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BBC "Not So Asian Network" - Tommy Sandhu And Team Suspended After Making Anti-Pakistani, Sexist and Homophobic Comments

BBC "Not So Asian Network" - Tommy Sandhu And Team Suspended After Making Anti-Pakistani, Sexist and Homophobic Comments

Saturday 5th August 2017

Written by Usman Ahmed, Twitter: @TVLovesMe

There is nothing that sends desi twitter into meltdown more than some celebrity drama. Whether it's people getting caught doing something they shouldn't or announcing their divorce. We love to have an opinion and we equally love gossip!

Let's rewind two years when British Asian singer Nafees took the unprecedented step of publicly venting his frustration regarding what he felt was discrimination against Pakistani Artists by the BBC Asian Network. He had up till that point (and still does) held a record of 5 consecutive Number 1's on the BBC Asian Network download chart but still felt he wasn't given enough credit or recognition by the station for his work. Fans and haters alike lapped up the controversy but essentially all it got Nafees was a ban from the station.

Today it has come to light that high profile presenter, Tommy Sandhu has been suspended for sexism, using homophobic slurs and (surprise surprise) racist language toward's Pakistanis and even involved in a discussion about refusing to play any Pakistani music.

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Is this what we expect from a platform funded by the public? A platform which SHOULD represent ALL Asians? It seems as though the BBC Asian network take a very Orwellian approach to their name, in that all Asians are equal, but some are more equal than others.

This anti-Pakistani bias or hatred is nothing new at the Asian Network. Earlier this year, the BBC held the Asian Network live event in London. The live event lacked diversity in that artists were invited to perform from India, America and the UK but not even a single artist from Pakistan.

Further, one must keep in mind that the radio network has been under constant fire in the past for alienating its Pakistani listeners by overlooking talent from that country. In 2008, At least 20 past and present BBC employees, all Asian Muslims, lodged complaints that its digital radio station, Asian Network, is operating with an anti-Muslim policy. They claimed that the presenters and reporters were sidelined or sacked from the station, in favour of Asians from other backgrounds - mainly Hindus and Sikhs. They also complained that attempts to persuade the station's upper ranks to play Pakistani or Bengali music for its 500,000 listeners are ignored in favour of a strict diet of Bollywood and bhangra tunes, which are more popular among the Hindu and Sikh communities. Their case was taken up by Labour peer Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, who campaigns on discrimination issues. In addition, Sayeeda Warsi also raised concerns on this matter. Read more here