Sikh Channel Youth Show
Sikh Channel, 9 February 2012, 22:00
The Sikh Channel is aimed at the Sikh community in the UK. The Sikh Channel Youth Show was a weekly live programme broadcast in Punjabi. The licence for the Sikh Channel is held by TV Legal Ltd. This programme consisted of a live discussion, with a presenter and guest and an audience broadcast from a Sikh Gurdwara.
The discussion touched on a range of subjects of interest to the Sikh community and various reported actions taken by the Indian Government towards the Sikh community in India, including Operation Blue Star.
A viewer alerted Ofcom to the programme, stating that the broadcast contained inflammatory content about the Indian Government and no alternative views concerning the situation of the Sikh community in India. On assessing the content, Ofcom noted the following statements made within the programme:
All of this [i.e. negative attitudes towards the Sikh community in Canada] again organised at the behest of the Indian Government. The third agency within India, and be under no misconceptions about this, has been carrying out a cover war against the Sikhs in the diaspora outside…It’s not a myth: They’re at [indecipherable] Road – you can go and see their offices there – it’s the research and analysis wing of the Indian Government. They’re absolutely involved in this. There is example after example that will show that there is an agenda to malign the Sikh community outside of India.
[The Indian Government's] problem really centres around the idea that we consider ourselves a nation, that we consider ourselves as a sovereign nation.
Since ’84, hopefully, I believe that the Sikh nation is coming to the conclusion that this is not a fight for independence, this is a fight for survival…The environment in India is so toxic that really Sikhism cannot survive there in its present form, and in its truest form, within India as it stands.
Ofcom considered Rule 5.5 of the Code which states that:
Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service. This may be achieved within a programme or over a series of programmes taken as a whole.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 5.5
Ofcom considered that the programme included a number of viewpoints, but all of them were: either critical of the Indian state’s policy and actions in relation to its treatment to the Sikh community in India; or could be interpreted as arguing the case for an independent homeland for the Sikh community in India.
We considered that the programme did not contain any alternative views, which could be reasonably and adequately classed as: supportive of, or which sought to explain, the policy and actions of the Indian State in relation to the Sikh community within India, and in particular, the Punjab; or supportive of the arguments against an independent homeland for the Sikh community within India. Therefore, this programme when considered alone gave a one-sided view on these matters of political controversy and current public policy.
Ofcom considered the programme to be in breach of Rule 5.5 of the Code.
We are concerned that the breach in this case comes after two previous contraventions of the Code rules covering due impartiality and elections recorded against TV Legal. In particular, we are concerned that the breach in this case follows relatively soon after a similar breach recorded in Broadcast Bulletin 192.
Ofcom is therefore requiring the Licensee to attend a meeting to explain its compliance procedures in this area.
The Licensee is also put on notice that, following that meeting, any further similar contraventions of the Code will be considered for further regulatory action by Ofcom.