Media bias against Sikhs, is it real?

On December 10th 2013, a London court sentenced 4 people for attacking General Brar in London. See the Guardian report here. We need to find out a bit more about these 4, for example, their background, funding (some travelled and were from no fixed abode?), motive, family history, lone Vs organisation based and and whether the sentencing is inline with other similar cases (The majority are to serve 14 years in prison). Although I have not read the court papers, there appears to be an issue around the lack of and type of reporting by the media at large.

Interestingly, the general Sikh media outlets in the West are communicating the unfair treatment in India of Gurbaksh Singh’s stance on freeing prisoners who have served their terms in jail. Both the International and Indian media outlets have not covered both the Gurbaksh Singh situation and coverage of the Brar case? However, I have noticed that almost after a month of Gurbaksh Singh’s worsening health, negative media is beginning to emerge from the Indian press. Reading the following makes me wonder if there is an underlying unfairness of ethical reporting and the possibility of media bias?

Fortunately, in the latter article one commentator (an approved comment from the media outlet) suggests:

…as per the ‘legal process’ the 6 Sikhs should have been out of the jail after completing their terms. The legal process was not followed in these cases. Ex. DGP Mr. Shashikant has openly come out in support of these prisoners. The Sikh nation demands an answer to why legal process was not followed by the Indian state.
Indian media deliberately ignored the issue for the past 1 month and now finally they start negative reporting of the issue. Shame! There are no cases against them and they have fulfilled their terms for the alleged offenses. 3 of the 6 so-called militants are lodged in a Punjab jail. And it is not a case of this state and that state. It is about following the norms.
“an effort to thwart the legal process”: Would say the same about Anna Hazare when he blackmails the government?

I also found from an Indian Express article: entitled: ’94 in Punjab 76 in Haryana rot in jail even after completing life-term’, the following:

The information gathered also shows the arbitrariness of states when it comes to releasing the convicts. While in certain cases, a convict awarded life imprisonment has been released even before completion of 14 years, in others, they were not even granted parole. The convicts, in letters to high court judges, have alleged that those who have political influence “managed” premature release while others having no “godfather” are made to suffer.

Finding underlying reasons
I found Jagraj’s (Basics of Sikhi channel) video very coherent providing both a fresh perspective and a suggested cause and effect. The implication is that Sikhs dare not talk against an ingrained thought amongst Indian society about a unified state. I also notice a similar stance from  Facebook friends from other faiths (non-Sikh). They often do not comment, register or acknowledge that there is an equal rights issue in India?

Sikhs in society, protectors and defenders of the defenceless since our inception
Sikhs do so much in terms of charity and global humanitarian work. However, it is not communicated in the mainstream. Sikhs created the first Red Cross system, Langar (free food kitchen for all colours and creeds at the Gurdwara) for all and equal rights for both men and women, well before other societies. Sikhs over the years have fought for the rights of other religions. The Sikh Guru’s gave up their and their families lives for freedom. Ethnic cleansing was stopped by the Sikhs during Moghul rule. Sikhs were the largest contigent in the fight for freedom from the British raj.

Sadly, today our contributions are not recognised and respect for land and equal rights is deemed as challenging. After almost 30 years of the Pogroms /genocides in India the message for justice is not communicated. Our stories are lost or morphed. Education systems fail to outline the contribution of the Sikh faith.

The role of Media
I’ve often said that if Sikhs do not create or get involved in media then somebody else will create media for them. In other words we will lose control of the truth. I was so impressed by Saffron mic a few weeks back when alongside fellow performers we were able to communicate through art (song, poetry, rap, art and film) the pain of yesteryear and the continued hurt of and for every generation. The Jewish community have successfully communicated their hurt, pain, losses and treatment through film, lobbying and stating again and again inequalty of their (Jewish) society. The challenge is the same for Sikhs.

I ask will money alone solve this? I doubt it.
We need to be unified and create role models who are articulate and pervasive in creating media. If people worry about a camera then audio is ideal, through radio, podcasts and YouTube (sound and pictures). However, this will not be enough unless we are written into storylines of mainstream dramas or asked to appear as commentators in specialist subjects on general news channels.

Today one of the biggest things we can do is continue to work in our humanitarian capacity. To support charity work as much as possible. We need to pitch the case for humanity. To talk about why it is unfair to treat people differently. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with what the 4 recently sentenced for acting on Brar did or the actions of Gurbaksh Singh, the fundemental rights of the individual should not be bypassed for the sake of poltical favours or because of the religion they belong to.

Media bias only occurs if we as a people let it happen. If you see a report that is blatently miscommunicating the truth then it is your right to expose it. If in your heart you want to help others no matter how small the contribution, you should exercise your emotion.

Support art, support truth, support freedom, support humanity.

Categories: 2013, Anti-Fascism, Media, Media Watch, Sikh Media, Sikhs

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