Dated: 2006/06/05 1:58 PM (GMT-05:00)
Dear Bernard Gabony,
I’m deeply disappointed with the Tamil news service, that is part of BBC, namely BBC Tamil Voice. Worldwide BBC has the people’s trust on news for its integrity and neutrality among other qualities. As part of the well known name, BBC, our Tamil service is heard by the Tamils around the world. In an effort to shed some light on to our freedom struggle in Sri Lanka, Mr. Idaikadar, a British citizen and recently re-elected Harrow Councillor, is also chair of the newly-formed All party Tamil Councillors and Associates, is doing a hunger strike for 101 hours. The so called “BBC Tamil Voice” has not addressed this remarkable effort by Mr. Idakadar on the news.
Being part of a name that we trust in news, BBC Tamil Voice should not behave biased on this matter. Moreover, BBC Tamil Voice seems to only address Sri Lankan state supported news and hence breaking the neutrality of the BBC.
My family, friends and I were deeply hurt and request BBC to address its neutrality in its subsidiary “BBC Tamil Voice”.
You may read more about the hunger strike at the following URL:
Dated: 2006/06/06 8:52 AM (GMT-05:00)
Thanks for your communication. I want to reassure you that the BBC takes coverage of events in Sri Lanka very seriously. The BBC is the only international broadcaster with a permanent presence there and we cover the country more extensively than any other foreign broadcaster. I would like to reinforce to you that the BBC seeks only to report events in Sri Lanka and their surrounding context, in as fair and impartial manner as possible. We have reported recently on a wide range issues in Sr Lanka including Sri Lankan military activities,Tamil Tiger activity and the Norwegian sponsored peace process.
This is a difficult conflict to cover. Information and events which take place without journalists present are difficult to verify. All we are able do is to report the different accounts given by the different parties involved and where possible, give some assessment of their validity. For example the recents deaths on the Kayts islet emerged slowly over a number of days, but they were reported by both the Tamil and Sinhala services and then by the BBC Correspondent in Sri Lanka and BBC Online. The BBC has subsequently covered in detail the calls for an inquiry by the Monitoring unit, our correspondent Dumeetha Luthra went to Kayts itself the following week and reported for radio and online from there.
Director, BBC World Service
Dated: 2006/06/06 9:14 AM (GMT-05:00)
Thanks for your prompt response. I really appreciate what BBC does and have no doubt that BBC will cover news unbiased. Our concern is about the BBC’s subsidiary “BBC Tamil Voice”, which broadcasts only Sri Lankan state supported news. For example, the hunger strike outside Britain’s Parliament done my Mr. Idaikadar’s has not been reported yet.
The 55-year old has triggered a veritable flood of support from our community. All our community people are disappointed by the BBC Tamil Voice’s stand on this issue. As I have noted in previous mail, not only this issue but BBC Tamil Voice has acted biased supporting Sri Lanka’s state supported news.
Nevertheless, thank you for your time and understanding our community people’s urge.