Asia Samachar: A platform to benefit society, where everyone has a voice

There has been a heated debate on the Dasam Granth issue. Some accusations have been hurled at the Asia Samachar. Allow us to state our position. Read our first editorial.

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| Editorial | 11 Aug 2016 | Asia Samachar |

editorial-asc-200The cornerstone of a vibrant as well as a democratic society is freedom of expression. This principle is fundamental to Asia Samachar.

Some quarters believe freedom of expression should be unfettered. Others, including nation states and civil societies, believe this principle must be tempered with to ensure that information is shared in a responsible way.

Asia Samachar upholds the freedom of expression but we practise this cautiously so as to provide its readers maximum benefit.

As editors, the primary duties are to disseminate news and views on various happenings and issues in the Sikh community.

The agenda of Asia Samachar — agenda carrying the meaning ‘objective’ — is to be a platform for the Sikh community in this region, and beyond.

The burden of duty of editors, be it print, broadcast or online, is not light. As editors, it is our task to ensure that this news portal carries news and opinions that will enrich readers.

But this is done with several rules in place. When writing news, we remind ourselves and our writers to observe the basic ABCs of journalism. A for accuracy. B for Balance. C for clarity.

With these rules in place, Asia Samachar has operated to fill a vacuum felt by many Sikhs in countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and other Asean nations. Since its inception, Asia Samachar team has strived to become a medium of expression, information and news.

It is with the support of the Sikhs that Asia Samachar has emerged as a player in filling up the role of communicator and disseminator.

At the same time, Asia Samachar has been playing an added role: to push for greater communication among the various segments in the Sikh community. It has offered itself as a medium for Sikhs to discuss issues within the community in a cogent, cohesive and respectful way.

The reality is this: it is often a treacherous path for editors who want to allow their medium to become an open medium for the community they serve. As editors of Asia Samachar, this is not an exception.

Issues, because of their fluid nature, can get blown out of proportion or treated as nothing more than a storm in a tea cup. And most of the time how an issue is to be treated can be influenced by the mood of the readers. How they react or respond plays an important role.

It is not the work of editors to turn an issue into what it is not. The duty as an editor calls us to allow a healthy discussion to take place on our platform.

And in so doing, we are obliged to make sure that the principle of ‘hear the other side’ is maintained at all times.

Nevertheless, going beyond that, we also play the role as moderators when members of the community begin to provide their feedback.

We have to make sure that arguments do not degenerate into a farce. We strive to avoid readers from hurling insults, promote labelling and utter defamatory statements.

Like editors of any publication, we have the right to exercise discretion to ensure that discussions on any issue, even the most sensitive, is done in most civil manner.

Having said that, as editors, we have to face the risk of being admonished, sanctioned, criticised, labelled and even boycotted for doing our job.

Dasam Granth Issue

In the recent spate concerning Dasam Granth, there have been calls for the Asia Samachar to be boycotted.

Various allegations had been thrown at the editor and his team. It makes us reflect on these questions: What are our principles? What do we, as custodians of the Asia Samachar,  stand for?

The question uppermost on any editor’s mind under such a circumstance would be: “Shall I stop the discussion because it is inviting the wrath of a segment of the community?”

“Is the call for boycott an over-reaction? Did I give the various parties the space to respond? Did I exercise a level of impartiality in this issue?”

There are many unpleasant things happening in our lives and around us. How do we choose to deal with these unpleasant circumstances?

The generally accepted advice is to step back a little and diagnose the circumstances and then to choose an appropriate response to the unpleasantness.

In the issue of Dasam Granth discussion, we believe the best move forward is to allow for mature discussion. The calls for boycott does not put an end to the issue.

Let us state our stand. We are clear. There is no backing off. This is a platform that we have created for the bigger benefit of the society. We owe it to our personal conviction and principles that the door is not closed.

We will not be cowered by such calls for if we succumb now, we would be forced to do it again in future.

But here’s the deal: this platform is open to all. And we give an assurance that we will give the opportunity to all sides to present their views provided that the basic rules are adhered to.

Now you state them.

 

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

RELATED STORY:

The God of Dasam Granth – Part One (Asia Samachar, 9 Aug 2016)

Dasam Granth Debate: The double edged sword (Asia Samachar, 4 Aug 2016)

SGGS-DG Discourse: Another stumbling block towards Ekta of the Sikh panth? (Asia Samachar, 4 Aug 2016)

Sikh council tells Malaysian gurdwaras not to permit Dasam Granth preaching (Asia Samachar, 3 Aug 2016)

MGC: Dasam Granth video clips not a ‘directive’ (Asia Samachar, 3 Aug 2016)

Dasam Granth video directive ignites debate in Malaysia (Asia Samachar, 1 Aug 2016)

Dasam Granth: Twisting Bones Till They Snap (Asia Samachar, 30 June 2016)

‘One Granth One Panth’ call from Global Sikh Council – Asia Samachar (Asia Samachar, 11 April 2016)

Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional? The Assessment. (Asia Samachar, 9 Jan 2016)

One gurpurab, two dates. Why the confusion? (Asia Samachar, 5 Jan 2016)

Lessons for the Task Force (Asia Samachar, 14 Dec 2015)

JAGIR: MGC managing granthi entry, standardising maryada at gurdwaras  (Asia Samachar, 19 Nov 2015)

Sarbat Khalsa at Chabba historic, but may have been hijacked (Asia Samachar, 11 Nov 2015)

MGC passionately protects religious rights of Sikhs, others in Malaysia (Asia Samachar, 19 Nov 2015)

Lawyer challenges Akal Takht order on new gurdwaras (Asia Samachar, 27 Sept 2015)

The fallen amongst us (Asia Samachar, 22 Aug 2015)

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. While watching a TV show on the life and the activities of the world famous actor Jackie Chan I noticed that he does charity via his two Foundations known as Jackie Chan Charitable Foundations and the other one is Dragon’s Heart Foundation which is mainly for children needs. In addition to his personal donations which are in excess of of hundreds of millions of US$ there are also his colleagues-friends-fans who donate to the two Foundations. His charitable activities have the needy of many countries.

    What was of particular interest to me was that whenever he visits any school he would inculcate the spirit of cleanliness among the children by going around with the children to collect any rubbish not only in the school compound but also other public areas. He encouraged them to pick up any rubbish they saw as an example to others to follow who some times felt ashamed for littering.

    This culture resulted not only in clean school compounds but also other public areas and once the culture became common the homes. offices and streets were also litter free as people started using the dustbins.

    The impact was that the quantity of litter was substantially reduced and there was no need to ‘waste’ funds to clean up the litter. This habit of not littering later expanded to school and public toilets. Other benefits included health benefits and clean environment.

    Public gatherings are other places which are left with tons of litter after every event. This is one culture which can be adopted in Malaysia and the start can be made in schools and institutions of higher learning.

    Jackie Chan’s charitable works appear to be in line with Sikh Teachings and can and should be adopted by all Gurdwaras/Schools/Households/Businesses and by Sikhs as a culture and second nature.

    But then are those in leadership positions willing to change their mindset as it can result in substantial savings of public funds and thus reduce opportunities for fraud-corruption for those involved in the award of contracts for these cleaning services?.

    IF ONLY THERE WERE MORE JACKIE CHANs AS MANY COUNTRIES/COMMUNITIES ARE NOT SHORT OF RICH MULTI-MILLIONAIRES BUT NOT MANY MAY BE WILLING TO DO SUCH CHARITIES WHICH DO NOT PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SELF-ENRICHMENT.

  2. Your approach and openness is the right approach, please continue the excellent work. Intelligent people influence others by advancing acceptable, logical and well researched material to support their view and do not resort to negative approaches. A call for boycott is reflective of the fact that there is a fear that intelligent dialogue may influence readers who have only emotionalized beliefs that have been entrenched over the years through baseless historical stories. The way of life advocated by the Gurus and guided by Guru Granth Sahib Ji is one of Gyan (Knowledge), with rational thought and action removing the myth of doubt and ignorance. Sikhs live the present in HIS presence out of the cloud of mythology.

  3. Well done, Asia Samachar Editorial Board. I endorse your stand. Your role so far has encouraged me to read the write-ups regularly. A mature, healthy discussion is what Sikhs need. Your deal about free expression is welcome and your basic rules are not unreasonable.
    Keep it up.

  4. Excellent and HONEST stand as a news deseminator!

    Boycotts online do NOT work , unless one is selling an item.In fact it shows the inability and immaturity of individuals calling for boycott–are unable to respond, and lastly the FEAR in them to be exposed as what they really are.

    Otherwise we will have more lies, frauds, and deceptions introduced to MISLEAD the Sikh Panth.

    I have noticed many calls asking to come with a rebuttal, but none has come forward, shows, the intent to hide the falsehood in the videos ect.

    Forgive me, for asking, was this so called “directive” only issued to one Paramjeet, or to the rest of the world Sikhs, as I have read one writer asking again and again, but …I guess God would be quick to answer prayers than these deceptive corner.

    AS you have done a great job.

    Let us see the other side if they have the ability to share the falsehood they propagate.

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