• Sunday, November 27, 2022

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Sikh peer hits out at the BBC for its ‘prejudice and intolerance’

Lord Singh of Wimbledon

By: Keerthi Mohan

A SIKH peer has quit the BBC after 35 years and accused the broadcaster of “prejudice and intolerance.”

Lord Singh of Wimbledon has quit BBC Radio Four’s Thought for the Day slot after the broadcaster tried to block him from discussing a guru who fought against the forced conversion of some Hindus to Islam in 17th century India, reported The Times.

Lashing out at the BBC for its “prejudice and intolerance,” Indarjit Singh said he was told that his broadcast could have offended Muslims. 

Lord Singh told the newspaper: “It was like saying to a Christian that he or she should not talk about Easter for fear of giving offence to the Jews.”

An adviser to the Commission for Racial Equality, Lord Singh was let go after he threatened to quit over the row. Although he made an official complaint to the BBC, it was rejected by director of radio James Purnell.

Lord Singh said: “The need for sensitivity in talking about religious, political or social issues have now been taken to absurd proportions with telephone insistence on trivial textual changes right up to going into the studio, making it difficult to say anything worthwhile.

“The aim of Thought for the Day has changed from giving an ethical input to social and political issues to the recital of religious platitudes and the avoidance of controversy with success measured by the absence of complaints.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “Lord Singh has been a respected contributor for many years and remains so but given our commitment to increasingly feature a range of voices from Sikh and other communities, we can’t agree to his request for a guaranteed number of appearances.

“By its nature Thought for the Day is a live, topical segment and it’s not unusual for editorial changes to be made so that it reflects the biggest news stories of the day. Our aim is to treat all faiths respectfully and our editorial processes on this apply to everyone equally. As those who feature on the slot know, the team works with others fairly regardless of which faith contributors represent.

“We disagree with Lord Singh and don’t recognise his characterisation of Thought for the Day and the team who make it.”

 

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