Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Anger over BBC Asian Network closure plans

British-born Asian singer Jay Sean
Sean has called the decision to close Asian Network as 'messed up'

Singer Jay Sean has led the calls for the BBC to change its mind about the closure of the Asian Network.

The British-born star, who scored a US number one last year, said the station was an early champion of his music.

"I can't believe they're trying to shut it down," he wrote on Twitter. "This is crazy. We (Asians) have no mainstream platforms as it is."

The proposed closure is part of a strategic review of the BBC's services, announced on Tuesday.

The plans would also see the closure of 6 Music, half of the corporation's websites and teen services Switch and Blast.

There will be a public consultation on the proposals before they are approved.

A high-profile campaign to save 6 Music was set up after details were leaked last week, but there are also growing protests over Asian Network's demise.

Sunny Hundal, editor of Asians in Media, said on his blog: "Axing Asian Network would kill off vital media space for a lot of British Asian content and culture (documentaries, fusion music) which does not get represented on commercial alternatives.

It is going to be a huge step backwards, I would say maybe 10 or 20 years, if the Asian Network is taken off air
Pops of Asian music producers Tigertsyle

"It is within the BBC's remit to represent and give a platform to minority interests that need a mainstream platform to develop and grow."

Scottish music producers Tigerstyle, who are made up of brothers Pops and Raj, expressed similar views.

"I'm devastated," said Pops. "The Asian Network is a prime source for people to hear our music.

"They are the only station that champions our music. All the commercial stations in the UK do not play music from British Asian-born talent.

"British-born artists like us are going to find it very difficult to survive. We've been discussing whether it is even going to be possible to keep going as musicians."

He added: "It's a credit to the Asian Network that it is the only station that discusses things that are from an angle that is relevant from a British-born Asian people.

If it's not a stunt, it's hard to explain why the BBC would cut two networks that all but embody the corporation's mission
Jonathan Freedland, Guardian columnist

Bhangra singers Jassi Sidhu and Jaz Dhami echoed Pops' view.

Sidhu said: "If they get rid of Asian Network it will be the final nail in the UK bhangra coffin."

Meanwhile, Jonathan Freedland, a columnist at the Guardian, wrote that the BBC's proposals seemed unjustified.

"The axing of 6 Music and the Asian Network looks so dumb, you almost suspect it's a ruse," he wrote.

"If it's not a stunt, it's hard to explain why the BBC would cut two networks that all but embody the corporation's mission."



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