BBC charged with misrepresentation
A UK-based Sikh has accused BBC of misrepresenting a game developed by him as anti-Muslim.india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 11:06 IST
A Birmingham-based Sikh video game creator has accused the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC) of misrepresenting a Sikh history-based game he has developed as anti-Muslim.
According to a report in Eastern Eye, an ethnic Indian newspaper in Britain, Taranjit Singh has claimed that BBC's Asian Network, in a show, manipulated and took out of context the content of his game and made it look like one of the "Sikhs killing Muslims".
Singh, who also works as a web researcher in the Museum and Art Gallery at Birmingham, has lodged a complaint with the Office of Communications (Ofcom), Britain's official media watchdog.
"I created this game because books were not enough to educate the youth on the complicated history of Sikh-Muslim tension," he told the newspaper.
"Instead of trying to create discussion and offer a balanced platform for dialogue, they tried to make trouble between two communities."
The game's website describes Sarbloh Warriors as a pioneering Sikh computer game, combining the latest 3D action technology with the historical setting of 18th-century northern India.
Based on true events of the period, a story has been created to take the player back in time and experience how bands of Sikhs were forced to fight back from the brink of extinction, using typical weaponry of the time against the imperial Mughals, who ruled India then.
The game, still under development, is to be released at the end of next year.
Singh, a 27-year-old father, also told the newspaper how he has not been able to sleep for days or eat properly after the programme was broadcast.
"This has brought me to tears because I felt as if I was branded a racist," he said, demanding an apology from BBC. In the website, he describes the creation of this game as his goal in life.
BBC's head of communications, Andrew Bate, meanwhile, told the newspaper: "The BBC Asian Network always aims to cover stories responsibly and with great care. We believe that in this case we did just that so don't believe that an apology is warranted".
Bate was quoted as saying that the story was covered after extensive message board activity discussed the game.
"We tried to explain why it was seen by some to be offensive and always put the game into its historical context."
He also added that Singh was given extensive opportunity to comment on the issue including on Sonia Deol's programme and the network's new daily lunchtime show 'The Wrap'.
"He also called up Anita Rani's phone-in and was allowed on air for some 40 minutes. After the show Singh said it was a 'good debate' and asked for audio footage of the full interviews to put on his website," Bate told the newspaper.
Singh, however, claimed that the 40-minute interview was "edited and taken out of context".