BBC journalist who says he was sacked for telling the truth about Sri Lankan civil war wins unfair dismissal appeal
Posted on September 16th, 2016

By Dominic Ponsford  Courtesy BBC world service

A BBC World Service journalist who claims he was sacked for favouring coverage about the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils has won an appeal and successfully argued that he was unfairly dismissed.

Chandana Bandara lost his job on 15 August 2014 after he declined to put a story out on the BBC Sinhala service website about the birth of Prince George.
He decided not to prioritise the royal birth story, partly – he said – because it was the 30th anniversary of Black July (a wave of anti-Tamil violence that saw thousands killed in Sri Lanka).

The tribunal appeal found that BBC bosses erred by giving him a final written warning following the Prince George incident, despite his previously good disciplinary record over the previous 18 years.

Among those to give evidence on his behalf were Callum Macrae, an award-winning documentary maker who has chronicled the targeting of civilian Tamils at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2008/2009.

Asked for a comment, he told Press Gazette today: I’m delighted that Bandara has been vindicated. This really was a shameful episode.
It seemed very clear that the BBC Sinhala service gave the impression of toeing the government line, particularly when it came to the tragic events at the end of the war.

Bandara’s attempts to tell the truth, a truth that’s now been vindicated by various UN inquiries, was stymied by editorial decisions which – for whatever reason – appeared to be consistent with the interests of the discredited government.”

Macrae’s documentary No Fly Zone chronicled how thousands of Tamil civilians were killed by government shelling at the end of the Sri Lankan civil war.

Bandara claimed he was unfairly targeted because of his belief that the Tamil people of Sri Lanka have been persecuted by the Sinhala-dominant government.

Most his colleagues were said to be of Sinhalese, rather than Tamil, heritage.

He said: I am delighted and very relieved to have been vindicated by this result.

Trying to tell the truth about what was happening in Sri Lanka in the face of constant criticism and editorial interference was a difficult and painful experience.

Having to then spend two years trying to clear my name and restore my reputation as a committed and professional journalist was even worse.

I’d like to thank everyone who believed in me and supported me throughout this process.”

A spokesperson for the BBC World Service said: We are disappointed with the outcome on the unfair dismissal claim. The BBC takes disciplinary matters very seriously.
We are waiting for a full decision from the tribunal, which we will review carefully.”

A remedies hearing today was set to decide what compensation Bandara is entitled to.

2 Responses to “BBC journalist who says he was sacked for telling the truth about Sri Lankan civil war wins unfair dismissal appeal”

  1. plumblossom Says:

    Perhaps the BBC world service can answer the following questions:

    Sri Lanka has had 26 years of conflict from 1983-2009. In this period (inclusive of the first, the middle and the last stages of the war), it is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terrorist group who massacred over 47,000 mainly Sri Lankan Armed Forces members and also civilians.

    It is true that there was an anti -Tamil riot way back in 1983 which cannot be condoned under any circumstances. Even there, a presidential commission of inquiry headed by a Tamil judge no less found that only 355 Tamil people died and even that due to thugs running riot which the UNP Government at the time did not control which they should have. What a few hundred thugs did cannot be blamed on an entire country. Those thugs should be blamed for that and also the UNP Government at the time. What is not said is that it was also the beginning of the ethnic cleansing of the whole of the North of Sinhala people who lived in the North and the LTTE terrorists beginning its massacres of Sinhala villagers in the North. Doe the BBC world service condone that?

    Also ‘discrimination’ of Sri Lankan Tamils is a total lie. How so other minorities are not complaining i.e. Muslims, Indian Tamils, Malays, Burgers, Veddhas, nobody. Only Sri Lankan Tamils are complaining.

    The LTTE massacred over 35,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members, Police Force members and Civil Defense Force members over 6000-7000 overwhelmingly Sinhala but also Muslim civilians, 1,253 Indian Peacekeeping Forces (IPKF) members, over 2,000 Tamil Armed Group members who supported the Government of Sri Lanka and who were against the LTTE, around 3,000 Tamil civilians and all this add upto 47,000. Around 35,000 LTTE terrorists are estimated to have perished too. In all around 84,000 in total have perished in total in the war.

    It is the brutal LTTE terrorists who massacred over 47,000 mainly Sri Lankan Armed Forces members, Police Force members, Civil Defense Force members in over 26 years of war. Over 23,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members are today both temporarily and permanently disabled due to the war. Over 13,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members are permanently disabled due to the war. Over 156,000 Sri Lankan Armed Forces members have been injured due to the war. Over 6,000-7,000 overwhelmingly Sinhala but also Muslim civilians have been massacred by the LTTE terrorists in the war of over 26 years.

    If the BBC World Service can prove the above statistics wrong, please do so. Otherwise please do not insult the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka and the thousands of Sri Lankan citizens who were massacred by the LTTE terrorists for over 26 years. Thankfully the Sri Lankan civil war is at an end.

    The Western Media did absolutely nothing while the LTTE terrorist group recruited over 20,000 child soldiers, all Tamil youth, as attested by UNICEF itself which stated in 2007 that perhaps the LTTE has recruited over 20,000 young persons under the age of 18 years into its cadre between 1983-2007 inclusive.

    The LTTE terrorist group also ethnically cleansed the entire Sinhala and Muslim population of the Northern Province, of over 65,000 Sinhala people and over 75,000 Muslim people of the Northern Province in the 1980s and the 1990s. The LTTE also ethnically cleansed the entire Sinhala population of the Batticaloa District in the East of over 25,000 Sinhala people. The Western Media did absolutely nothing then too.

    Today, the Sinhala people and their descendants of over 135,000 are yet to be resettled in the North and in the Batticaloa District and Muslims of over 115,000 are yet to be resettled in the North. Uptil 2012, of the above number, around 32,000 Sinhala people and around 32,000 Muslims has been resettled in the North.

    The LTTE was notorious for its horrific terror tactics such as large scale bomb attacks and the use of suicide bombers in carrying out hundreds of attacks against mainly Sinhala civilians and the country’s leadership, horrific attacks against Sinhala civilians using IED devices, claymore mines and bombs, the massacre of Sinhala villagers in their villages in the North Central, Eastern, Northern and North Western Provinces, the coerced recruitment or abduction of Tamil youth and children for recruitment as child soldiers, forced money collection from Tamils with threats to life in case of non-compliance, attacks on Sri Lanka’s economic infrastructure such as the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), Sri Lanka’s the then only international airport, oil storage facilities, hotels, planes, buses, trains etc. ethnic cleansing of Sinhalese and Muslims from the North and East of Sri Lanka, the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the systematic assassination of over 120 noteworthy Sri Lankan politicians, civil servants, senior military and police officers, prelates, activists, academics, journalists and other professionals who were assassinated by the LTTE who were but a few of the hundreds of assassinations carried out by the LTTE, including the former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.

  2. charithsls Says:

    Who is this person holding a Sinhalese name who tried to project his motherland as a bana state to score a few points to have a good life in the UK. He got his immediate sacking from his notoriously corrupt BBC boss whose back he was trying to lick, working so long for them toeing their line. See who has come to rescue him ,the Macrae tiger. There are people who would sell their country religion or language for personal gains & ‘luckily in their eyes’ some so called Sinhalese have got this ‘marvellous opportunity’ due to the Tamil war.

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