Sikh Channel warned over offensive “militant” broadcast

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The Sikh Channel has been warned by the media regulator following a live broadcast in which a speaker made comments praising a former leader of a proscribed terrorist organisation, which might be regarded as offensive.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a lecture which was also included in the programme aired on 18th October 2012. According to the complainant, a speaker appeared in front of a poster which had the words “Babbar Khalsa International” written on it, and “talked effusively” about the Sikh militant Talwinder Singh Babbar, the founder of the Babbar Khalsa International.

TV Legal, the license holder of Sikh Channel, said that: ���Unbeknown to Sikh Channel, the event in Coventry also covered the martyrdom of Talwinder Singh Parmar, of an attack on Air India flight 182 in 1985.”

TV Legal added: ���Given that Mr. Parmar was widely deemed as a zealous preacher of the Sikh faith and in light of the revelations of the apparent murder, Tawinder Singh Parmar has subsequently been deemed as a Martyr in some sections of the Sikh community, who continue to celebrate his death anniversary annually.�۝

The Licensee said that although Talwinder Singh Parmar ���is acknowledged in some quarters as the founder of [the BKI], this is not a universally accepted fact and remains an issue of controversy�۝. TV Legal went on to say that the founding and leadership of the BKI ���has been attributed to several individuals and therefore remains a moot point�۝.

Furthermore, the Licensee said that Talwinder Singh Parmar�۪s involvement in the bombing of Air India flight 182 in 1985 ���although widely publicised is also an issue currently based on speculation and not substantiated by formal convictions�۝. TV Legal added that it accepted that: “Mr. Parmar�۪s association with the [BKI] and allegations of his involvement in the 1985 Air India bombings in the context of the lecture could be construed as offensive in some quarters�۝. However, it asked Ofcom to ���bear in mind that both of these points are subject to speculation�۝.

However, Ofcom said “we considered that the programme included potentially offensive content that was not justified by the context. We have therefore recorded a breach of Rule 2.3.”

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