"Hardtalk" too hard for BBC?
Courtesy The Island 01-03-2008
Speculation has been mounting recently as to why the 'Hardtalk' interview
that Zeinab Badawi had done on February 4, 2008 with the Sri Lankan
Governor of the Central Bank. Nivard Cabraal has not been aired so far.
The reason for such non-airing has been given as the tape being erased
"accidentally" due to a "technical glitch", according
to BBC sources.
The interview of 'Hardtalk' was recorded by the BBC at their plush,
state-of-the-art studio at Shepherd's Bush, London, where the Governor
was personally present on February 4, 2008, to mark the 60th Anniversary
of Sri Lanka's independence. As expected, the questions and the line
of questioning was tough and in fact, according to those who were able
to listen in, it was even tougher than usual. But, according to these
witnesses, the Governor was up to it and his answers had been clear,
firm, and revealing.
So much so, that it is now believed that the responses received from
him may not have been the type of responses that the BBC was expecting,
and in those circumstances the BBC is now not very eager to air the
interview. Such speculation gains credence, particularly in the light
of BBC's general harsh attitude towards Sri Lanka, which line of reporting
would have obviously received a set back in the face of the answers
given by the Governor.
So, the likelihood of the BBC taking the easy way out, by claiming
that the tape has been erased, pleading technical problems, is fairly
logical. The only problem of taking such a stand is that, the hard question
now arises as to whether the BBC is actually independent, impartial,
This fiasco should perhaps open the eyes of the Sri Lankan people as well as the international community as to the partial role that is being carried out by the BBC in respect of Sri Lanka's affairs, where the BBC seems very keen to project Sri Lanka in a poor light, notwithstanding the many successes that Sri Lanka has been able to achieve in many fields. Knowledgeable sources state that the Central Bank Governor, in the 'Hardtalk' interview enumerated the positive aspect of Sri Lanka's economy and political scene, and that he also clarified the true position vis-à-vis many controversial claims and perceptions that have been cleverly put forward and widely publicized by hostile analysts and media institutions. In that context, the fact that a reputed institution such as BBC has thought it fit to state that the interview cannot now be aired because the tapes have been erased due to a technical glitch is, to say the least, shocking and is clearly unacceptable.
It may also be useful to ascertain as to who in the BBC had reviewed the Governor's interview on 'Hardtalk', and as to who had issued the instructions to trot out the excuse that the tape has been erased due to a technical glitch. Hopefully, such an investigation, if carried out, may throw some light on the wider issue of the BBC's continuous slanted reporting about Sri Lanka and perhaps even enlighten the world about how certain media 'hit-men' act to systematically destabilize nations.
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