Sikhs vent anger at Daily Sport headline
Shock and disgust. That is the overall feeling of the Sikh community after coming across the Daily Sport newspaper last Thursday.
The headline "BURGER SINGH!" following a double page spread of a Sikh Nihang Singh was splashed across the national newspaper Daily Sport, along with an enlarged image of a half naked woman holding a pint of beer in one hand and tucking into an Indian dish.
The image of the Sikh Nihang has a label alongside it reading "Employee of the month," and an illustrated image of a 5-star ranking placed on his Paag. The image has left the Asian community feeling hurt and disappointed at how ignorant individuals are towards other cultures and religions. Surely it's clearly obvious that the image itself depicts a religious individual, yet to mock it was taking it one step too far.
An anonymous contacted BizAsia.co.uk as soon as they glanced at the paper. This individual expressed his dismay with having seen the images and the article. The tone of his voice was shaky, reflecting his absolute dismay as he described with utter disgust what he had seen in the publication.
It is not only the Sikh community who have been left feeling angry. Others have expressed their utter shock and disbelief with how insensitive this newspaper publication has, without any thought, used an image of a Sikh Nihang. If any other images of individuals, who clearly look religious, were used, from any other faith group, the exact same anger and disgust would be expressed. In this case, this gentleman probably doesn’t even know he is in this kind of newspaper for such an embarrassing article.
Members other public, mainly second and third generation British Asian’s commented on the issue within a Facebook group. The size of the group is rapidly growing.
Mr Singh left the following comment: "I don’t understand why use Singh, when they could of used a another word that represents Indians as a whole?...and why write an article about a curry franchise in Daily Sport of all papers?"
This highly offensive image has been portrayed as mocking the Sikh community. The front page tactlessly reads, "EXCLUSIVE World's first curry chain opens in UK." The angle of the article promotes the new food company "Tiffinbites," which is the first fast food curry chain in the UK. Rather than actually promote the new company, the Daily Sport have used a photo of the Nihang Singh, which is totally irrelevant towards the article. The headline is a careless play on words "Burger King," morphing into "Burger Singh."
When looking at this 'sleazy' newspaper, it certainly leaves the readers feeling confused. It seems as though the reporter has randomly searched on the internet for anything that relates to the Asian culture and food, picked out the images and thoughtlessly used it to fill space on the page. Job done. From the newspapers end, it certainly reflects negatively as a quick image for the article, without any research into what the image actually is or means.
On the inside on the newspaper, page 4 and 5, the opening paragraph reads, "That'll be chicken tikka masala with fries, please" That's what curry-lovers might be saying soon…"
The front page with its bold headline and the tacky double page spread is hard to miss. It's no surprise that since that edition of the newspaper was out in the newsagents; it has been inundated with calls of complaint and has released the following apology.
"On the 24th April the Daily Sport ran a front page feature announcing news of the UK's first curry chain, launched by Tiffinbites. The front page announcement was supported by a double page feature within the body of the paper.
The Daily Sport newspaper recognises that it unwittingly used words and pictures that may have caused unintended offence amongst the Sikh community and would like to apologise unreservedly to both the individuals concerned as well as the community as a whole.”
An apology in the Daily Sport is expected in a forthcoming issue of the paper. It was only after consistent persistence with the reporters at the newspaper that an apology was finally released, after they realised the seriousness of their mistake and carelessness.
Arjun Varma, director of Tiffinbites, when contacted, said that it was the actual newspaper who has completely taken the story out of its original context. He said that the seriousness of the actual concept has been transformed into a news piece which now, when printed, just looks like a joke.
It is news coverage such as this which fuels racial tension. Insensitive and distasteful images or news stories can easily hurt and offend diverse communities. Such stories can also provoke and encourage racial attitudes amongst communities who do not fully understand each others way of life, culture and religious icons.
When the publication learnt of the planned demonstration their tones changed, it’s amazing how quickly the staff wanted to apologise to callers and pacify their anger. Should it have taken this type of pressure for them to issue an apology, this signifies how easily irresponsible actions can fuel community tension.
Written by Harvy Matharu, with special thanks to Eastern Media Group.
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