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Canada radio Sikh slur censured


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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4396535.stm

A Canadian radio station has been censured for broadcasting "abusive" remarks about the Sikh community.

Psychiatrist Pierre Mailloux, host of the Doc Mailloux phone-in show on Montreal's CKAC-AM station, had referred to Sikhs as a "gang of bozos".

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) was responding to a listener who complained it was "racism of the first order".

The station has been ordered to make a full apology.

'More compassion'

In the show, which was broadcast in December 2003, Mailloux said immigrants to Canada should abandon their traditions.

"You cultural communities come from a wacko country. You live a wacko culture. Don't bring it with you. That's the message to convey," he said.

"The panel considers that the host is entitled to espouse his chauvinistic intolerance until such time as his disrespect leaks into individual races, as it did when he referred to the Sikhs as 'a gang of bozos'

CBSC panel ruling

Mailloux, referring to immigrants' attitudes, said: "I flee northern India because the Sikhs are a gang, a gang of bozos, and then I bring all that with me. No, no, you really don't get it. If you flee your country because it makes no sense, then don't bring those senseless things with you."

The CBSC said it was responding to a listener who complained of "nasty comments, tainted with insulting racism of the first order".

Its ruling said that most of Mailloux's views were "very conservative and uninviting [but] they were not in breach of any broadcaster code".

He was entitled to those views "by virtue of the principle of freedom of expression".

However, the investigating panel said that in targeting an identifiable group "he crosses the line of entitlement and loses the benefit of the shield of free expression".

"The panel considers that the host is entitled to espouse his chauvinistic intolerance until such time as his disrespect leaks into individual races and nationalities, as it did when he referred to the Sikhs as "a gang of bozos".

The CSBC said Mailloux should show "more compassion and reserve concerning immigrants".

The CSBC is a self-regulatory body set up by broadcasters to monitor standards in Canada. More than 550 radio and television stations and affiliates are members.

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without wishing to make generalisations is it true that the frenchies in canada tend to be more intolerant towards sikhs (or perhaps every1)? i think in europe the frenchies and the greeks are the most racist nations.

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nobody has the absolute freedom to say whatever they want.

"You bet that this will be used in the future."

in what way?

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The problem is that there really are certain individuals in Canada and elsewhere who are Sikhs and who are bozos. The broadcaster's comments will therefore have struck a chord with many of his redneck listeners. Those people who sympathised with his comments will become even more resolved now that they feel they have a martyr. It gives their paranoid concerns some legitimacy, because now they can jump up and say "free speech".

Freedom of expression is an important political freedom and as such when it's curtailed there have to be strong reasons for doing so (e.g. incitement to commit violence/terrorism) otherwise it causes resentment. Sikhs in Canada and outside India generally have to accept that because they are a visible minority, they are bound to be regarded with a certain amount of distrust and suspicion by people of white English and French heritage. They have their culture too, and the homogenisation of world culture and the lessening of importance of the institution of the nation-state is bound to cause some confusion and fear that cultures and peoples are somehow under attack.

You (Canadians) just aimed all your guns (so to speak) at an irrelevant radio show host who is unlikely to be taken all that seriously by the majority of Canadians. Now that you've attacked his freedom of speech, you've just added a few liberals to his very few far-right sympathising cult following. It was not worth it. He is nothing in the scheme of things. Consideration should have been given to the bigger picture.

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It's always an option to do nothing, and in these type of cases doing nothing might be a good damage-limitation exercise.

It's like that pic of the Gurus inside a cow: it's been circulated more by Sikhs on the net than anyone else.

If it was absolutely necessary to do something, it would have been better to target the bozo himself, rather than his "cause" or his employer. I'm sure that as a psychiatrist he's a member of a professional association that would'nt have any sympathy for his outburst and would want to distance itself from such views. They could discipline him and get him to shut up.

In the long term, community activists should give themselves over to addressing the basis of his racist views, and make some efforts to undermine his base of support so that he has less resentment to exploit.

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i understand where brucey's coming from. but what of the notion of "nipping" racism/discrimination in the bud?

if we don't act, will we be better off?

where can you draw the line with things like discrimination? how much is too much? and how much is "not that important"?

true, the supporters of this guy are gonna be completely up on our cases for having "taken away his freedom of expression". but every "freedom" has a limit.

and that limit is when you infringe upon other people's freedoms.

so is it an infringement upon Sikhs' freedoms and rights when we're put down like that?

or are we as a group not applicable to having our voices heard? is expressing our "outrage" at being slandered as "primitive" (which is what the guy intended) not a freedom that we can enjoy?

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The argument everyone uses...is that we aren't expressing our outrage, but have some one remrimand him for it..

That and Xians are made fun of here, so are jews, but ask why special treatment...I mean Jesus is on South Park assasinating Iraqis...how would you all feel if someone did that with um..Guru Nanak? But no one does that cause they will be stopped, but what about Xians

just playing devil's advocate. :wink:

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The argument everyone uses...is that we aren't expressing our outrage, but have some one remrimand him for it..

That and Xians are made fun of here, so are jews, but ask why special treatment...I mean Jesus is on South Park assasinating Iraqis...how would you all feel if someone did that with um..Guru Nanak? But no one does that cause they will be stopped, but what about Xians

just playing devil's advocate. :wink:

Christians didn't become this tolerant overnight, they were slowly worn down with artists constantly pushing the line further. Same will happen with other religions.

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The argument everyone uses...is that we aren't expressing our outrage, but have some one remrimand him for it..

That and Xians are made fun of here, so are jews, but ask why special treatment...I mean Jesus is on South Park assasinating Iraqis...how would you all feel if someone did that with um..Guru Nanak? But no one does that cause they will be stopped, but what about Xians

just playing devil's advocate. :wink:

no doubt about that. i totally agree with what you're saying.

but i think the point is that there's a fine line between what's acceptable and what isn't. how do we ascertain what we can accept and what we can't?

and if we don't make attempts to stop such degrading comments at a small scale, do we risk allowing them to snowball into something bigger?

i have no set stance on what happened, so i'm merely representing the other side of things.

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no doubt about that. i totally agree with what you're saying.

but i think the point is that there's a fine line between what's acceptable and what isn't. how do we ascertain what we can accept and what we can't?

and if we don't make attempts to stop such degrading comments at a small scale, do we risk allowing them to snowball into something bigger?

i have no set stance on what happened, so i'm merely representing the other side of things.

no worries same here, i like to consider arguments for both sides...

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