August 18, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, UK (August 17, 2013): As per recent media reports (the British media regulatory authority called “Ofcom” has fined a UK-based Sikh television channel, Sangat TV, £30,000 over a comment passed by one of the guests participating in a discussion over the issue of attack on Indian Army’s former officer Kuldip Brar. The show was aired in October 2012 when Kuldip Brar was assulted by some Sikhs in London.
“Sangat TV, a satellite channel which broadcasts in English and Punjabi, is shown on Sky UK platform and a live stream is also available on its website. The licence for Sangat TV is held by Regis 1 Limited. The channel is financed by advertising revenue and donations, through Sangat Trust, from trustees and the Sikh community”, the Asian Age has reported.
As per information the Sangat TV has been directed to broadcast the statement of Ofcom findings in this case at a date and form to be determined by the regulator.
The discussion, with eight panellists including the presenter, held almost entirely in Punjabi was aired just a day after the violent attack on Indian Army’s former Lieutenant-General Kuldeep Brar, who was one of the commanding officers of Indian army’s attack on Darbar Sahib (Amritsar), the holiest Sikh shrine, in June 1984. Indian army had lauched attack on various Sikh Gurdwaras in Punjab and adjoining states in June 1984 and thousands of Sikh pilgrims were killed in this attack that was codenamed as “Operation Blue Star”.
According to BBC: Ofcom said satellite channel Sangat TV broadcast statements in a panel discussion programme which “were an indirect call to members of the Sikh community to take violent action against Lt General Brar and other members of the Indian armed forces”. The show was broadcast on 30 September 2012.
The channel’s head of programmes, Amarpreet Mann, reportedly said the fine was unfair.
“Ofcom haven’t shown any kind of flexibility. They have failed to understand the feelings of the Sikhs. We will be contesting the fine,” APS Mann told the BBC Asian Network.
According to BBC: [f]ollowing a viewer complaint, Ofcom requested a translation of the debate, with commentators quoted as saying: “If they (who assaulted Brar) were Sikhs, I congratulate them,” and “Whatever nation (Brar’s attackers) belong to, they will be our diamonds”.
Sangat TV’s management team is meeting to discuss the issue, and decide on how best to appeal the fine.
Amarpreet Mann said: “We’ve not done anything wrong and it’s independent media. Everybody has a right to speak.”
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