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Australian broadcasters change terminology after Hindus protest
Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) of Australia has changed its headline for the Hindu festival of Holi after Hindus protested.

SBS posted a newsitem on its website including a video under "WORLD NEWS AUSTRALIA" dated April four about upcoming Holi celebrations in Sydney and titled it as “Sydney prepares for a Holi mess”.

Universal Society of Hinduism protested, criticizing SBS for the labeling of Holi as “mess”. Now, the new headline of the newsitem, dated at April six, says: “Sydney ushers in Indian festival of Holi”.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada on April five, argued that terming the “festival of color” celebrated by Hindus and others worldwide as “mess” was very insensitive and belittling of the entire community. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, had urged Australian Communications and Media Authority Chairman and CEO Chris Chapman to look into it.

In this statement Zed had pointed out that although SBS called itself “culturally-relevant Australian media” and claimed to contribute to the “social inclusion and cross-cultural understanding of all Australians - linguistically, sociologically and culturally”, but describing a festival of world’s oldest religion as “mess” was highly “disrespectful”. Was calling Holi “mess” SBS’s way of educating and informing the world correctly; whose “Charter” stated:  “The principal function of SBS is to provide…services that inform, educate and entertain” and “…promote understanding and acceptance of the cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity of the Australian people”? Zed asked.

Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, thanked SBS for responding to the hurt feelings of Hindu community and removing the inappropriate terminology describing the Hindu festival of Holi. He suggested training for the SBS staff to make them “culturally/religiously literate” and offered to help in Hinduism awareness, if needed.

SBS, established in 1978 and headquartered in Artarmon (NSW), “is a national public broadcaster with a special mandate to reflect the multicultural nature of Australian society”. With its Board of Directors appointed by the Government, bulk of its funding - about 80 per cent - comes from Government appropriation. SBS Television broadcasts in over 100 languages and is claimed to be watched by over 7 million Australians each week. SBS Radio is claimed to be the world's most linguistically diverse radio network.

Joie de vivre festival of Holi welcomes the beginning of spring and starts about ten days before the full moon of Phalguna. The ceremonies include the lighting of the bonfires, during which all evils are symbolically burnt. Holi also commemorates the frolics of youthful Lord Krishna; and celebrates the death of demoness Putana, burning of demoness Holika, and destruction of Kama by Shiva. Holi fell on March 27 this year.

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