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BBC Tamil Service facing closure

| by Our London Correspondent

( October 12, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Under the UK government’s cost saving plan, many foreign language services of the BBC are to be moved out to overseas centres.

Of these, the well kwon ‘Tamil Oasai’ service will be moved to New Delhi in 2015. Historically, the Tamil Service was started on May3, 1941 and after almost 75 years of its operation from London, the service is to be broadcast from New Delhi.

According to critics, this decision will lead to eventual closure of the service, as it is said to give greater emphasis to focus its coverage in Tamil Nadu where unhindered radio services are operating. The listeners of Tamil Osai service is said to mainly Sri Lankan Tamils who were starving for independent news during war time, and even after the end of the war the listenership has not come down due to heavy clampdown on the media by the Sri Lankan government.

British parliamentarians have started their own campaign against the decision to move.

Joining the campaign to halt the transfer is the former Labour Minister and Shadow Minister of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Gareth Thomas MP, who has written to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for their comments for him to make further representation on the issue.

He has filed a written Parliamentary Question (PQ) stating:

‘To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will review the decision to move the BBC Tamil Service from London to Delhi; and if he will make a statement’.

In order to progress, further Shadow Minister is taking advice to file a Parliamentary petition on the issue.

According to reliable sources, BBC Sinhala Service will not be affected by the government decision to move out to a overseas centre.

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