”While BBC Sports pages carried match information in full, cricket reporting on BBC Sinhala home page was conspicuous by its absence, except when the story was about malpractices or other negative aspect of Sri Lanka’s Cricket administration or politics in general”.
United Lankans, comprising Sri Lankans based in the UK, are up in arms over the failure on the part of the BBC Sinhala website to report the recently concluded Sri Lanka tour of the UK.
The following is the text of a letter dated July 13, sent by James de Alwis on behalf of the United Lankans to BBC: “I believe one of the primary purposes of the BBC Sinhala website is to Inform, Educate and Entertain Sinhala speaking people world over, bringing them news, views and information about Sri Lanka, their home country, the only country Sinhala is spoken by a majority population.
During the recent tour of Sri Lanka’s Cricket team, there were sporadic protests by those appeared to be separatist Tamil Diaspora demanding the British public boycott Sri Lanka Cricket. They were vociferous at times making no secret of their allegiance to a banned and now defeated separatist terrorist organization, the LTTE, by waving quite openly, the insignia of the said UK-banned terrorist organization.
As a regular visitor to the BBC Sinhala website, I couldn’t but suspect you have indeed taken heed to these demands and have boycotted reporting Sri Lanka Cricket on your BBC Sinhala website.
I have observed a rather unusual pattern of cricket reporting on BBC Sinhala during the recent tour. While BBC Sports pages carried match information in full, cricket reporting on BBC Sinhala home page was conspicuous by its absence, except when the story was about malpractices or other negative aspect of Sri Lanka’s Cricket administration or politics in general.
The comprehensive defeat of Sri Lanka on 28th June was reported on the home page titled “Alastair Cook delighted with special England win” the following day, while none of the two Sri Lanka victories were given any prominence on the BBC Sinhala Home Page! This is inexplicable as, like me, thousands of Sinhala speaking expatriates would expect “their page” to carry news that interests them (and cricket does interest any Sinhalese!). Sadly this was not the case. No further cricket news was available on the main pages (expect for links to cricket on BBC Sports).
Instead, we read articles critical of Sri Lanka cricket administration and Sri Lankan politics in general. One could not but wonder if those who contribute articles to and/or edit BBC Sinhala have an anti-Sri Lanka political agenda, highlighting only negative aspects of Sri Lankan affairs. Rarely do I read articles or reports that interest the Sinhalese, such as religious festivals, Sinhala – Tamil New Year or a plethora of activities going on in Sri Lanka the Sinhalese would have much interest in.
If indeed BBC Sinhala has boycotted Sri Lanka Cricket, I need no further explanation except that it raises questions about BBC Sinhala’s integrity and their conformity with Ofcom regulations as well as BBC’s own producer guidelines.
If not, I would like an explanation to these apparent abnormalities of reporting. I feel it is time to re-visit the purpose of BBC Sinhala’s very existence and introduce a large scale overhaul to take the service back to what it was created for – to inform, educate and entertain the Sinhala speaking people of the world.
We will also be logging a complaint using the usual means.”