A journalist in India is asking regulators in Canada to investigate why a B.C. radio station took him off the air.
Shiv Inder Singh believes that he lost his job at Red FM in Surrey because of his critical reporting about Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India.
The journalist based in Punjab has filed a complaint before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.
According to Singh, RedFM “arbitrarily suspended my services due to political interference which amounts to trampling of freedom of expression”.
“I believe that the action has been taken against me under political pressure from both the Indian agents and pro Modi lobby that continues to become stronger in Vancouver,” Singh stated.
Kulwinder Sanghera, CEO of the multicultural radio station, told the Straight by phone that his lawyer will respond to the complaint.
Sanghera declined to comment further.
In his complaint, Singh recalled that he began working for Red FM in October 2014, providing news reports and political commentaries from Monday to Thursday.
According to him, he would be connected to different hosts on air and give his daily updates. However, he claimed that he had a “tough time” with one of the hosts because they have different views on “controversial issues”.
Singh noted that these issues are about the policies of Modi and his BJP.
“It is pertinent to mention that religious intolerance has grown under Modi whose party, the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party has a poor record on human rights,” he wrote. “The responsible Indian journalists too have been taking notice of these ugly developments and speaking about it openly. Since the Indians living in Canada are also worried about the situation, it becomes important to make them aware of these ground realities.”
Singh claimed that he had asked Sanghera to intervene. “But it seems that no action was taken,” he stated.
Singh related that the following day after things got “ugly” during an evening show on July 27, he did not get a call anymore from the station.
When he inquired, the Indian journalist was told that “management has decided to make some changes in the programing which might take three months”. He was “advised to wait”, and not to give his services to another radio station in the Vancouver area.
Singh also claimed that when two of his friends in B.C. approached Sanghera, they were told that the radio station suspended his services “following complaints from several listeners”, who objected to his “criticism of Modi and the Indian army”.
Singh said that he wrote Sanghera by email on August 15, and did not get a reply.