UK’s IBC Tamil radio ordered to award damages to Jayadevan



By Sujeewa Nivunhella in London

An unreserved apology, substantial damages and costs have been agreed in a landmark out of court mediation effort on a libel action initiated by  Rajasingham Jayadevan against the IBC Tamil radio operating from London.

 IBC Tamil radio is run by Sathy Media Ltd., with Subramaniam Sathiyavadivelu as the overall controller, who has editorial responsibility for broadcasts. The libel action was initiated by Jayadevan following serious unverified allegations levelled against him in the IBC broadcasts and in the affiliated website. 

IBC Tamil broadcasts on terrestrial and satellite platforms aimed at  the Tamil community in the UK  and has a substantial audience in 87 countries. 

Jayadevan stands exonerated  on allegations of  fraud that had been leveled against him since 2002 by pro-LTTE and the Sri Lanka government backed paramilitary EPDP sympathetic Salasalappu websites and subsequently by the IBC Tamil. 

After a marathon nine and a half hours mediation meeting held on the request of IBC Tamil at the Bindman LLP offices in the Central London on January 31, 2014, mediator Richard Price, an experienced and much respected commercial mediator at the Bar, conducted the negotiations to a successful conclusion.  

An order was signed by both the contending parties, which was sealed by the High Court confirming consent and order that all further proceedings in this High Court action initiated by Jayadevan be stayed except for the purpose of carrying the following terms into effect:  

* Not to repeat, whether by his agents, servants or otherwise on IBC radio or on or howsoever cause to be repeated in any other media, the allegations complained of in this claim, including allegations that Jayadevan has committed a fraud on the Temple collection box, or has fraudulently handled Temple finances, or any similar allegations; and    

* That, in the event that he (Sathiavadivelu) transfers the licence to operate IBC Tamil Radio, he will make any future operator of the station aware of this legal complaint and his undertaking.

    As part of the order, IBC Tamil agreed to publish and broadcast the following apology in Tamil for three days in the radio and also publish the same for a month in their website from February 7, 2014: 

Sathy Media Ltd., and its director Mr Subramaniam Sathiyavadivelu, broadcasters of TBC Tamil radio, would like to apologise to Mr Rajasingham Jayadevan, a Trustee of the Eelapatheeswarar Aalayam, Wembley, for broadcasting and publishing untrue defamatory statements about him in radio news bulletins and on IBC’s website. 

In a news bulletin on December 3, 2012, as a result of an editorial mistake, we broadcast allegations that Mr Jayadevan had been involved in ‘major land frauds’. We are happy to clarify that this allegation was made entirely in error and was therefore false. We sincerely apologize to Mr Jayadevan for the distress that our mistake has caused him. 

We also reported unverified false news claims that Mr Jayadevan was guilty of major financial frauds, had committed a fraud on the Temple collection box and had fraudulently handled Temple finances. 

We now recognize that these allegations are also untrue and should never have been broadcast or published. 

We sincerely apologize to Mr Jayadevan for the harm and distress caused to him and his family by these allegations and have agreed to pay him substantial damages, together with his costs.


Following his successful effort to get LTTE’s Chief Negotiator, Anton Balasingam, to the United Kingdom in 1999, that led to the peace agreement in 2001 between the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE, a campaign of vilification and harassment was let loose against Jayadevan by the LTTE  elements in the UK, who resented him playing  a role in the Tamil political arena.  

These LTTE elements carried out a relentless campaign in their web media. LTTE’s and managed by the Norway based Nadarajah Sethurupan for the LTTE were in the forefront to denigrate Jayadevan and the campaign degenerated to the extent that  the faces of Jayadevan and his wife were affixed to pornographic  images and displayed in a clandestine website alleged to be managed by Sethurupan for six months. The campaign against Jayadevan was obviously quite venomous, despicable and unlawful,  and did not spare even his family.  

The campaign reached the peak following Jayadevan’s release from kidnap and incarceration by the LTTE in Vanni in 2005. On his release, he was outspoken about his experience. This show of defiance was unexpected by the LTTE and it used the media in its control and comments sections in other websites to insult and harass him, using the allegations of fraud that had been concocted. 

Jayadevan regards his involvement  in the founding and  management of the Eelapatheeswarar Aalayam in London, provided  a platform  for LTTE and EPDP affiliated elements  to level unfounded allegations of financial fraud at the temple, centered around him.

There were several complaints of fraud to Scotland Yard and the Charity Commission by these elements. The campaign against Jayadevan intensified to the extent that a complaint was made by a British MP to the Scotland Yard. Investigations were undertaken and no wrong doings were found against Jayadevan.  Related reports are in the public domain. The campaigners were only interested in mudslinging and their campaign was determined and relentless. 

Jayadevan’s determined effort to deal with the harassment was not successful. Criminal, civil and regulatory avenues were not adequate until recently to deal with campaign of harassment, threatening calls and hate news publication in websites.  

This is not the first time Jayadevan sought justice in the Court of Law.  In 2005, when the temple was forcibly taken over by the LTTE during his captivity in the Vanni, he had to seek legal remedy on his release and return, and the High Court released the property from  LTTE control.   

The present dispute with the IBC Tamil was a result of management difficulties at the temple involving the delegated Executive Committee at the Eelapatheeswarar Aalayam in December 2012 that needed the intervention of the Board of Trustees of the temple constitutionally. There was a need to effectively bring an end to the Executive Management Committee as constituted, in view of financial irregularities and irresponsible management.

Jayadevan was involved in the process. The Board of Trustees intervention was heavily resisted by some members of the Executive Committee who involved the police and used ‘IBC Tamil’ to broadcast  false news against Jayadevan.


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