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Rediff.com  » News » BBC suspends Sri Lanka broadcasts after 'interference'

BBC suspends Sri Lanka broadcasts after 'interference'

March 27, 2013 03:29 IST

BBC World Service has suspended all its broadcasts in Sri Lanka due to "continued interruption and interference" in its Tamil programming.

“We regret the disruption in service to our loyal audiences in Sri Lanka, but such targeted interference in our programmes is a serious breach of trust with those audiences, which the BBC cannot allow," said Peter Horrocks, World Service director.

Both English language and Tamil services broadcast via the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation will be stopped with immediate effect, Britain's premier broadcasting agency said, after its FM relay programmes between March 16 and 18 were jammed and further disruption occurred Tuesday.

"We spoke to SLBC last week...and warned them they were in breach of their broadcasting agreement. Further disruption... has left the BBC with no alternative but to suspend the service with immediate effect," Horrocks said.

"If the SLBC have specific complaints about any BBC output they should take them up with us, as we have invited them to do and not interfere directly with broadcasts in ways that are unacceptable to the BBC and misleading to our audiences," he said.

The BBC took similar action in 2009 when its services were also disrupted during a major assault by the country's military on the LTTE.

The corporation said that it is still possible for audiences in Sri Lanka to access the BBC on shortwave and via the corporation's online services.

The BBC action coincides with a warning by the US that it may be forced to investigate alleged war crimes if the Sri Lankan government did not conduct its own inquiry.

The warning came days after a UN Human Rights Council resolution was passed, encouraging Sri Lanka to conduct an independent and credible investigation in relation to allegations of civil war-related atrocities. 

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