Lankans do have a POINT, when they whine about Western Media.

        Sri Lankan media is highly controlled by corrupt Rajapassa cronies. True.

        However, until recently Rupert Murdoch & News Corporation could decide who wins the next election in the UK. Corrupt? Yes!

        Let us cut some slack for “intolerant, narrow-minded, biased” Sri Lankans.

        Cheers!

        • 0
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          Your slip is showing ! LOL

          If the Ch4 is so biased, why did the regulators decide that the program was permissible?

          If they are speaking falsehood, why doesn’t the regime (that spends millions/billions on CHOGM and Bell Potinger) sue Ch4??

          • 0
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            Stevie,

            You seem to have rock solid faith in British media. Good luck!

            Given investigative credentials of CH4, how come they missed LTTE crimes such as the one shown in following clip. Where LTTE animals slaughter SLA soldiers who should have been POWs:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uphj8Vohec

            Where was the graphic footage of LTTE crimes against Sri Lanka in CH4 documentaries?

            About why GOSL does not sue CH4, please contact the dictator in Colombo.

            BTW, Rupert Murdoch says hello to you. He needs naive citizens such as yourself to manipulate the next UK election via British media.

            Cheers!

            • 0
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              Ben Hurling

              No one in their right mind would be brave enough to justify LTTE’s crime. However, LTTE’s war crimes do not wash away state’s roll in this horrid.

              As a Sinhala/Buddhist it seems your first objective is to defend undemocratic, brutal state. This state has demonstrated its inability to respect humans as we have witnessed in the past 42 years.

              Had the state been made answerable to the people we would not be discussing its role in war crimes since 1971.

              JVP and LTTE were the historical product of this island.

              The sad part is that you are still refusing to accept the overwhelming inflexible nature of the state which came into existence only because of the way nation building process have been carried out exclusively by majoritarian concept.

              Survival of the fittest means adapt and change when necessary. Iron fist policy of containing resentment cannot work and will not work. If it worked Dinosaurs would have survived.

              You too seem to be on the verge of extinction because you are reluctant to see beyond your nose.

              • 0
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                Native,

                I agree with most of the stuff you say above.

                However, state is not our enemy. State is actually us. The citizens. All of us. State is not corrupt Rajapassa clan or others of their ilk.

                Challenge is to humanize the Sri Lankan state. That is not easy. But, must be done.

                Cheers!

                PS: “Nation building process have been carried out exclusively by majoritarian concept.”. True. But, Nation building process was also disrupted by extreme, seperatist ethno-nationalism of a certain minority.

          • 0
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            Steve,

            By the looks of it, Ben has not been challenging the authenticity of the Ch 4 reporting but questioning the balance :)

            He needs to understand that in 2009 when the ch4 came to SL to report on the last stages of the war, GR personally abused them and ceremonially deported them. Ch4 took it as a challenge and with the available materials submitted by Gotta’s own solders, they produced the programmes! Their objective was to expose the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by GOSL. It is really pathetic that Ben took exception to this when he cannot prove that the evidences produced by Ch4 are unauthentic!

            If he is really concerned about SL, he should be happy about Ch4 challenging the MR regime; it looks as if the some good will come about resulting in accountability and good governance. Should he be happy about that?

            • 0
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              Burning,

              I have no problem with punishing criminals in Sri Lanka’s uniform. Swiftly & severely.

              It is obvious horrific things happened at the end of the war.

              Killings, torture & rapes in custody among them. These crimes are not exclusive to Ealam war IV.

              It has been happening in Sri Lanka since 1948. Courtesy Police, Military & corrupt politicians from UNP & SLFP.

              Difference now is that cunning LTTE Die-ass-pora is giving it max propaganda. Due to ulterior motives. Nothing to with human kindness for victims.

              Cheers!

              • 0
                0

                Ben,

                I do agree that those who supported the LTTE have now turned human rights defenders. However, there is a sizeable group of people comprising of various ethnicity concerned about Accountability, rule of Law and good governance. The Channel 4 has been a champion broadcaster on these matters world-wide. They helped to bring forth many hidden unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by corrupt states and non-state alike. They have a program called Dispatches that has been running for many, many years exposing events otherwise unheard of. It is totally unfair of you to label such an organisation that they have been influenced by the pro-LTTE people!

                I cannot fathom your term “unfair”. What do you mean by it? If you cannot prove the allegations that the programmes have put forward, one has to deem them authentic and the GOSL is answerable; where would the term “unfair” fit into this scenario?

                Moreover, you know perfectly well that the MR regime is consolidating inching towards a total dictatorship ostensibly camouflaged under the vail of democracy. You will need much more than Channel 4 programmes to dislodge such an unscrupulous regime. The bottom line is that, the Tamil Diaspora needs people like you and people like you need the Tamil diaspora and collectively, bring about this regime to account. There are no two ways about it; this is why I say that we need to congratulate the Channel 4 for taking interest in this matter!

        • 0
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          Very True Ben Like i said..
          Today the sections of the Int Community driven by the LTTE int Emigre propaganda arm..Want sri lanka to be punished for war crimes.. When it airs films it blames the entire Government , Armed forces and not Individual isolated incidents.. Last evening i was speaking to a Lady at the Dutch Bugher Union.. She was outraged as how a certain PM’s talk about war crimes.. when she had lost her son during the Battle of Elephant pass.. which fell to the LTTE.. The army declared him as many others as MIA.. As these areas were now under LTTE rule.. And after contacting the Red cross and ICRC.. they Got a reply from the LTTE saying there were no Army personal alive, no personal had surrendered.. They said the ‘ sri lankan army fights to the last man’.. Like SHE POINTED OUT this happened on many many occasions when the Sri Lankan Army lost ground to the LTTE.. Not one Army personal had surrendered.. They were all dead.. ;fights to the last man’ as the LTTE says.. But like someone then pointed out to me.. You just have to see the Old LTTE propaganda footage which the tigers Videoed and sent to Middle class Tamil Emirges to show their success in order to raise money.. You see Sri Lankan soldiers Dead in ditched with no guns’ In some occasions in their shorts and just a t-shirt not eve boots on their feet.. We all know that the LTTE took no prisoners.
          So where is the Justice???? and speaking to many many sri lankans Sinhala, Bugher, Muslim and some Tamils who were in the forces who fought the LTTE and the Victims of the suicide Bombings all in one voice saying where was Our Justice.. when our loved ones were captured or died by a suicide attack???? And they have started equally to Hate as one these radical Tamils in the North.. Today these Foreign Governments influenced by LTTE Propaganda are Treating sri lankan Like Germany was treated after world war 1.. the Versailles treaty did not acknowledge the suffering of the German’s and put the blame solely on that nation..which eventually gave rise to NEW radical elements.. And today we see sri lankans Versailles moment when they talk about Justice not even one mention of the LTTE tigers of its True contex and the suffering it cause others.. And only Tamil Northern Suffering we see.

      • 0
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        Dushy Ranetunge

        “Looking at all the comments around it seems thinking objectively is a uphill task for most Sinhalese.”

        For most Tamils too.

      • 0
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        Look who is Talking….

      • 0
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        Balanced objective thinking?? BBC?? Like Dushy’s sense of humor.

        BBC doesn’t seem to mind the private political views and prejudices of Frances Harrison.

  • 0
    1

    You are spot on Colombo Telegraph. This story of yours is
    quite accurate. Anyone in Francis’ place would have
    complained. There has been a lot of bullshit from Brigadier
    Ruwan Wanigasooriya in the programme to contradict Francis
    (no angel of mine though). The question is whether the Sri
    Lanka High Commission here (London) has bought over these
    people for a few Sterling Pounds, much like how 14 Conservative
    MPs were purchased. Story teller Neville de Silva (now Deputy
    High Commissioner) is doing his own buying whilst High
    Commissioner Nonis does his own. Neville and Nonis are sworn
    enemies. They hate each other like the Government hates Channel 4.
    People should know where the taxpayer’s money is going.

    • 0
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      Lessons learnt from you . An eye opener surely. we all know how the poor mans coppers are wasted by the buggers in the foreign missions. Fun to have enemies in the same office. Great story. Including the senile demented curry loving lordship in the spin.

  • 0
    0

    I find it very difficult to understand why the journalist have not learnt any lessons yet. Srilnlaka has their own jounalists.They work for them. if they do not like them the journalist would be asked to leave the country saying it is not safe to work there. This was exactly what they did during the massacre. Further this is not new. If local journalist say anything the government do not like they would be killed.
    It was interesting to read the Times yesterday where Professor Chandra Wickramasinge says let Srilanks have some time to have some peace.

    It was a very good suggestion because the Srilanka could complete their mission (?????Tamils existence) Until then why not Journalist like FH and channel 4 keep out of their way and help Srilanka to complete the mission.
    Then there would be peace all the time. No problem from Tamils.

  • 0
    0

    Even Dinosaurs are being dragged into the debate to help C4 and its paymaster’s putsch.

    Would any one in his/ her right mind expect BBC is to be impartial when the Paymaster is not?.

    It is mind boggling how most of these BBC and Cameron cheer squads here, have become oblivious to the part which was played and paid by consecutive British Govts to keep Mr Praba destroying everything in his reach as well as even far.for three decades with Dr Balasingham,being treated as the sort of the first Eelaam Prez.

    Mrs Balasingham, although not a British Citizen still lives in peace and harmony with British pension , after her loyal long service to the LTTE and specially to the Womens’ Brigade ..

  • 0
    0

    Let us get one thing straight. Frances Harrison was BBC Correspondent in Colombo for a brief period and none of it during the intensive LTTE vs Government all out offensive.

    Priyath had been there a very long time covering the conflict. As Head of Sinhala Service he takes editorial decisions which would not please everyone.

    The reason he was suspended – not dismissed – pending an inquiry into his authorising some deal with his staff willingly or unknowingly.

    Priyath did not profit from such deals as far as we know.

    Knowing him over a long period of time and the fact he held his portfolio for a very long time it is scandaloous that people cast aspersions on his character.

    I will vouch for a fact he is no racist but a journalist with integrity.

  • 0
    0

    Wonder why CT thought that belowtype foot notes are required for an unrelated news item. Was it to inflence the perceptions of the readers? What is the agenda?

    “Early this year the BBC Sinhala head was sent to follow a BBC course on Journalistic ethics after he was caught giving letters of recommendation to Sri Lanka government to approve interest free loans to his deputy Chandana Keerthi Bandara and to the Colombo reporter Elmo Fernando.”

  • 0
    0

    Irony of the issue is Francis and Priyath are in the same side. Priyath, Bandara and Francis used to share and complement each others’ media ‘projects’ during the height of LTTE activities. I assume they had a quite good friendship and mutual understanding whom they were working for.

    Knowing how Sinhala media works, it is unlikely Francis really got worried about accuracy of an interview given by a SL military man to a little heard program. Sandeshaya is not widely listened nor making opinions in Shri Lanka. Apart from that it is difficult to think she gives a damn about what Sinhalese think of her.

    So why she took this so seriously? How she got to know what was said in Sinhalese in the program? How she got to know of the details of the making of the piece? What had been discussed when she asked for an explanation over the phone from Priyath?

    As it said, in the business world friendship has only a very little value.

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