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"Samosa Politics" on CBC Television's The National on Thursday June 28, 2007.
  • The World Sikh Organization (WSO) recognizes the distress and disappointment felt by the Sikh community following the broadcast of the documentary "Samosa Politics" on CBC Television's The National on Thursday June 28, 2007......OTTAWA, July 4 /PRNewswire

Sikh organization, WSO sue $110 million CBC for aired “Samosa Politics”

  • Lawsuit argues- Documentary ‘contained significant and numerous factual misrepresentations
  • Linkened the Sikh separatist movement to terrorism and defamed members of Canada's Sikh community.


Toronto, July 11, 2007
J. Gill, Ontario &
/ LA, Gary Singh

WSO ( The World Sikh Organization ) has filed a $110 million civil lawsuit in the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto, against CBC, Canada's national broadcaster, a reporter and Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, alleging that a CBC documentary examining the issue of Sikh extremism has damaged the community's reputation. It describes as a “dishonest and highly offensive” characterization made by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The World Sikh Organization's lawyer, James Morton, said the lawsuit alleges defamation, libel and slander, and seeks $110-million in damages. "That does not mean, of course, that there would not be a resolution prior to the trial," said Morton.

Gian Singh Sandhu of the group's Canadian chapter alleged the documentary linked the WSO to terrorism and contained "many false statements."


The WSO describes itself as a non-profit human rights group established in 1984 with national bodies around the world that defend not only Sikhs but the rights of all people. Representatives would not say how many members there are in Canada or worldwide.

“It is the WSO’s view that the CBC documentary contained significant and numerous factual misrepresentations about the World Sikh Organization,” said Gian Singh Sandhu, a policy advisor with the group’s Canadian body, who spoke at a press conference held today in downtown Toronto.

“The WSO’s lawsuit for defamation, libel and slander arises from the airing of the documentary noted above.”

Sandhu added that the story, which he says was written about in Indian newspapers and mentioned by media in other parts of the world, has resulted in, “significant damage to the reputation of the WSO and the Sikh community.”

Another mistake, according to Sandhu, is the CBC news story’s assertion that the WSO released a 2000 press release with the title: “Sikhs did not bomb Air India 182”, which, according to the CBC “claimed that a cargo door fell off the plane.”

Over the Canada Day weekend, the WSO received hundreds of emails and phone calls from discouraged and frustrated Sikh Canadians who are appalled at the inaccurate, imbalanced and negative media portrayal of the Sikh community.

At a time when Sikh Canadians celebrate their Canadian citizenship along-side fellow citizens of every profession, race, culture and creed, it is disheartening to see that one of Canada's most respected Crown Corporations has aired a documentary which so grievously hurt the Sikh community with its factual errors and misrepresentations.


A CBC spokesperson said the broadcaster was not aware of the suit until it was informed about the press conference yesterday and that “if and when” the suit was received it would be given “due consideration.” Until then, the CBC will not make any comment.

A similar version of the story, which linked Sikh extremism to the WSO and highlighted its ties to the mainstream Canadian political scene, also aired on CBC Radio, with a print version posted on the CBC News website.

The documentary on the CBC's website says the WSO does not advocate violence, but does accuse some of its supporters of having "praised and defended those who use violence in the separatist cause."

Mr. Dosanjh, Liberal MP for Vancouver South

A spokesperson for Mr. Dosanjh, MP for Vancouver South, said he had not been served as of 4 pm eastern time and had no comment about the suit, but stood behind his statements made in the CBC news story.

When asked what Mr. Dosanjh specifically said in the story that the WSO objected to, Mr. Sandhu said it was obvious that the MP was making a connection between the WSO and Sikh extremism.

Dosanjh then states in the story that the delegate said Rae, in a 2005 report to the federal government, was openly critical of Sikh extremists behind the 1985 Air India bombing, and should not be supported.