Asjad Nazir, showbiz editor for Eastern Eye, has scripted an online petition calling for more Pakistani music on BBC Asian Network.

The petition is a response to claims by Lord Ahmed and some current and former Asian Network employees that there is an anti-Muslim bias at the radio station.

The petition reads:

According to the BBC Asian Network’s service licence, “the music played [on it] should include a broad range of South Asian-influenced music, with a particular emphasis on new and live music and British Asian artists”.

Eastern Eye highlighted the lack of Pakistani and British Pakistani artists on the radio station’s playlist last year. It assessed a list of the BBC Asian Network’s last 22 playlists to the week ending 28th October 2007, which showed that only about five per cent of songs on them were by artists of Pakistani descent. For the week beginning 21st July 2008, the percentage of tracks by such artists of Pakistani-decent on the BBC Asian Network playlist – which published online by the corporation – was less than two per cent.

The station’s service budget for 2008 is 8.7million.

Would you like to hear more music by artists of Pakistani-descent on the BBC Asian Network in future?

The petition can be found at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/anee2008/petition.html

Furthermore, a poll ran on BizAsia.co.uk asking readers whether the BBC Asian Network fully represents various music genres, out of the 200 voters so far, an overwhelmingly 75% said “no” the BBC Asian Network did not. The poll remains online until Sunday.

Related links:

Asian Network investigated for ‘anti-Muslim bias’

Pak music industry fury at BBC Asian Network

BBC Asian Network deny conflict of interest claims