Sunday, September 30, 2007

I&B Ministry sees red; sends notice to Red FM

NEW DELHI: Acting on a request from the West Bengal Government, the Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry issued a show-cause notice to Red FM radio station on Saturday after concluding that it had prima facie violated the programme code by making derogatory remarks about the Gorkha community in one of its programmes.
The radio station has been given time till 4 p.m. on October 1 to explain why action should not be taken against it.
The show-cause notice comes a day after a clash broke out in Siliguri between fans of Prashant Tamang — winner of a television channel-sponsored music talent show ‘Indian Idol’ — and local residents over a comment made about his community by radio jockey (RJ) Nitin in a programme which went on the air on September 24.
While Mr. Nitin had apologised to Mr. Tamang earlier, Red FM tendered an apology on Saturday and clarified that “we have not intentionally caused hurt to the sentiments of any person or any particular community, caste or creed”.
The Red FM statement also suggests that some vested interests were fuelling the protests: “It is unfortunate that some vested interests are seeking to make political capital out of an innocuous comment made during the morning show and which has been taken out of context.”“Racist and insulting”
The West Bengal Government has been in touch with the Centre on this issue after the Gorkha community reacted strongly to the RJ’s remarks, protesting the stereotyping as “racist and insulting”.
According to the Ministry, general strikes had been called at several places including Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sukna in protest against the remark, and the Army and the para-military forces had to be called in to restore normality.
In its statement, Red FM also sought to underline the fact that it had supported Mr. Tamang’s journey in the talent hunt for crooners from the very start.