BBC Asian Network offends Sikh community again

After the BBC Asian Network was forced to apologise for allowing on air very offensive remarks to be made about the founder of the Sikh faith, it now looks like they have offended the Sikh community again. The apologies came from Head of the Asian Network, in a press release, and when the Director of BBC Radio met a group of leaders of the Sikh community and personally apologised for the offence caused when a guest panellist crudely announced that Guru Nanak Dev Ji was a Devil or "shitaan" in Punjabi.

Now, A Birmingham-based Sikh video game creator has criticised the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) for misrepresenting a Sikh history-based game he developed as anti-Muslim.

According to a report in Eastern Eye , an ethnic Indian newspaper in Britain, Taranjit Singh stated that BBC's Asian Network, in a show, manipulated and took out of context the content of his game and made it look like one of the "Sikhs killing Muslims".

Singh, who also works as a web researcher in the Museum and Art Gallery at Birmingham, has lodged a complaint with the Office of Communications (Ofcom), Britain's official media watchdog. "Instead of trying to create discussion and offer a balanced platform for dialogue, they tried to make trouble between two communities", he said.

The game's website describes Sarbloh Warriors as a pioneering Sikh computer game, combining the latest 3D action technology with the historical setting of 18th-century northern India.

Based on true events of the period, a story has been created to take the player back in time and experience how bands of Sikhs were forced to fight back from the brink of extinction, using typical weaponry of the time against the imperial Mughals, who ruled India then.

The game, still under development, is to be released at the end of next year.

Singh, a 27-year-old father, also told the newspaper how he has not been able to sleep for days or eat properly after the programme was broadcast. "This has brought me to tears because I felt as if I was branded a racist," he said, demanding an apology from BBC. In the website, he describes the creation of this game as an important achievement for the Sikh community.

BBC's head of communications, Andrew Bate, meanwhile, told the newspaper: "The BBC Asian Network always aims to cover stories responsibly and with great care. We believe that in this case we did just that so don't believe that an apology is warranted."

Bate was quoted as saying that the story was covered after extensive message board activity discussed the game. "We tried to explain why it was seen by some to be offensive and always put the game into its historical context." Singh stated that the 40-minute interview was "edited and taken out of context".

Taranjit Singh is a prominent member of the Sikh community in the Midlands and so naturally the community is angered as they feel the BBC sensationalised the news story. Taranjit and the other game developers state they are taking every opportunity to get Muslims involved in creating the game and have kept contact with the Muslim Council of Britain.

Sikhs from the Midlands area found the news story by the BBC to be bizarre as far from "inciting hatred" the game has not even been released yet so how could the BBC know what effect the proposed game would have? They state 'the BBC purposely made too many assumptions and jumbled together factual information about Sikh history with misinformation to create tension between two communities that have co-existed for hundreds of years.'

The creator admirably stated 'the game will take the kids on a journey, through the main character on how he chooses to deal with his loss. and hopefully teach them that compassion is the path to freedom. This game is not about any religion fighting any other religion, atrocities were committed by individual chieftains and governors.

Email Sonia DOEL and demand she stand up for Sikh Community and educate her fellow workers.