Following on from a series of high profile convictions of predominantly Pakistani men in places like Rochdale, reports including those published by the BBC chose to describe those convicted of sexual grooming as ‘Asian.’ This caused significant disquiet amongst many British Sikhs and Hindus. In 2012 the Network of Sikh Organisations (NSO) led a campaign challenging the vague description, galvanizing support from both the Hindu Forum and Hindu Council of Britain, who equally expressed concerns.
Early signs of success in campaign against use of the word ‘Asian’ to describe those convicted of sexual groomingOctober 27th, 2013 | Posted by in Press Releases
A joint statement talked of the reluctance of the media and the government to discuss the “disproportionate representation of Muslims in such cases” and the fact that victims are “almost always non-Muslim girls”, which was adding to the cause of far right groups. It added, “We believe that political correctness stifles debate and will not facilitate a frank and mature discussion or solutions to get to the root of why the above pattern is emerging in these crimes and how to help find a solution to the problem.”
The NSO wrote about its concerns in the national newspapers. One such article was titled: “it’s time to stop using the word ‘Asian’.” In 2013 the Director of the NSO, Lord Singh of Wimbledon wrote a formal complaint on the issue to the BBC Trust. Whilst the complaint was not upheld, they stated, “The Committee agreed that the complainant had raised important issues, which it intended to explore with the Executive in preparation for the next revision of the Editorial Guidelines.”
After years of lobbying both government and media the NSO is pleased to report early signs of success. During recent coverage of the Oxford grooming convictions, the NSO was encouraged to hear the BBC describing those convicted as ‘Pakistani’ and or from the ‘Muslim’ community.
Lord Singh said, “I can understand their reluctance to give a formal apology at a time they are facing public criticism over the handling of Saville. Recent reporting of grooming cases have avoided the use of the word Asian when Pakistani or Muslim is more appropriate and we hope this this more accurate reporting will continue.”