Stars protest planned closure of BBC network

LONDON: Jay Sean, Shilpa Shetty and Amir Khan were among a host of stars who today urged the BBC to drop plans to close the Asian Network radio station.

Hip-hop artist Sean, Bollywood actress Shetty and world light welterweight boxing champion Khan said a key outlet for South Asian talent would be “tragically lost” if the station closed down. They were among 158 public figures who made the plea in a joint letter to The Guardian newspaper. “We are writing to express our profound shock at the BBC director general Mark Thompson’s proposals to close down the BBC Asian Network as a national station,” the signatories said. “The Asian Network is a national platform for musicians, Asian culture in general, news, debate and documentaries.

“It provides a key platform for the national Asian community, and offers an outlet to Asian talent, which is demonstrably underrepresented in the more mainstream BBC.

“We urge the BBC Trust to reconsider this proposal and stop the closure of a valued station,” the joint letter said.