Earlier this month the Sikh Press Association began looking into the inconsistency of headlines by media outlets such as The Sun and Daily Mirror, in regards to the use of terms such as “Sikh and Asian”.
Today we can share a response from the Daily Mail managing editors team on this issue.
Firstly, the team who responded wish to make it clear “articles in the Daily Mail are regularly published by Mailonline, but the website generates a substantial amount of content of its own volition. The articles you cite were written solely by Mailonline journalists, though the stories themselves may well also have been covered by the paper in a different wording.”
The responding representative stated, “Mailonline have nothing but respect for the Sikh community, and the tremendous contribution it makes to British life.
I’m therefore very sorry to hear that you, and the people you represent, are unhappy with the terminology utilised by Mailonline in the below articles. I am also very grateful to you for raising your concerns so directly with us, as it is very important to us to have constructive dialogue with all the communities we serve.”
The response went on to say they adhere to the “Editors’ Code of Practice, under which details of an individual’s race, colour or religion (though not nationality) are to be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.”
With this in mind, the headlines were clarified as such:
The use of “Sikh gang” in an article about passport scams by Afghanistani criminals was because “the fact the defendants were Sikh assisted them in their criminal endeavour”.
The use of “Asian gang” in an article about a sexual grooming gang from a predominantly Muslim background was because Mailonline “have no evidence to show that the gang were all Muslims”, whilst it was also claimed that a quote from one of the arrested groomers stated “‘All white women are good for one thing, for men like me to f*** and use as trash, that is all women like you are worth'” and this “suggested that their choice of women to abuse was based on racial rather than religious considerations, and therefore ‘Asian’ was more relevant than ‘Muslim’.”
Please note, the above statement directly contradicts the findings of groups like Sikh Youth UK, who continually tackle the issue and state that Sikh girls are often targeted by grooming gangs based on faith.
In an article about a Cardiff drug gang made up mainly of native Brits, no mention of faith or ethnicity was used, which Mailonline state was because “the ethnicity and religion of the Cardiff drug gang (on which, incidentally, we have no information) is irrelevant to the story and the case.”
Finally, in labelling self-proclaimed Sikh Harry Athwal a Brit in an article about his heroics after the Barcelona terror-attack, Mailonline stated it was because “His Sikhism is not mentioned by him” during their own interview with Harry Athwal (it was mentioned in his Good Morning Britain TV interview), whilst “His British nationality was deemed to be a detail worth focusing on, given the fact that events occurred abroad.”
This response follows our dialogue with The Sun on the same issue, who stated;
“The Sun recognises the hugely positive contribution that the Sikh community has made and continues to make to British society. Any fears that the Sikh community is being singled out are fundamentally misplaced.”
We were also asked to share stories which The Sun believes show positive examples of when the Sikh faith is referred to;
And an example of The Sun providing education on Sikhi;
The Sikh Press Association thank Mail Online for making their justification on these headlines clear. We are glad the lines of communication between our organisations are now open for any future issues with these media outlets.