Little India riot: Big boo boo...from big station

It is the biggest television network in South India and the second biggest in the country.

Now it has also made the biggest boo boo as far as Singaporeans are concerned.

The Chennai-based Sun TV reported in its news broadcast on the Little India riot that Singaporeans had attacked the South Indian rioters.

The news broadcast has sparked strong reactions, including from readers of The New Paper, and led to one police report being made against the station.

Potentially seen by millions all over the world, the station reported on Monday evening that an Indian national was pushed out of the bus by a female bus driver, killing the worker on the spot.

Broadcast in Tamil, it went on to say that Singaporeans attacked the Indian nationals who were attacking the bus and that Indian nationals were hiding in their homes for fear of being harassed by the police or attacked by locals. But the version given by the police here is vastly different.

Firstly, the bus driver was a man.

Secondly, the Indian national, Mr Sakthivel Kumaravelu, 33, was not killed from being pushed out of the bus.

And Singapore civilians certainly did not attack the rioters.

The report outraged local netizens, who posted angry comments on You- Tube videos showing the report.

YouTube user Jonathan Paramsivan commented: "We are deeply sadden (sic) by the death of a guest worker and the following incident.

"However, I cannot agree to Sun TV news sensationalising the racial card.

Where did you get your source of news that Singapore Chinese were attacking the Indians?"

Netizen Don Santino wrote: "What a total lie. Sun TV, please get your facts right before presenting it to the country and the world. A proper apology should be given."

TNP also received e-mail from readers pointing out the inaccuracies of Sun TV's reports.

Reader Kumudha Panneerchelvam emailed Sun TV: "Journalism should be about reporting the truth in the most intellectual way possible. Sad to say that your news team has lost its credibility after Tuesday's reporting.

"Such unethical news reporting can result in tension between both countries."

When contacted by phone, Sun TV's editor in charge of news editing Uma Shankar said he was unable to comment, reported The Straits Times Online.

He said he needed to check the facts with the sub-editor who had written the report.

ACCURACY

Said a police spokesman here: "It is important that we have accurate reporting of the riots.

"We are looking into following up on (the inaccuracies reported by Sun TV) through the appropriate channels."

Singapore's High Commissioner in New Delhi, Mr Lim Thuan Kuan, sent a letter to Sun TV on Tuesday, asking for "an immediate correction" on its online and broadcast channels.

Mr Lim wrote: "We would like to put on record that the erroneous reporting of the incident by Sun TV has been irresponsible and brings to question its journalistic integrity.

"The inaccurate and sensationalist coverage clearly shows that Sun TV did not even bother to check the facts before reporting on the incident."

A police report has been made, the police confirmed on Tuesday.

A copy of the police report was posted online, with the informant's name redacted from it.

The report was made "for the safety of my fellow Singaporeans travelling to India".

The Sun TV network is the most viewed Tamil television channel in the world, with syndicated broadcasts in several countries, such as the UK, the US and Canada. Its programmes are telecast both on SingTel mio and StarHub.


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