Document 1656

Interview 20: Media for the Muslim community in Scotland

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): Prof John B Corbett, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

M608 Okay, Imran, thanks very much for coming er and agreeing to speak to me today. Erm, I'd just like to start talking about er how you got started in sports journalism and and how you got involved in journalism in Glasgow. Could you, could you tell us a little bit about how how that started?
M1174 Yeah sure, erm, started off, er well my sort of involvement in, within the Asian media started off in nineteen ninety-seven, erm when a pilot project was er sort of initiated, er where we'd provide a radio erm facility for Muslims //living in er//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 in Glasgow. And that was the formation of Radio Ramadhan, //erm,//
M608 //Oh right.//
M1174 which started off er during the month of Ramadan, //the month of//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 fasting. //Erm it was a pilot project//
M608 //I think I remember that one.//
M1174 for that year, so we weren't really sure where where it would go, erm you know, from from there.
M608 Who who initiated that?
M1174 Erm it was a group of er sort of friends, including myself, erm who wanted to erm sort of branch out into the media sort of er industry, so to speak, //erm//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 providing not just written materials erm or lectures or conferences but something different. And the radio idea came about er when five, six of us were just sitting down one day, having a brainstorm //of what we could//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 do for the Ramadan that was only a few months away. Erm, so, as with all things in life we, you know, we hastily sort of erm got together and er wrote a letter to the the, you know the Radio er Commission //er to grant//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 us a licence, erm for thirty days, er for the the month of Ramadan, which we were successful in getting erm without much erm involvement of community leaders, //or the public even,//
M608 //Mmhm.// Mmhm.
M1174 erm because they saw us providing a service for the the public.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 In this case it was the, you know, it's, was- it wasn't specifically for Muslims, but, you know, anyone can tune into a radio station //and listen to what's//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 what's, you know, what's happening.
M608 Yeah.
M1174 So that was how I kind of got started, erm //within. No, that's, that was the ironic//
M608 //Did the six of you have much media experience before that, or was this a, this was [laugh]//
M1174 thing was that we did not have any experience with erm radio, TV, all that kind of technology sort of stuff, erm, we had one technician, er electrical technician who was into like photography and erm all that kind of stuff, so he was into all his computers, so he kind of had, I think, Windows Media Player on the //the//
M608 //Oh right?//
M1174 the PC at home was his sort of expertise, so he kind of guided us er sort of towards the right direction, so we set up camp, erm in Tradeston in an old er disused warehouse and
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 that was the the birth of er of Radio Ramadhan in Glasgow and //my sort of experience.//
M608 //And how did, how did you find that, how did you find that place, er?//
M1174 The?
M608 The warehouse.
M1174 Well, it was all we could get in su- such short notice.
M608 So you're looking at adverts in papers, was that the way that it worked, or //somebody knew somebody?//
M1174 //Well, it was actually// the other kind of twist in the tale was erm it just happened to be my uncle's er
M608 Oh right.
M1174 sort of extension of his current warehouse //that he, well, that he had at the time.//
M608 //Okay.// //Uh-huh.//
M1174 //And it was being disused so it was like a a big massive empty floor space// //really.//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 So we set up partitions and then we had one room where, you know, the the the presenters were were working live on air, //one room for like//
M608 //Uh-huh.// //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 //production, post-production, pre-production of,// //you know?//
M608 //And how did you// finance this? Was this through grants or through the community, or?
M1174 Well, we all kind of chipped in, //er to start off with.//
M608 //Right.//
M1174 Erm and then we also started to approach businesses, local businesses, //erm//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 about advertising on the air, //which is one of the sort//
M608 //Of course, yeah, yeah.//
M1174 of the main financial er, you know, means er of income. So er so slowly wo- word, word, you know, word of mouth got around and we started to get a bit more organised.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 And er money wasn't available //much at a time, so it was//
M608 //Uh-huh yeah.//
M1174 like little streams coming through, through sponsorship, er advertising, etcetera, //and erm//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 we produced like a timetable, //a prayer timetable with the Radio Ramadhan logo,//
M608 //Oh okay.//
M1174 all that kind of stuff. //And then, it's really b-//
M608 //Uh-huh.// //Uh-huh uh-huh.//
M1174 //basically just kind of flew from there.//
M608 And what kind of programming did you provide within that thirty days, I mean, er was it largely talk or was there music, //or?//
M1174 //Well erm,// we we kep- we tried to keep it according to Islamic law, //so which,//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 and Islamic law forbids any kind of music //other than the//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 there's certain erm I mean I'm not a scholar, so
M608 Mmhm
M1174 er forgive me for being ignorant, but //erm//
M608 //No.//
M1174 there were some specific types of music which are disallowed, forbidden,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 so we tried to keep it so that everyone was happy, cause we //didn't want the//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 complaints coming from like, er, you know, //scholars from abroad or from down south,//
M608 //Oh yeah, yeah.//
M1174 saying "Well, you know, this is this is forbidden, you're
M608 Mmhm. //Mmhm.//
M1174 //blaspheming, basically, your own// //religion. We did, yeah, we did//
M608 //Did you take advice locally, for that? Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 take advice on on what we should be doing. We consulted with the Imams of Glasgow Central Mosque who are probably the most learned scholars //available er in Glasgow//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 for the Muslim er community.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 So we did approach them, er got their advice and took their advice on board. And er basically our timetable throughout the thirty days was according to their advice plus what we thought the community needed. //For example, we didn't//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 just have lectures, we didn't have, you know, we read- we didn't just play a a recording of a lecture from some guy from //you know, America or Pakistan,//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 it was structured so that there was somebody live on air, er don't forget this was only a a pilot, //you know, sort of er a thirty day//
M608 //Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 to see how things went. So, it was really play by ear. Erm we tried to provide an eclectic mix of programming, //for example there was er//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 from twelve o'clock to two o'clock when most women were at home,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 we had like a programme for them //in Urdu.//
M608 //Yeah.// //Yeah, oh okay.//
M1174 //Erm,// and then we also had erm er during the the fast break, which was sunrise //and then the fast//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 erm when you keep you k- you keep your fast in the morning before th-th- the dawn prayers, we had live programming so somebody was on air, live, talking about, you know, the day ahead,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 the good deeds you should be doing,
M608 Oh okay. //[fire alarm goes off]//
M1174 //erm recitations,//
M608 That's the fire alarm. [NOTE: recording stopped until fire alarm ended] Okay, before we were rudely interrupted by the er fire alarm there, but the the test seems to be over now, so [laugh] so there was a slight interruption to our our discussion. Yeah, you were telling me about the er mix of programming in the first month of Radio Ramadhan. One of the questions I was going to ask you, was er you said specifically in the afternoon you were targeting towards er women who might be at home and the programmes were in Urdu.
M1174 Mmhm.
M608 Do you remember any discussion about a kind of language policy, or how you would, did you, did you deliberately mix languages, //English, Urdu?//
M1174 //Yeah,// we we mixed them so that erm we could obviously er reach out to a wider audience, //er not many people had//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 really, kind of, by the by the first week not many people had really known erm that er, you know, we had, Radio Ramadhan was was live on air and you could tune in on 105.4fm, etcetera.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 So really we were trying to get erm sort of word of mouth and just tell our friends and families to pass the word round. Erm and obviously there was a lot of non-English speaking, particularly women, erm er living er, you know, amongst the Muslim population in Glasgow. Erm so we tried to obviously change the the timetable so we could get English, Arabic, Urdu, //and even in some cases erm Gujarati//
M608 //Oh.// //Okay.//
M1174 //er shows,// or slots, onto the the daily erm timetable. That way we could reach across to a a wider audience.
M608 What kind of Arabic would this be? Kind of classical Arabic related to the Koran or //was it was it more conversational?//
M1174 //Well no it'll be it'll be st-// modern-day Arabic, //erm//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 it'll be like an Arabic er presenter, //male or female, coming on air,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 and erm maybe talking about a- issues in the Arabic world, for example, discussions, erm. There wasn't any specificity as far as erm you know, music was concerned or or lectures, I mean //most of them were in English anyway.//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 Er and the music were, er was in Arabic.
M608 Mmhm. //Okay. Oh right.//
M1174 //So, which is understandable by all. So,// we tried to obviously, it's difficult to explain because it was really kind of erm higgledy-piggledy at the start, so we we had it so that at certain times we could target like, say for example, the Urdu-speaking population which'll be like the afternoon slot,
M608 Yeah.
M1174 then when it's time to break the fast which will be round about the sunset, we had er all programmes in English, //cause then we thought, you know, most people will be listening,//
M608 //Uh-huh.// //Uh-huh.//
M1174 //erm,// listening to the radio to to let them know it's time to break their fast and they can eat, etcetera.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 So most of them will be, you know, tho-tho-tho- those programmes were in English. And then the Arabic, we have, maybe say after the the night prayers, about nine, ten o'clock, //because we thought maybe that's when//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 most of the Arabic er population would be listening.
M608 Uh-huh. To your knowledge was this the first er radio programme in Glasgow that was serving the, kind of the ethnic //community, yeah?//
M1174 //Yes, yes, as// far as we were concerned, we'd obviously done our homework and er research beforehand and there was no other, well there hadn't been any other radio or sort of media //outlet available//
M608 //Mm.// //Mmhm.//
M1174 //erm for// you could say the the Asian or //specifically in this case the Muslim community, so we thought, you know, we're//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 the fir- the first, the first of its kind, //you know?//
M608 //Certainly the first// commercial one, cause I I do vaguely remember kind of half-hour BBC programmes aimed at, well certainly the Chinese community, and I think the Indian and Pakistani community, at some point in //the past,//
M1174 //Mmhm.//
M608 but I mean it's a vague and distant memory for me.
M1174 Well the th- the thing with er Radio Ramadhan was, erm, not many people would have known about the BBC Asian Network, //for example,//
M608 //Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 what time it came on, and er, and I'm assuming erm they had programmes in English or //or//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 do, I mean I'm not sure.
M608 I think I remember radio programmes on Radio Scotland, but I'm going to have to go back and check, //that, but i- it was a//
M1174 //Mmhm.//
M608 kind of magazine programme and it was in a mix of I think Urdu and English, //but but//
M1174 //Mmhm.//
M608 but it was time-limited, it was not a programme that ran all year, for example, //so that so//
M1174 //Mmhm.// yeah, I mean I I I'd heard of them myself, er there were more sort of erm dramas, //or sort of stories that they had, like,//
M608 //Oh okay, mmhm.//
M1174 a weekly story for like a six-week block,
M608 Mm.
M1174 erm but but then again, no-one knew they were on, //er//
M608 //[tut] Oh.//
M1174 cause we we we'd asked people, we'd done a survey beforehand, //sent//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 out erm questionnaires to like local youth groups erm and
M608 Right.
M1174 mosques etcetera, after Friday prayers, we, you know, we had guys standing outside, erm asking everyone, you know, you know, "Have you ever heard of, //w-w- would you like a radio station,//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 you know, catering for the Muslim community in Glasgow, or or the Pakistani community and
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 what kind of programming would you like?" and the the feedback we were getting was that not many people knew, or as far as we were concerned, no-one had known //or realised that there was, there there were programmes like the BBC's or Radio Scotland's, so as far as we were//
M608 //Uh-huh, okay, okay.//
M1174 concerned, erm this was the first, //so to speak, yeah yeah.//
M608 //You were breaking new ground, definitely.// Er, was it a twenty-four hour //broadcast, yeah, cause I'd imagine//
M1174 //It was, yeah.//
M608 that a lot of activity during Ramadan is during the night, //because of//
M1174 //It is.//
M608 that's when you eat. //[laugh]//
M1174 //Yeah, we had, yeah,// //that's the main time, it's the best time, actually.//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 We had erm people, like staff based at the the the station, erm we tried to have them twenty-four hours a day,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 but again because it was the the f- the first time we'd we'd had this, erm you know, station going out live, we were kind of unsure about the safety procedures, and all that kind of stuff, so we did try to make sure that somebody was there overnight, //because we had, you know,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 thousands of pound worth of equipment,
M608 Yeah.
M1174 erm which we'd kind of had to buy, //really, from scratch, erm sitting there.//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 Erm yeah, so we had, we were, the the main sort of er focus of the the day was the evening, as you said, //because of erm the the bustle the bustle of activity,//
M608 //Mm. The festivities. Mm.//
M1174 but erm we had the the live phone-ins and discussions //during the evening, and those//
M608 //Oh did you? Right.//
M1174 proved very popular, //especially the the//
M608 //[cough]//
M1174 first er especially doing that the first erm, you know, that month, the first time we we did the Radio Ramadhan.
M608 In the phone-ins, what languages are used, is it English, Urdu, or //a mixture?//
M1174 //Well we had er a// presenter who could speak English, er obviously, and a presenter //who was//
M608 //[cough]// //[inaudible]//
M1174 //fluent in Arabic and Urdu.// So if a caller, for example, say an elderly woman //wanted to//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 c- call in, obviously not knowing English, she could ask the question in Urdu, Punjabi or Arabic.
M608 Oh right, interesting. And how did you manage the transition from that one month radio programme to to a kind of more permanent radio station? //I mean, presumably it was successful?//
M1174 //Erm,// mmhm, yeah, we were actually very surprised at the s- the success er we we achieved, erm obviously it was er, we thank God for the the help that he gave us, erm but it was a combined effort, //erm we involved the community,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 er which was a great benefit //er to the success of the station.//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 So all the the following years we tried to, you know, obviously we we learnt our mistakes from the f- first year, which were many, and er you know, obviously we kept the community in touch, erm through questionnaires, er again through using er newspaper- m- media, written media to get their opinions and and and //the points across.//
M608 //Was this was this er written media for the community specifically// //for the community? So//
M1174 //Yes, yeah.//
M608 these are, what, Asian newspapers, //or yeah?//
M1174 //Yeah, Asian newspapers. Erm I've// //brought a couple along, which I can//
M608 //Oh right, thanks.//
M1174 er certainly let you have, erm, so basically we changed the programming completely over the next few years, so that, you know, we had different programmes, aimed at youth, erm specific times of the day, again, aimed at women, //erm//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 and then we had erm we actually had more programmes in Urdu and Punjabi,
M608 Ah right, okay.
M1174 rather than English cause we we we thought erm the women are at //home during Ramadan,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 erm they're cooking all day long, //you know, preparing for the big meal in the evening, or at//
M608 //Yeah. Yeah.//
M1174 at er at sunset. So, you know, if they're in the kitchen they can easily have the radio on, you for the two, three hours or whatever it is, that they, you know, //that they're there.//
M608 //Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 So we had those programmes specifically aimed erm to be majority of the programming in Urdu or Punjabi.
M608 So did you reapply for a licence for the following year's Ramadan, //or was, or did//
M1174 //Yeah, yeah.//
M608 did you decide to extend it at that time, or did, did you have a couple of years of Ramadan only and then extend it?
M1174 No, we we had to reapply each year. //Erm,//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 er the rules and regulations of the the licensing er board were that we had to apply each year,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 and er there we- there was no problem in getting the licence because of the the success we had in the first two or three years.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 Erm, you know, and it's been going on since //since the first year, so.//
M608 //Okay.// //But is it, is it still restricted, the broadcasting to the month//
M1174 //[cough]// //Yes. Yeah.//
M608 //of Ramadan, or? Okay, so// so so it's not, I understood that it was a a kind of //longer broadcast. But there's there's also a website?//
M1174 //No no.// There is a website, yeah, erm it's, I don't know if there's anything on the website at the moment, but er yeah, there is a website, you can listen to the radio online.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 and also we had the the timetable and the the prayer times all on //the website, erm//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 what we did- also had, was obviously, in nineteen ninety-seven not many people were familiar with the Net, //and all that kind of kind of stuff, so//
M608 //Mmhm mm oh yeah.//
M1174 obviously we branched out in in having our own website, presenters' details and programming etcetera, //and if we were to//
M608 //Right.//
M1174 have like a famous speaker come on, er cause we we did have a few very famous er scholars, //Erm,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 you know, and a- for live phone-ins, //phone-in discussions in the evening, which er again proved//
M608 //Mmhm. Okay.// //Right.//
M1174 //very popular each year.// One thing we noticed was erm obviously Islam is not such a strict religion that you can't, y-, it has to be serious all the time, //so we had//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 programming for like the the kids,
M608 Mmhm, okay.
M1174 a show called "Kids on Air" where kids, young kids from like three, four year old //up to//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 whatever sixteen, seventeen could phone in,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 recite poetry //in Arabic,//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 erm in Urdu or even in English,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 recite erm verses from the Koran, //obviously in Arabic,//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 erm so it was a chance to, you know, //it was called "Kids on Air", basically, the programme, so//
M608 //Yeah, right.//
M1174 again, we have that sort of er blend of youth and //the e-, you know,//
M608 //Yeah.// //It seems very family-oriented to me, it's ki-, yeah.//
M1174 //the old and. It is.// I mean R-, the month of Ramadan is actually a very family-orientated er er month,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 so obviously we had to take that on board and make sure we provided for everyone.
M608 Mmhm. So, tell me how you got into sports journalism. //Whe- whe- you're you're a kind of entrepreneur, you're setting up Radio Ramadhan with//
M1174 //[laugh]//
M608 five other guys, er, where does the sports journalism //fit in?//
M1174 //[cough] Well, erm,// I love to write, //er and read, erm//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 I mean that is er probably my main hobby. But if you ask someone what your hobby is they probably say "I collect stamps" or "I play football", but I've I've a-, I've always loved to read erm since I was a a young a young kid, I was-, always excelled at English at school.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 and fortunately I didn't take it up as a as a career, erm journalism, that is, erm so again we were looking at different media outlets for the Asian community this time, //rather than the Muslim community, and erm,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 er from experience we'd le- we'd sort of realised that many er journalists were coming from abroad, //for example//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 Pakistan and India and even the Middle East, //to set up er//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 newspapers, or magazines, //er in in Britain.//
M608 //Mmhm.// Mm.
M1174 And er they were basically, they were flops, they weren't really, I mean they had like, you know, four, five months of er circulation and then they would er basically call it //a day.//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 So we wanted to provide, erm, this time specifically for the Asian community, //erm, [throat] yeah, this was this was this was quite recently.//
M608 //This was after Radio Ramadhan was successful, okay so.// //Mmhm.//
M1174 //Erm,// maybe the last er four years, //about four years ago.//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 So so we wanted to provide er a high-quality erm newspaper, erm tabloid er newspaper for, catering for the Asian community, which had erm news, sport, health, lifestyle, all //sort of issues relevant//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 for people living, for for Asians living in Glasgow. And the the the newspapers that were available at the time were very sort of vague, er, in the news and the style of reporting, lot of mistakes, erm very badly edited //and published,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 erm and er not really specific news-wise for erm, you know, //Muslims or Asians or Indians, whatever, living in in Scotland.//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 They were all sort of news stories from like Eng- England majority, cause that's where most Asians live.
M608 Yeah.
M1174 So we set up Awaz //newspaper, which means "the voice".//
M608 //Mmhm mm.// Okay.
M1174 So really we were the voice of the the Scottish Asian, //so to speak.//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 Erm so again as with all things, we set up er quite cheap, //and it was//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 black and white the first [laugh] first few months of the the of the paper, it was a monthly paper, by the way, //so//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 it wasn't like a weekly, cause we didn't have //the the finance and the staffing//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 to really make it a a weekly erm er publication, so it was a monthly publication. Stories were all relevant, specific to to to the erm Asian community living in Glasgow. Erm, I just happened to, you know, offer my erm [tut] help //to the the team,//
M608 //[laugh]//
M1174 and said, okay, I I don't mind, I mean I love following sport, //er//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 you know, so I'll I'll become your sports reporter. [laugh]
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 So again it was all voluntary, //erm//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 you know, there's no expenses, er, s-, no er salary or anything, //for any of the the//
M608 //Oh I see.//
M1174 the [inaudible] staff involved. Everything is done voluntarily, so we all sort of donated our time.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 So that's really how I got //into it, I mean.//
M608 //So what- what's your day job?//
M1174 I'm a physiotherapist, //[laugh]//
M608 //Oh right. [laugh]//
M1174 working for the NHS. //So that's my nine to five job,//
M608 //Okay.// So everybody who's working on the newspaper and the radio are volunteers doing other things? //Okay, I didn't realise that.//
M1174 //Yes, yeah, yeah erm,// no-one is paid at all. //It's all//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 they're giving their own time for, you know, for the //community.//
M608 //Mm. Okay.//
M1174 So, yeah, so that's how I got into sports journalism, and erm, I'd written a few articles for, previous to the Awaz er coming out, for "The Friday People", //which is a a sort of a newsletter,//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 er stroke newspaper that comes out every Friday, //so that's like a weekly er//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 publication so, and that's aimed more towards erm sort of giving religious information //or//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 religious advice, religious articles, //erm Middle East//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 political //erm//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 sort of politically //orientated//
M608 //And who who publishes that?//
M1174 erm Doctor [?]Tian[/?] is the editor, er he publishes it //er, he's a Glasgow-based, yeah.//
M608 //He's Glasgow-based, is he?//
M1174 Yeah, so erm but that's really how I got into the sort of the sports side //of things, yeah.//
M608 //Okay.// And what sports do you cover?
M1174 All sports, //erm,//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 obviously the m- the popular ones are cricket, //hockey erm and football.//
M608 //Okay.// Uh-huh.
M1174 Erm so that's obviously what the Pakistanis, Indians are really, you know, //into, they're they're,//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 you know, as far as sports are concerned. //Erm,//
M608 //So, do you look at international or// national or //local or, you look at everything? Okay.//
M1174 //Everything, everything, yeah, we cover// obviously if Pakistan are playing, you know, the West Indies we make sure we have er all the latest news, but sometimes, because it's a monthly er publication, it's difficult to kind of keep track, //cause you don't want to//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 publish outdated information. //You want it to be relevant and up-to-date.//
M608 //No.//
M1174 So if something, so if our, say for for for example erm if our pub- newspaper er came out on the first of each month,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 and er fi- the first of January and on the second of December, you know, the previous month, there was a big issue //er sporting news or whatever,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 we would think twice before publishing that, //cause it's over//
M608 //Yeah.// //[cough] Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 //you know, five weeks old now, so// yeah, but the majority of our, of the news is local, so //whatever's//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 happening at a local level, as far as sports, news, events are concerned, we try to cover those, //and concentrate more on on them.//
M608 //Mmhm.// And which language or languages do you write in?
M1174 English and Urdu. //Yeah, it's half and half, so//
M608 //And U- and Urdu.//
M1174 er it won't be, it won't necessarily be the same articles,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 erm but it'll be, half the paper is in English and half i-, the the back pages are all in Urdu.
M608 And how do you decide which language you're gonna write a parti-? Do you have bilingual articles, or, or, you s- you say half the paper's in Urdu and half the paper's in English, //so, what makes you decide//
M1174 //Mm.//
M608 to write an article in English or Urdu?
M1174 I think that's down to the the editor, //really, I think erm//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 we we try to keep it, erm so that erm specific news f-, say for example from Pakistan
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 g- give you a good example, the recent Molly Campbell //situation,//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 er we had all those news articles in Urdu,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 erm because it was erm, you know, things that are happening say back home //er//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 for most people living in //in Glasgow, so they wanted//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 to, and most of them would probably be women that would //be interested.//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 Erm so we have to kind of really play it by ear and obviously the editor sits down with erm the chief reporter and and says "Okay, well, is is this relevant? Shall we have this in English or or //or Urdu or", you know?//
M608 //[tut] Okay.//
M1174 Sports news are always in English, //because obviously we're trying to target//
M608 //Oh okay.//
M1174 er the youngsters, //er//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 the the men, cause women aren't really interested
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 in sport, erm, so that's all in English, whereas erm for for women we have er a page on health and lifestyle,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 and that'll be in English and Urdu.
M608 Oh okay.
M1174 So it'll be like two different articles. It won't necessarily be the same thing in English and then translated into Urdu. It'll be two different things, //but//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 again catering for both com- sort of, you know language speaking communities.
M608 Uh-huh. Do you have consciously erm a kind of language maintenance policy in the in the newspaper? Do you see the newspaper as maintaining Urdu within the Asian communities in //in Glasgow?//
M1174 //Yeah.// I mean, [exhale] I don't know if any research has been done er in this particular field, but er I personally feel that erm mu- less and less of the youth nowadays are really forgetting their their mother tongue, so to speak, //so that's whether it's//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 Urdu, Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 or whatever it happens to be, they're actually, erm cause they're not taught it //at school,//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 and er they don't converse with their friends and families in it on a daily basis.
M608 Oh, do they not? It's not the language of the home, or part of the language of the home?
M1174 Well erm, i- in my family we speak er with our elders in in Urdu.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 So we would speak er we would speak Urdu at home, with //the elders//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 but for but for my brothers and sisters I would speak to them in English, //my wife,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, //it would all be English.//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 So speaking Urdu or Punjabi or Hindi is only erm sort of restricted to speak- when you speak to certain people, //for example, the elders, yeah, yeah.//
M608 //It's cro- it's cross- it's cross-generational, yeah.//
M1174 I mean nowadays, you know, like the the kids won- will not speak to their best friend in, you know, in second year at school in Urdu //or in Punjabi, it's just//
M608 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// //No, no.//
M1174 //it's just, it's just not the cool thing to do,// //you know?//
M608 //No.//
M1174 So we feel that the paper p- helps to keep, maintain [cough] that language identity.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 Erm because obviously not many kids would know how to read Urdu, //never mind speak it.//
M608 //Yeah, yeah.// //There aren't community classes? Cause I know there are for the Chinese community//
M1174 //Erm. [throat]// //There are, yeah.//
M608 //I've heard of them in Glasgow, in Garnethill,// where I, where I live. Yeah.
M1174 There are actually classes erm that take place er at the weekend. //There's a weekend school,//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 er which has been running now for the past twenty-five //years, in Glasgow Central Mosque.//
M608 //Uh-huh.// Okay.
M1174 Er and I'm not sure like what the attendance is like, //and, you know,//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 but they follow the the GCSE curriculum, //so it's all the the English//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 that the English schools have, so it'll be the GCSE then
M608 Okay.
M1174 A levels in in Urdu.
M608 Okay.
M1174 Erm but I think a few schools in Glasgow now are also doing Urdu as like a, I don't know whether they've changed it to Standard Grades or they still call it the GCSE but they are in, but that's only in schools where there's a high percentage of Asians.
M608 Asian, yeah, yeah. Do you know whether the newspaper's actually used in those classes as a as kind of reading texts, //or mm//
M1174 //Erm I don't don't I don't think so.// //No, the the text//
M608 //would be interesting.//
M1174 that we we have is very similar to a text that the pa- the papers in India or Pakistan would use.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 So it's quite erm strict, erm sometimes difficult to understand kind of Urdu.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 And, I mean, I don't know if there's a word to describe that, but er it's not your standard
M608 It's a kind of literary
M1174 Yeah. //It's like a//
M608 //language, it's not so much a spoken// //Urdu as a very much a//
M1174 //no no, it's more the literary,// so it's like there'll be words which, you know, some of the elders might not even understand, //you know, what they mean, but they'll they'll know//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 from reading the con- the the paragraph or the text. //So, it's//
M608 //Why do you use that?// if it if it's more literary and more difficult to understand, why don't you adopt something that is more colloquial in style?
M1174 I think that's a [tut], it's easier from the reporting side er of of things, and it's easier from like er actually editing the the paper side of things as well, because we we felt that we we had to obviously keep-, pure Urdu is actually very hard to understand,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 and er hard to speak.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 And very few people can actually understand pure Urdu, th-th- they spoke, say, you know, before partition of Pakistan, it's //it's like it's like//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 it's like a very, it's like a different dialect, //and it's different//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 technique and there's di- there's different words, I mean there'll be two, three, four different words tra-, you know, for one thing,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 er depending on where you were from in Pakistan,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 for example, //so there's different dialects, so we//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 the the Urdu that we use in the paper is like sort of the the international standard, er for er Urdu publishing type Urdu, //so,//
M608 //Oh okay, mm.//
M1174 so we u- we use that so that we're obviously keeping the the, you know, the core Urdu
M608 Yeah.
M1174 in the community //alive.//
M608 //So you- you're kind of conforming to an international standard,// //effectively, yeah.//
M1174 //Yeah, and and obviously// //and that as well so we're trying to kill two birds with one stone.//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 Erm but I mean I think your ideas might happen in the future, //where, cause//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 obviously like I said we feel less and less yo-, that the youth are not really interested in in speaking their their mother languages, //any more, so//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 I think maybe if we were to adapt, //so that it's more//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 you know,
M608 Closer to the actual speech. //I mean I'm just interested//
M1174 //Yeah.//
M608 in the way that language kind of historically evolve, like, //like this,//
M1174 //Mmhm.//
M608 and that that's often the pattern, not always the pattern but often the pattern that you find. Do you find that there's very much what we call in kind of sociolinguistics, code-mixing, that you switch between Urdu and English in in your texts? I imagine people do it in their speech but I just wondered whether you do it in your your articles?
M1174 In text, obviously if there's words which erm are a standard English
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 erm they will be, they will be spoken er the same way in Urdu, //they'll be written in English, so//
M608 //Yeah, okay, yeah.//
M1174 you'll you'll just say that word in English.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 Erm for example, if you were saying er a name of a town //or a city or someone's name.//
M608 //Mmhm uh-huh. Mmhm.// //Okay, mmhm.//
M1174 //er you can do it in both, so it doesn't really make much difference.//
M608 Would you have a technical concept in cricket that you would just adopt into Urdu, or, you'd you'd be writing in English, mind you, wouldn't you? Yeah. So that wouldn't work. Would you would you find yourself using an Urdu word kind of an evaluative word in an English cricket text? Would you ever use an Urdu word in English cricket reporting?
M1174 An English word in Urdu?
M608 An Urdu word in in an English er text. If you were reporting on a cricket //match and you wanna//
M1174 //Mmhm.//
M608 say something is kind of particularly, and give an evaluative //word or?//
M1174 //Erm,// I don't think we would. //No.//
M608 //Ah, you wouldn't, you would you would keep// keep the kind of the //linguistic boundaries fairly fairly rigid?//
M1174 //Yeah, yeah, we would keep that,// I mean in sports reporting erm you have to keep that boundary,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 erm otherwise er, you know, you're not really professional,
M608 Uh-huh. //Mm.//
M1174 //in in my opinion, that's my personal opinion.// Erm, so we wouldn't code-switch as such,
M608 Uh-huh. //Mm.//
M1174 //when we're writing texts, speaking yes,// //I mean, everyone does it,//
M608 //Mm.// Yeah. //Yeah.//
M1174 //in in speech,// but i- in sort of er written text, no, we wouldn't. It would be either or.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 depending on, like I said, if it's a a name,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 a country, I said to you, or a person's name, then you //just have it in English, but er,//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1174 //other than that no, we would keep them separate.//
M608 Is the newspaper very Glasgow-based or do you reach to to the Scottish Asian community outside Glasgow?
M1174 It's er it's based in Glasgow so most of the stories would would be G- Glasgow-specific,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 erm but the paper is distributed in Edinburgh, Dundee, and I think Aberdeen as well,
M608 Mmhm. //Okay.//
M1174 //so we have the sort of the east// coast, we we would have articles erm specific to like someone living in Edinburgh //or Dundee,//
M608 //Okay.// //Okay, so you have contributors//
M1174 //etcetera.// //Yes, yeah.//
M608 //perhaps from from those places?// //Wh-//
M1174 //But as everything// is is specific, most of the articles, probably ninety percent //or ninety-five percent are//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 specific to Glasgow, like the local news, events etcetera.
M608 Mm, I just wondered if you were aware of any Glasgow dialect, you know, creeping into the texts at any point, particularly in sports reporting, which can, in er Scottish newspapers, er and I'm thinking of newspapers like the Sunday Post, you find quite a lot of dialect and kind of colloquial terms [?]creaking[/?] in //creeping in there.//
M1174 //Mmhm.// //Erm, well//
M608 //Is it something you resist or something you adopt?// //Or som-, yeah. [laugh]//
M1174 //resist, resist, yeah, we try to keep it as simple as possible, erm// yeah, so I mean, if there's like, for example I'm reporting on like, say, I don't know, a football festival in E- in Edinburgh, //er I would-//
M608 //Uh-huh.//
M1174 I would- I wouldn't change er my text or the way I write my text, or the way I write my article,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 erm I wouldn't change it if I was doing, covering say the same event in Glasgow.
M608 Uh-huh. Right, yeah. //Okay.//
M1174 //You know, I would keep it the same,//
M608 Yeah.
M1174 probably cause I I wouldn't know how to do it,
M608 Okay, mm. //Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 //is probably the main reason.// Erm, yeah.
M608 Yeah. How do you see the erm, I suppose it's a little bit kind of exaggerated to call it a media empire, //[laugh]//
M1174 //[laugh]//
M608 but it's st-, I mean it started off, it's very interesting, you're starting off with your your weekly radio station and you're e- evolving into a a a monthly newspaper, and a website, I mean do you see it expanding in its operations, or do you think it's gone about as far as it can?
M1174 Well erm, what initially, what was, the original concept was to have er a newspaper and our radio station complement each other, //so by the same name.//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 And er, there was Radio Awaz, //which//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 kind of erm wh- which was born erm maybe about the same time as the paper, //so about four, five years ago.//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 And erm basically that was the Awaz media empire, //so to speak.//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 But erm then obviously due to, I don't know what what happened but erm copyright issues and all that kind of stuff, we had to m- er make both media outlets separate.
M608 Oh okay.
M1174 Erm I think this was due to the the licensing board for the radio station.
M608 Oh okay.
M1174 So Radio Awaz, I'll just give you a quick kind of a, a quick er history of that, was aimed at the Asian community, and it was a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week, three hundred and sixty-five days a year station, //so it was a m-,//
M608 //Okay, right.//
M1174 a much bigger long-term project. I wasn't involved in that, //er at all,//
M608 //Okay.//
M1174 erm but this is f- from from what I know, //erm,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 and then the paper was er sort of er a complementary //er//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 media outlet for the the the radio station.
M608 Oh okay.
M1174 Erm but then b- because of copyright issues and erm because basically the staff on the radio station were now getting paid //for presenting,//
M608 //Oh okay.// Mmhm.
M1174 er and they were on salaries, //so. No, no, this was a different, separate group altogether, yeah.//
M608 //Were these the same people that started off, no, so it's it's completely separate from Radio Ram-, okay.//
M1174 The Radio Ramadhan group was erm was more, as I said, couple of guys got together, //and sort of//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 providing something for the the Muslim community, whereas this was on a a bigger scale,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 erm, you know, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the year.
M608 Broadcasting throughout Scotland or within Glasgow?
M1174 Well it's available er I think as far as up north as Stirling.
M608 Oh, okay. //So it's Central Belt.//
M1174 //Yeah, and.// Central Belt, yeah, not Edinburgh, //so,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 again it's confined to Glasgow, //cause that's where Scotland's, you know,//
M608 //Okay.// //Largest, mm.//
M1174 //chunk of the the Asian population stay.// Erm so yeah, so that became separate. Mm a separate sort of //organisation altogether,//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 with er paid presenters, paid members of staff, and they've got their own base and everything so the newspaper had to kind of cut away from that because we were voluntary, and
M608 Okay.
M1174 and they wanted to, you know, go their own way, //so obviously//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 again the the party split into two, so so that was provided like, you know, as an alternative to Radio Ramadhan. //I mean it comes on during Ramadan as well,//
M608 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1174 //the Radio Awaz.// But again er the Radio Awaz is more sort of erm cultural, //yeah,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 er rather than religious, //more traditional in its erm//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 sort of thoughts and programming and, etcetera, so there's more music,
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 more Bollywood music, //erm, you know,//
M608 //Oh okay.//
M1174 er film, Bollywood film music and Pakistani music and erm and on Fridays they have like a a slot erm where there's er sort of a religious content //er involved.//
M608 //Mmhm.// //Mmhm.//
M1174 //Mm.// So that one's more geared towards erm trying sort of recreate or er, you know, the the cultural, Pakistani and Indian cultural sort of traditions in //in people,//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 er and provide a a service for them, er whereas obviously Radio Ramadhan was com- was on a //completely different scale, yeah.//
M608 //was very much religious, mm// that's that's interesting Does that mean, do-, has it survived, I I //yes, it's still, and it's thriving?//
M1174 //Yes, it's still going, yeah, I think erm// two years ago we were given, well the the Radio Awaz was given a licence to broadcast for the next five years.
M608 Okay. //Right.//
M1174 //So,// in three years' time they'll have to reapply for another five-year licence which I don't think they'll ge-, they'll have a problem in getting, so basically Radio Awaz is here to stay.
M608 Uh-huh yeah, yeah. That that's good, but so that gives Radio Ramadhan competition during the month of
M1174 Not really. //No, erm because we're//
M608 //No?//
M1174 we're on a completely different scale and we're catering for a completely different community,
M608 Oh okay.
M1174 whereas erm m- more Indians would listen to Radio Awaz than they would to Radio Ramadhan, //for obvious reasons,//
M608 //Okay, yeah,// okay. //Yeah.//
M1174 //so// again it's a completely different er ball-game.
M608 Yeah.
M1174 Where, yeah, you know, so, we're, I suppose both are doing their their thing for the community, //and they're providing//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 different services, let's //say, for//
M608 //Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 you know, their own communities, er wh- which is fine, //you know?//
M608 //Mmhm yeah.// Do you see it developing further? Do you see the the newspaper side of it developing?
M1174 Erm, I think f- the the only restrictions we would have in the newspaper developing would be er manpower,
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 staffing a- and finance, //erm,//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 I mean the only sort of income that the paper receives is through advertisements
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 in the paper. Th- there's set prices if you want a full-page, half-page, etcetera, set prices for that, so that's really the only income we're getting.
M608 Mmhm.
M1174 And erm [tut] //prin- we're restricted by that, yeah.//
M608 //So you're restricted by the, by those constraints, mm.// //[?]Like most[/?].//
M1174 //Whereas I,// whereas I see the the radio station er there's potential there for it to er grow.
M608 Uh-huh, yeah. That's that's, and obviously with the kind of the mainstreaming success of Bollywood movies, presumably you have a cross-over listenership as well,
M1174 Yeah.
M608 to a certain extent, yeah?
M1174 Yeah, I mean obviously a- anyone, nowadays everyone's watching, you know, the big Bollywood blockbuster films and from the young kid to the, you know the //the the elder, so//
M608 //Mm right.//
M1174 er the Radio Awaz is really doing, you know, //its best, it's trying to cater//
M608 //Mm.//
M1174 for them, so, and i- if there's any sort of local musical events which are happening all the time, //for the Asian//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 community, you know, they're all //advertised so people know what's going on.//
M608 //Mmhm mmhm.//
M1174 And again er there's a, it's i-, it's in three different languages, //so it's in//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 English, Punjabi and Urdu.
M608 Mm, do you have local writers featured? Cause I know that there are l-, well I've heard that there are local writers who are writing in Urdu, particularly, who are published in Pakistan, but only kind of filtered back to Scotland through translation which happens in London.
M1174 No. //No.//
M608 //No, so, no, [inaudible].// it's a kind of, it's a kind of inter-, I hear about this but I don't know many details, //and I just just wondered if//
M1174 //Uh-huh.//
M608 [laugh] if there's a kind of community out there which I'm just not aware of.
M1174 The fo-, this //for the paper, you mean?//
M608 //The writer.// Erm, no, for the radio or for the paper, yeah.
M1174 Well, for the radio we have er the the sketches, sort of like a sketch, a sketch show for for Radio Awaz, where erm er, you know, there's er programmes that are available in say Pakistan, //Pakistani radio, back home in Pakistan,//
M608 //Uh-huh mm.//
M1174 er, or or even India. //and then they're, yeah, so they're imported over,//
M608 //Ah so you you import sketches, ah okay.//
M1174 erm and then they're played
M608 Uh-huh. //Do you have any kind of//
M1174 //Yeah.//
M608 attempt to involve local writers in in home-produced sketches, or
M1174 Well there's very f- there's very few, //er,//
M608 //Yeah.//
M1174 er going around, //unfortunately, that's that's the thing.//
M608 //Yeah, yeah.//
M1174 Erm,
M608 I just wondered whether there's a role for fostering that kind of activity or not?
M1174 I think that's that's where it it could possibly grow.
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 I mean I know er of of two other presenters, also present on the BBC Scotland Asian, th-, you know, their Asian //stati-, er Asian slot,//
M608 //Yeah.// //Uh-huh.//
M1174 //which I think on a Sunday,// er Sunday afternoon, [cough] excuse me, so, you know, you know they are, these are qualified
M608 Uh-huh.
M1174 er you know, professional presenters, //who are//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 working //erm,//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 you know, who have studied journalism or media studies //or whatever//
M608 //Mmhm.//
M1174 it happens to be, and they are now using the radio to kind of pursue their careers.
M608 Mmhm. Yeah. That's great.

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Information about Document 1656

Interview 20: Media for the Muslim community in Scotland


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
General public
For gender Mixed
Audience size 1

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2007
Recording person id 608
Size (min) 38
Size (mb) 183

Audio setting

Recording venue Academic's office
Geographic location of speech Glasgow

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Not previously acquainted
Speakers knew each other N/A

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 718
Year of transcription 2007
Year material recorded 2007
Word count 8146

Audio type



Participant details

Participant id 608
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation University Professor
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Bridge of Weir
Region of residence Renfrew
Residence CSD dialect area Renfr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Insurance Broker
Father's place of birth Auchinleck
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Dental Receptionist
Mother's place of birth Ayr
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes In most everyday situations
Portuguese Yes No No Yes When trying to communicate with my in-laws
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes In domestic/activist circles; reading literature


Participant details

Participant id 1174
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1970
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Upbringing/religious beliefs Islam
Occupation Physiotherapist
Place of birth Manchester
Country of birth England
Place of residence Glasgow
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Hotel manager
Father's place of birth Rahim Khan
Father's country of birth Pakistan
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's place of birth Rahim Khan
Mother's country of birth Pakistan


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
Arabic Yes Yes No Yes When abroad, for religious purposes
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work, at home
German Yes Yes Yes Yes School level
Panjabi Yes No No Yes At work, home visits
Urdu Yes Yes Yes Yes At home, with parents, etc