BBC accused of bias against Sikhs & Hindus

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The BBC has been accused of being biased against religious groups like Sikhs and Hindus, according to the Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO).

Information made available to BizAsia.co.uk refers to a list that the organisation obtained from the BBC’ Religions and Ethics Department.

The data consists of a list of TV programmes commissioned by the department from the year 2000 to present and the breakdown of programmes dedicated to each of the UK’s three main Asian religious faiths since the year 2000 was found to be as follows:

Islam: 41 programmes
Hinduism: 5 programmes
Sikhism: 1 programme

Naturally, this has caused grave concerns within the Sikh and Hindu communities in the UK and led to accusations of bias and seems to be part of BBC policy.

The Network of Sikh Organisations attempted to obtain an explanation from the head of the BBC’s Religions and Ethics Department – Michael Wakelin – but met with “inadequate and misleading responses to date”.

Mr Wakelin justifies this imbalance in his departments programming by quoting demographic figures from the 2001 census and also suggests a general interest towards Islam following 9/11.

The Organisation said, “if Mr Wakelin�۪s argument on statistics is to be taken at face value then the expectation would be that the BBC have produced at least 20 programmes since 2000 on Sikhism and Hinduism ��� as opposed to just a total of 6.”

“While, as Mr Wakelin suggests, there may have been a marginal increase in interest in Islam, the greater concern is about extremism and fundamentalism. It is here that Sikhism born at a time of extremist behaviour by India�۪s minority Mughal rulers has much to offer. The Sikh Gurus courageously opposed religious extremism while at the same time showing respect for Islamic teachings and winning the support of most Muslims. It is both sad and irresponsible for the BBC to confine such important teachings to the margins of religious broadcasting.” said Mr. Joshi. Chair of the NSO’s media monitoring arm, the media monitoring group.

“In a modern multicultural nation such as the UK – such an
obvious bias from an established and internationally
renowned public servant such as the BBC should not be both
tolerated or go unchallenged.” He added.

It is hoped that in raising awareness of this injustice and the BBC�۪s casual attitude to this state of affairs, that they may be taken to account for their apparent biased policy in their religious television programming.

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