A new Sinhala television channel, `Kesara TV` will be launched today in London.
The initiator of this novel project, Dr. Sampath Wickremaratna says that his primary objective is to cater to the large number of Sinhala-speaking people in UK who have no direct access to a Sinhala television channel.
`There are other minority community television channels like Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Tamil but not a Sinhala one. That`s why I thought of starting this new channel`, he said in an interview with the Sunday Island.
Asked what Sinhala viewers can expect from this channel, he replied, `Programmes of Sri Lankan cultural values and identity will be shown. It is sad that a large number of Sri Lankans forget their roots when they live here. They are swiftly influenced by the `Ballroom and Disco Dance` culture of the West. I would be happy at least if Sri Lankan children born in the UK could learn about Sri Lanka and her people by watching this TV channel. I would also like to show what the expatriate community could do for their motherland`.
`News in Sinhala, English and Tamil will also be telecast`, he noted.
Q: Who will produce your programmes?
A: I have an experienced team, some of whom have worked in popular television channels in Sri Lanka.
Q: How can people access your channel?
A: Initially, we will telecast on the internet. They can watch the channel by logging on to www.kesaratv.com. In about 6 months time, they will be able to watch it on cable TV. We will also have a parallel radio channel. One can log on to
www.kesararadio.com to listen to it.
Q: You may be aware that there were some Sinhala TV channels that were launched in UK, but they closed down within a few months. Do you think you
will be able to survive?
A: Those channels were closed down because they didn`t have a proper plan. I want to start this on the internet first and then switch on to cable TV later. I have the backing from the Sri Lankan
community and I am confident that this is going to be a success.
Dr. Wickremaratna said that anyone in the world can watch this channel hassle-free. `I will be
providing a tiny device for a very small fee for those interested in viewing this channel via television.
Q: Are you a nephew of Rev. Marcelline Jayakody?
A: Yes, he was my grand uncle. I was very close to him. Maybe that`s why I want to follow in his footsteps and do some service to art. He
respected Buddhism. I am also a Catholic, but I also value Buddhism. I want to start my
channel daily with Pirith Chanting.
Dr. Wickremaratna, an Executive Manager in a private bank, is an accomplished football who represented Sri Lanka. He was the only Asian football referee in England. `I have also started the Sri Lanka Football Association in the UK with the help of my master, Upali Jothirathana`.