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BBC axe falls on Asian Network

March 16, 2010

Coverage of the BBC’s announcement to close the Asian Network  has largely ignored one key aspect.

While the impending demise of BBC’s only radio station for ethnic minorities may further erode the multicultural credentials of a public service broadcaster, the closure may be connected with the success and accessibility of Indian media products among the British Asian population. In the past decade, the digital revolution has transformed the ethnic media landscape in Britain.

Today, South Asians in Britain have access to myriad media outlets – from Bollywood and Bollywoodized entertainment, to dedicated sports channels, as well as news and current affairs networks and religious programming.

What is more, these are increasingly available in the different languages of the sub-continent. Commercial stations such as Sunrise Radio have a huge following among older South Asians, while the social media scene is thriving among a generation growing up with the YouTube and Facebook. The academic community has not kept up with this excitement and innovation in the media industry.

Despite the exponential growth of media in India,  academic study in that country remains at an early stage, while in Britain it has yet to go beyond exoticism or tokenism. The University of Westminster – which pioneered Media Studies in the UK and hosts the top media research department in the country – has taken a major initiative by setting up an India Media Centre to study this phenomenon in a global context.

Launched on March 9, the India Media Centre of which I am Co-Director with Rosie Thomas (Head of CREAM), is to create a locus for research and scholarship on media in India and its globalising tendencies.

Dr. Daya Thussu

Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of India Media Centre

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 28, 2010 11:43 pm

    good to see this blog updating again.

  2. May 18, 2010 12:37 pm

    I listen to BBC Asian Network (especially the Friction show) on iPlayer, and many other ‘young people’ do too. The Asian Network is the only unified British Asian platform which is not tied to a specific religion or ethnicity, and its the only Asian radio station I have ever listened too. I am 22 and ethnically Punjabi… but find a ethnic Gujrati around my age, and we’ll both consider each other British Asian. Britian has become a fusion, and that represents itself in our music. There are millions of south Asians in Britian, but nowhere else on the BBC have I ever heard music from the young British Asian scene. To think suddenly over night, after closing the Asian Network, they would suddenly start playing us on other BBC Stations, is a little too optomistic. I fear our new British Asian contributuion to music, will get ignored and lost. First play us on other radio stations and then and only then closing the Asian Network. I believe you would not find a radio station as varied as the Asian Network, and thats a good thing. Some people could say that its disjointed and does not have a singular targeted audience. But it is because radio stations play for the masses that we get ignored. The multi-ethnic-influenced Asian Network represents multicultural Britain better than any other BBC radio station (I’ve ever heard).

    Save The Music ~

    Demo in London & Brum 22nd May (this Sat!) 1pm! (Outside Mailbox & BBC Trust) Bring Tha Noise! You Comin?

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