The Keep the RCMP in Surrey campaign has filed a formal complaint with the National NewsMedia Council against the Whalley-based Indo- Canadian VOICE newspaper and editor Rattan Mall for an opinion piece it published June 14, 2022 referring to a “disgraceful rowdy demonstration” by “a group of old white people.”
“What it does is it refers in a derogatory way to an identifiable group within our community which we think is totally inappropriate and wrong and if it was applied to any other community group they would have equal grounds for feeling equally outraged,” said Paul Daynes, a spokesman for KTRIS.
The article appeared under the headline, “ME THINKS! CBC report on McCallum’s feet not being visible on video footage is very interesting.”
The NNC is a media watchdog based in Toronto, comprised of 15 directors and was established in 2015 to “promote ethical practices within the news media industry.” It is an amalgamation of former press councils in B.C., Atlantic Canada, Manitoba, and Ontario.
The sentence in the VOICE’s piece the campaign is particularly concerned about reads: “The disgraceful rowdy demonstration in Surrey City Council recently by a group of old white people supporting the RCMP vividly shows how low this group can stoop and just how desperate they are.”
Rattan Mall, editor of the VOICE, said he wrote the opinion piece.
“I’m just mentioning facts, that’s what the video showed. If they were brown people I would have written brown people. I don’t hesitate to write whatever it is. I mean when South Asians commit crimes I’m the first one to put up, ‘South Asian caught,’” Mall said.
“I have no qualms about identifying them as South Asian or Vietnamese or white or whatever,” he added. “If it’s brown people I would have written that. I don’t hesitate to lash out at South Asians when they kind of misbehave or act like stupid guys.”
“I mean, if they’re white, they’re white, if they’re brown they’re brown.”
Meantime, Surrey city Coun. Jack Hundial said of the opinion piece, “That comment was really out of line. It’s really inappropriate, and as someone who was in chambers that day, I can tell you it wasn’t just one particular group from the community there.
“There was a wide variety of people there protesting, from different ethnicities.”