Posted on March 31, 2005

Canada Radio Sikh Slur Censured

BBC News, Mar. 31

A Canadian radio station has been censured for broadcasting “abusive” remarks about the Sikh community.

Psychiatrist Pierre Mailloux, host of the Doc Mailloux phone-in show on Montreal’s CKAC-AM station, had referred to Sikhs as a “gang of bozos”.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) was responding to a listener who complained it was “racism of the first order”.

The station has been ordered to make a full apology.

‘More compassion’

In the show, which was broadcast in December 2003, Mailloux said immigrants to Canada should abandon their traditions.

“You cultural communities come from a wacko country. You live a wacko culture. Don’t bring it with you. That’s the message to convey,” he said.

Mailloux, referring to immigrants’ attitudes, said: “I flee northern India because the Sikhs are a gang, a gang of bozos, and then I bring all that with me. No, no, you really don’t get it. If you flee your country because it makes no sense, then don’t bring those senseless things with you.”

The CBSC said it was responding to a listener who complained of “nasty comments, tainted with insulting racism of the first order”.

Its ruling said that most of Mailloux’s views were “very conservative and uninviting [but] they were not in breach of any broadcaster code”.

He was entitled to those views “by virtue of the principle of freedom of expression”.

However, the investigating panel said that in targeting an identifiable group “he crosses the line of entitlement and loses the benefit of the shield of free expression”.

“The panel considers that the host is entitled to espouse his chauvinistic intolerance until such time as his disrespect leaks into individual races and nationalities, as it did when he referred to the Sikhs as “a gang of bozos”.

The CSBC said Mailloux should show “more compassion and reserve concerning immigrants”.

The CSBC is a self-regulatory body set up by broadcasters to monitor standards in Canada. More than 550 radio and television stations and affiliates are members.