Sangat TV in hot water for “serious” breach

Raj Baddhan

Senior Editor


Media regulator Ofcom has found Sangat TV in breach of Rule 3.1 for airing a discussion programme ���congratulating�۝ the attackers of Lieutenant-General Brar.

Lieutenant-General Brar had been the commander of the Indian armed forces who led Operation Bluestar, the Indian Army�۪s controversial military operation against the Golden Temple at Amritsar in June 1984.

Ofcom noted that the half-hour programme consisted of eight panelists, including a presenter, discussing issues surrounding the attack. It was broadcast the day after the attack on Lieutenant-General Brar. We commissioned a transcript of the programme, translated into English by an independent translator.

The following statements were made:

1. “If they [who assaulted Lieutenant-General Brar] were Sikhs, I congratulate them.”

2. ���But I must say that whoever ��� I call him my brother ��� has done this [assault on Lieutenant-General Brar] deserves to be congratulated because when I heard this news today, happiness surged in me.�۝

3. ���Whatever nation [Lieutenant-General Brar�۪s attackers] belong to, they will be our diamonds.�۝

4. ���The General came to London with great pride, and whoever did this [the attack on Lieutenant-General Brar] has done so for the Sikh community and for humanity because the raid on the Golden Temple was not just an attack on the Sikh nation; it was an attack on faith.�۝

The Licensee stated Sangat TV�۪s ���commitment… to providing programming which promotes Peace and Community Cohesion�۝. Regis 1, owners of Sangat TV added that: ���Sangat�۝ means ���congregation of like minded people�۝ in the Sikh context. Sangat TV is therefore run ���by the people for the people�۝. This is a unique concept which gives immense power to the ���common man�۝ and a much desired freedom of speech and expression, which
is everyone�۪s right.�۝

The Licensee said that it was “taking every step to avoid the repeat of such errors�۝, and that: the programme would not be repeated; “a special personal interview with [Lieutenant-General] Brar [had been broadcast in the days following the programme] aimed to present… a fair and balanced approach to all of our viewers�۝; and Regis 1 would introduce ���procedures that will ensure that these type of
views/comments are never broadcast on Sangat TV”

Ofcom said: “Despite the steps taken by Regis 1, in light of all of the above considerations, Ofcom reached the view that the broadcaster had broadcast material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder.”