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BBC suspends Sri Lanka broadcasts after 'interference' in Tamil programming

London:  The BBC said on Tuesday it was suspending its World Service FM radio broadcasts in Sri Lanka due to "continued interruption and interference" in its Tamil programming.

Both English language and Tamil services broadcast via the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) will be stopped with immediate effect, the British broadcaster said.

"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," World Service director Peter Horrocks said.

The Tamil service was jammed on March 16, 17 and 18, prompting the BBC to warn the SLBC it was in breach of its broadcasting agreement.

"Further disruption on Monday 25th March 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 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."

The BBC suspended its FM programming in Sri Lanka in similar circumstances in February 2009, during a major assault by that country's military on Tamil Tiger rebels.

The broadcaster said on Tuesday that listeners in Sri Lanka could still access the BBC on shortwave and via the BBC website.
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