Independent Review finds the Ganesh Video decision of Advertising Standards Bureau wrong

Sydney, 21 November, 2017

Finally, it’s a victory for common sense. It’s also a victory for our community.

As we know, there were concerns about a video by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), which used Lord Ganesh in it.

 Lamb video

Concerns were raised by various Indian community groups throughout Australia.

We too did our part. I organised a  meeting with NSW Minister for Multiculturalism in Sydney. Minister wrote to relevant parties including Prime Minister of Australia.

https://yadusingh.com/2017/09/11/community-reps-meet-minister-for-multiculturalism-on-lord-ganesh-video/
https://yadusingh.com/2017/09/14/nsw-minister-for-multiculturalism-writes-to-meat-and-livestock-australia-and-prime-minister-about-lord-ganesh-video/

Formal complaints were submitted to Advertising Standards Bureau, which dismissed the complaints.

https://yadusingh.com/2017/09/18/advertisement-standards-bureau-dismisses-complaints-about-ganesh-video/the An independent review

This decision was appealed and requests were made for an independent review.

KARTHIKARASU from Melbourne took the lead and submitted the request for an independent review. This was a constructive, targeted, wise and a right step, unlike some others who, for their self promotion,  were more into unproductive stunts, which failed miserably, and ended up harming our community.

Appreciations are also in order for many others including team at Durga Temple in Melbourne and Kapil Sachdeva from Queensland for doing what was necessary.

Independent review has found that decision by Advertising Standards Bureau was incorrect.

Submission for Review-KarthikARASU_Complaint reference number 0412-17 MLA ad on Lord Ganesha

Review Decision-0412-17 on Lord Ganesh Video by MLA

Karthik was rightly and justifiably thrilled with the outcome and said “So happy to receive this good news, not sure how it will transpire in getting that derogatory advertisement removed from online platforms, but I am feeling ecstatic! This is a Victory for the entire community and it is because of the United fight & efforts of the entire community!”

Kudos, Karthik. Great job. We all are just as thrilled.

MLA disagreed with this outcome, but informed that the offending video was not being currently used.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

NSW Minister for Multiculturalism writes to Meat and Livestock Australia and Prime Minister about Lord Ganesh Video

Sydney/ 14 September, 2017

I have received communication from NSW Government about letters from NSW Minister for Multiculturalism, The Hon Ray Williams, to Meat and Livestock Australia and Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Malcolm Turnbull.

He has summarised the feelings of the community, following his meeting with the community representatives on Monday, 11 September, 2017.

As is known, our community is very concerned and unhappy with the video, depicting Lord Ganesh in a Lamb advertisement by Meat and Livestock Australia.

Community reps had met the Minister a few days earlier. Report here: https://yadusingh.com/2017/09/11/community-reps-meet-minister-for-multiculturalism-on-lord-ganesh-video/

Dr Yadu Singh

fianinc1@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Community reps meet Minister for Multiculturalism on Lord Ganesh Video

Sydney, 11 September, 2017

Community Reps with Minister Ray Williams re Lord Ganesh Video

I was pleased to be able to organize a meeting of the Indian community Representatives with The Minister for Multiculturalism, The Hon Ray Williams & Chair of Multicultural NSW, Dr Harry Harinath, today in the Multicultural NSW Offices in Parramatta, Sydney to discuss the Meat and Livestock Australia’s (MLA) offensive video involving Lord Ganesh. The Chief Executive Officer of Multicultural NSW, Mr Hakan Harman, was also present.

Community reps included people from not only Hinduism faith but also from Sikhism and Islamic faith. Seventeen community leaders took part in this meeting, and they included Mr Jagtar Singh, Ms Pallavi Sinha, Mr Gurdeep Singh, Ms Anju Kalra, Mr Surinder Bhogal, Mr Shamim Khan, Mr Brijrajsinh Jhala, Mr Premjitsinh Rathod, Mr Sri Ranga Reddy, Pandit Athreya Ramachandran, Pandit Krishnamurthi Venkataraman, Mr Chirag Parikh, Dr Manish Bhutada, Mr Anagan Babu, Mr Tara Chand Sharma, Dr Nihal Agar and myself (Dr Yadu Singh).

img_3209-1

Every rep expressed their unhappiness with the video. Lord Ganesh is one of the most revered deity of Hinduism and is invoked before every religious activity among Hindus. The video is an advertisement for Lamb. Alcohol is also shown to be served in the video. To people from Hinduism faith, associating Lord Ganesh with meat and Alcohol is inappropriate, incorrect, offensive and hurtful.  They also felt that use of deities and religious figures of any religion for commercial use is wrong. It was also felt that the timing of the ad video was particularly hurtful as the video came out only a few days after Indians celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi all over the world. Reps also felt that video like this don’t help the multiculturalism in Australia and end up creating disharmony and undermine cohesion in the community.  They generate a bad image of Australia, which, otherwise, is a successful example of multiculturalism. A rep also mentioned that Meat and Livestock Australia receives funding from the Government sources, which meant that our taxes are being used to abuse our beliefs and portray our deities inappropriately. This is unacceptable.

Community reps urged the Minister and Multicultural NSW to take the matter of the offensive Video up with relevant authorities, including relevant ministers in the Federal Government, and get the video taken out of circulation. The minister was also urged to get the standards of advertisement reviewed to ensure that public videos are not allowed to use religiously insensitive and offensive  materials.

The minister agreed that the community is offended and agitated. He agreed to write a letter to the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and to the Federal Government authorities, seeking remedial action.

A proposed protest march to MLA offices in North Sydney is a potential step which our community is planning, but it has been postponed for some time to see the outcome following the discussion today. There will be community consultation in this regard sometime in the future.

Community reps thanked the Minister and Dr Harinath for the meeting.

Dr Yadu Singh

fianinc1@gmail.com

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

 

Enjoyed GWS Giants vs Gold Coast SUNS football match, Spotless Stadium Sydney Saturday 1 April 2017

1/4/17


It was a pleasure to be invited as a guest by AFL to join their pre-match reception and watch the match on Saturday, 1/4/17.

NSW Minister, Ray Williams and Multicultural NSW Chair, Dr Harry Harinath were present apart from other key members of NSW community.

It was a fantastic match. My favorite team, Greater Western Sydney Giants (GWS Giants) defeated the visitors, Gold Coast SUNS.

Congratulations, GWS Giants!

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Welcome reception for NSW Minister of Multiculturalism, Ray Williams MP 

Sydney, 22 March, 2017


I attended the reception for new minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams MP at NSW Parliament today. NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian MP, was present. There were about 100 key community leaders in attendance.

Dr Harry Harinath and Hakan Harkan (Chair & CEO of Multicultural NSW respectively) were the key officials.

Ray was sworn in as the minister for Multiculturalism 6 weeks ago.

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.facebook.com/DoctorYaduSingh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

Parramasala Parade, Friday, March 10, 2017

Sydney, March, 10, 2017

It was a matter of privilege and pride to be invited as a guest for the launch/inauguration  of Parramasala 2017 at Riverside Theatre, Parramatta, Friday, 10 March, 2017.

NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Multiculturalism, Ray Williams and Chair of Parramasala Board, Dr Harry Harinath, along with others were present.

The parade with contingents from more than 50 cultural and other groups was the highlight of the evening.

Premier Berejiklian and Minister Williams were, as usual, the charming and graceful hosts for the event.

Thank you, NSW Government, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and City of Parramatta Council for your ongoing support and funding for Parramasala.

Parramasala events will continue this weekend (Saturday 11 March and Sunday 12 March).

Go, visit and enjoy Parramasala 2017.

My previous post on Parramasala is here. https://yadusingh.com/2017/03/08/parramasala-2017-the-festival-of-cultures-and-diversity-10-12-march/

Dr Yadu Singh

http://www.twitter.com/dryadusingh

http://www.Facebook.com/dryadusingh

Parramasala: politics and beyond

Sydney, 8th October, 2014

Parramasala is a key festival, organised by the NSW Government. Held in Parramatta, the heart of Western Sydney, it is in its fifth year. Starting out as an Australian festival of South Asian arts and culture, it is now very multicultural. Performances include those from the cultures of South America, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East and Europe, besides the Indian subcontinent.

According to the Parramasala organisers, 44 per cent of the performances are from the Indian subcontinent backgrounds, and 36 per cent of these are from India, while the other 56 per cent are from a wide and diverse range of backgrounds. There are more than 20 nationalities and cultures represented at Parramasala 2014. Importantly, 96 per cent of the Parramasala performances are free events, which is impressive and commendable.

While Parramatta precincts, especially Prince Alfred Park and Riverside Theatre, will continue to be the centre of the festival, Harris Park, the Little India of Sydney, will be included for the first time. Harris Park Bollywood Block “Curry On” party on Saturday, 18 October, will have a parade, cultural performances from a stage in the roundabout of Wigram and Marion Streets, and food carts, serving delicacies by popular restaurants of Harris Park. This should definitely be an added attraction for those attending Parramasala.

The Parramasala board is ably chaired by Dr Harry Harinath and steered by Di Henry, an internationally renowned producer and director of events, exhibitions, operations, media campaigns and marketing. It is in able and competent hands, and can’t go wrong.

Looking at the program list, one cannot but admire the variety and quality. Whether you like street parades, Bollywood performances, Indian cultural dances, comedy, Flamenco dances, Belly dances, Kurdish music, African performances or Pacific Island dances, Parramasala has it all. Really, what more can one ask for from a festival?
Shiamak Davar group will be performing, and a Qawwali event is included too. Popular drama “Kanjoos” (Miser), directed by talented Saba Zaidi Abdi is part of it too.

The South Asian Film component will showcase talent from South Asian film professionals.

It is clear that Parramasala 2014 is bigger and definitely better than before.

Organized by Destination NSW, and Partnered by Parramatta Council, Parramasala is destined to achieve its due place in the cultural calendar of NSW.

That Parramasala is an important event for the Indian sub-continent community was evidenced by some social media commentary about who was invited and who was not invited for the launch of Parramasala at Harris Park on 27 August, 2014.
Its importance was further established when two Indian community newspapers had a debate over the festival. I don’t intend to comment about any controversy, nor do I want to take sides in a slanging match.

I will, however, say this: Parramasala is essentially a Govt of NSW event, supported by the Parramatta Council. They do have the right to select the board and the program director. They are the ones who have the rightful authority to organise it the way they want to do it. Parramasala is neither a pure nor an exclusively Indian sub-continental event. It is much beyond that, and it must stay that way.

While it is always important to be inclusive and consult as many stake-holders and interested parties as possible, it is never going to be possible to consult everyone who might consider themselves stake-holders. In any case the Parramasala board is accessible to all who wish to be heard; we can write to them or call them with our suggestions and feedback.

Similarly, it is never going to be possible to invite everyone for any event. Parramasala is no exception. Parramasala cannot invite every single South Asian business in Sydney (there are reportedly thousands of South Asian businesses); nor is it practical for all the community groups and associations to be invited for key events. We need to be pragmatic and realistic.

We need to see the bigger picture.

If I have to say anything more on it, I will say that Parramasala Board should make a list of people it should consult and a list of people it should invite for key events. This list should be based on some objective parameters, not the “liking” or “disliking” of some of the people who are associated with Parramasala. Networking ability and reach in the community should probably be part of such parameters. I could not quite understand why talented film professional Ana Tiwary was not invited. After all, Ana works with ABC, and in fact her acclaimed documentary on Indian students was screened in Parramasala last year. There is definitely scope for fine-tuning the networking and invitation lists for any Govt-assisted or organised event, using objective criterion.

Parramasala was initially launched by NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, in 2010, soon after the Indian student issue had made headlines in India and Australia, and just a few months before the NSW state election in March 2011. It attracted a lot of attention, especially from the Indian sub-continental communities. The media too covered it prominently. There was, however, some uncertainty about its continuation last year, until the NSW Govt finally decided to continue funding it. In fact, the launch of Parramasala last year was quite disorganised, and even the Parramatta Mayor, John Chedid, was not in the loop, solely due to politics of people who pulled strings in the previous NSW Govt. John Chedid has been a strong supporter of Parramasala in general, and a strong protagonist in taking part of Parramasala to Harris Park. I might add here that most of the members from the Parramatta Mayor’s advisory committee (myself included) on Parramasala were not even aware of the launch last year. “Favoritism” was the only criterion for last year’s launch invitations. It was childish, and not a smart move by any means.

Parramasala, which started out as a festival of South Asian arts and culture as its focus, has now become a truly multicultural event. Even though it is not a necessarily bad move, I believe South Asia must continue to be its focus. I suggest that efforts must be made to have at least 60 per cent of the performances from South Asian background.

Parramasala has all the ingredients of a truly popular festival in a successful multicultural state like NSW, if we all work together. Taking the cue from what Prime Minister Tony Abbott said recently, we all need to be part of “Team NSW for Parramasala” led by the Premier and Chair of Board of Parramasala. “Team NSW for Parramasala” obviously will include NSW Govt led by Premier Mike Baird, Destination NSW, Community Relations Commission, Indian sub-continent communities and sub-continental media.

May I also suggest to members of the Indian sub-continent community and the media to not worry about what Parramasala is giving them personally, but ask what they are giving to Parramasala to make it the most successful event this year and beyond?

If I were running Parramasala, or had the ears of Parramasala Board, and they were listening to me, I will do everything to ask as many people of the Indian sub-continent community and the media, and supporters of multiculturalism in NSW, to join the campaign to not only promote it through their social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but also to make sure they attend the event from 17-19 October, 2014.

The Parramasala logo will be in my profile picture on Facebook and Twitter, starting 10 October. I urge everyone in my network, and in my friends’ network, to do something similar to get the word out.

Parramasala is a festival for me, my family and friends, and I, like them, will be attending, and promoting, it with enthusiasm.

Published in Indian Sun news magazine http://www.theindiansun.com.au/parramasala-2014-politics-and-beyond/

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Dr Yadu Singh is a Sydney based cardiologist and the President of Indian Australian Association of NSW. He is an active member of the community. He is also active in social media and writes regularly in his Blog http://www.yadusingh.wordpress.com More details of Parramasala: http://www.parramasala.com

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