Vancouver Sun, Province Newspapers A Disgrace (Opinion By Rattan Mall)

May 21, 2008 Source: www.voiceonline.com

It was a tight - and well-deserved - slap in the face to the Vancouver Sun and the Province newspapers run by the same group - one that will hopefully wake them up!

Neither of the two Vancouver Metro's main newspapers won a single National Newspaper Award this year.

Indeed, the Province was not even nominated in any category.

The Vancouver Sun was nominated in just one category.

On the other hand, the Globe and Mail whose reporting The VOICE has praised time and time again for its objectivity and balance, won SIX prizes after being nominated in 15 of the 21 categories. (The newspaper has a B.C. edition that is getting increasingly popular, especially among the better educated and better informed.)

The Globe and Mail won six of the 21 awards (that cover news and feature writing, news and feature photography, presentation and editorial cartoons), La Presse of Montreal was second with five awards, the Ottawa Citizen and the Star won two awards each, while the Waterloo Region Record, the Canadian Press, Winnipeg Free Press, National Post, Saint John Telegraph-Journal and the Prince George Citizen won one each.

What does that tell you about the Vancouver Sun and the Province, dear readers? After all, you have been reading The VOICE's fearless criticism of these two LILY-WHITE newspapers, especially the Vancouver Sun, over the past many years.

Now you know the truth!

Not that there is anything wrong with having a lily-white staff - the Globe and Mail certainly has one, too, (as far as I know) with just one Chinese reporter who used to work with the Vancouver Sun.

WRONG ATTITUDE

But it's the attitude that counts.

The attitude that a non-white person ("immigrant" is the code word) is not as good as a white person and so on (you all know what I am saying here).

In fact, I would prefer a white or Chinese reporter who's hardworking, objective and well-balanced to cover the diverse Indo-Canadian community rather than a brown reporter who plays politics in the community (taking sides and distorting facts to suit their own personal agenda) or a brown journalist who's too afraid to inform his fellow white journalists in the mainstream media that this or that attitude is racist or biased for fear of losing their job or not getting promoted.

The Province's reporters in recent months have carried some excellent reports while covering our community - and so has a Chinese reporter in the Vancouver Sun.

Having worked with both the Vancouver Sun and the Province, I know they have some excellent journalists who do deserve praise and awards - and I have often praised them by name in the VOICE for their reporting or analysis.

But, unfortunately, the overall mentality prevailing in these newspapers has always been one of white superiority (something they will, of course, deny) - and they just don't like a non-white journalist telling them that this or that attitude is wrong or that changes needed to be made in this or that field.

They just don't seem to get it!

Readers, do you remember the famous exchange of emails I had with the Editor-in-chief of the Vancouver Sun when I demanded that she stop the biased and racist reporting against the Sikh community?

What did that reveal?

It revealed an unwillingness to face the facts and indulge in a healthy debate - instead, she resorted to a low-level personal attack that was not even true. She ended up being exposed as a petty-minded journalist - and many highly respected Indo-Canadians told me so!

In both the two dominant non-white communities in Metro Vancouver - the Chinese Canadians and the Indo-Canadians - these two newspapers have no credibility. They are mostly read for their ads or general information because they have the resources and staff that ethnic newspapers cannot afford.

GRIEF TO COMMUNITY

Just look at the GRIEF that the Vancouver Sun's biased, distorted and personal-attack style of reporting has caused the Indo-Canadian community.

It is only recently that the newspaper has been changing some of that - THANKS TO THE 'VOICE,' a newspaper that the Vancouver Sun loves to hate.

And so be it. I am not here to suck up to anyone.

The fact is that the Vancouver Sun is responsible for the criminal image of our community in the mainstream. That has only exacerbated racism against us. Even the other mainstream media was quick to follow the Vancouver Sun's lead - and some have yet to get over this bias.

You know what, all the recent cases of major crimes like murders and drug busts have involved non-Indo-Canadians, but the Vancouver Sun reporters did not go after the guys' families and report unnecessary details time and time again and so on as they have done with the Indo-Canadian community.

Just this Monday, a respected Indo-Canadian businessman told me that he was not even going to read about the Komagata Maru apology report in the Vancouver Sun. But then he suddenly decided to.

You know why?

He wanted to know if the reporter would have brought in the AIR INDIA BOMBING into it!

I am not kidding you!

This is the kind of NEGATIVITY that Indo-Canadians have come to expect from the Vancouver Sun.

And you know what, even mainstream journalists have told me and other Indo-Canadians the same thing about the Vancouver Sun.

Like I said, it's the attitude.

AIR INDIA TRIAL, KHALISTAN

Just look at the example of the coverage of the Air India trial. As I have written here before, if you were reading both the Globe and Mail (their reporter for the trial was Robert Matas) and the Vancouver Sun, you would have thought you were reading about TWO DIFFERENT TRIALS!

What happened in the end?

The two accused were acquitted - and the prosecution's star witness was called a star fake, so to speak, by the judge.

That was to be expected if you had been reading the Globe and Mail or the VOICE.

But readers of the Vancouver Sun were stunned.

Why?

Because the shamelessly biased reporting misled the Vancouver Sun readers.

The fact is that it was a question of getting proper evidence against the accused - something that the RCMP failed to acquire. That is what justice and the law is all about. Just whipping up the emotions of the victims' families to make oneself a hero does not help anyone. In fact, it is cruel and highly irresponsible to raise false expectations, though I do sincerely hope that the RCMP still find enough evidence to nail the murderers for whom I do not have a scintilla of sympathy.

The same trend of reporting has been so evident in the Khalistan case.

Yes, if anyone breaks the law, arrest him and take legal action. But NO laws were broken by exhibiting photographs of Sikh militants, who are regarded as terrorists by the Indian government, or shouting pro-Khalistan slogans.

The fact is that the Khalistan movement in Canada has nothing to do with violence any longer - and some who might be still trying to indulge in illegal activities are surely being watched by the RCMP. In any movement, there are always some wackos, but that doesn't make the rest terrorists.

Personally, I think there is no chance that there will ever be a Khalistan in Punjab.

However, there is freedom of speech in both Canada and India - something that I completely support even when I disagree with people.

So, deliberately presenting Khalistan as a terrorist movement nowadays is nothing but disgraceful, dishonest journalism.

The Vancouver Sun has lost all credibility in the South Asian community because the reporter who generally reports on us has always been biased against the so-called conservative Sikhs, going out of her way to highlight everything negative against them. The so-called moderate Sikhs have openly boasted of having her in their pocket.

There is nothing wrong with exposing what is wrong in the community - The VOICE has been fearlessly doing that for the past decade and that, too, without the protection that the mainstream media enjoys because of its vast resources and contacts.

But being obsessed with only the negative aspects and carrying an almost personal vendetta against some people - while carrying a token positive story once in a blue moon - is no way to report on the South Asian community.

NEED FOR A THIRD NEWSPAPER

All the above-mentioned facts is why the Globe and Mail, known for its objectivity and balanced reporting, needs to seriously considered a full-fledged edition in Vancouver - not just the extra B.C. pages it currently adds on.

I am told that they are seriously thinking of expanding operations in B.C. Phone calls to their top guy here on this issue were not returned Wednesday or Thursday. Are they trying to keep it all a big secret?

Or the Toronto Star - a true model of a top class multicultural staff - should start an edition in Vancouver.

That would force the Vancouver Sun (with eight editors presently!) and the Province to merge and better reflect the multicultural diversity of Metro Vancouver in every way.

In any case, both the Vancouver Sun and the Province have failed not only the visible minorities but also the white population because of their unacceptable style of reporting on visible minorities.

The Vancouver Sun is apparently highly influenced by the right-wing Fraser Institute that is absolutely pro-white and anti-visible minorities.

They also selectively carry letters. So many Indo-Canadians have complained to me about how their letters were not published - and most Indo-Canadians don't even bother to write to them any longer.

However, any letter against Indo-Canadians - just look at the two biased ones that were written by two white guys against an apology for the Komagata Maru incident on Friday - is promptly printed.

Time to wake up and smell the curry, guys!

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