Heat of the moment 

10 August 2011 tbs.pm/1275

When there’s a major event taking place, it’s natural that television viewers will want to seek out the most comprehensive coverage that’s currently available, therefore Sangat TV’s coverage of last night’s riots in the Birmingham area attracted a great deal of attention as a consequence.

The power of social networking (especially Twitter) ensured that this hitherto little-known TV channel was suddenly thrust in the spotlight, and although its riot coverage was distinctly amateur (shaky camerawork, dodgy sound, occasionally awkward questioning by the interviewer), it was right there at the heart of the action.

And that’s all that really counts nowadays.

Sangat TV must have a really difficult job on its hands, especially given all the perceived cultural differences between different local communities and a history of racial tension in the area that might complicate things even further.

Major broadcasters like the BBC and Sky have much larger news operations covering several locations simultaneously, and they certainly have to stick closely to regulations governing news coverage and impartiality, not to mention adhering to corporate (and legal) health and safety restrictions.

By contrast, Sangat TV has close ties with local communities within Birmingham and the desire to remain relevant to them might cause a few problems, especially if it’s perceived locally during the riots that the police were singularly incapable of protecting them from trouble, eg. encouraging people to get out onto the streets to protect their property.

(Something you would never hear on BBC or Sky News.)

Of course all of this might cause Ofcom to investigate Sangat TV’s output to see if they have broken specific broadcasting regulations, although the usually small size of Sangat’s audience might mean that any sanctions imposed (if found guilty) are likely to be relatively minor ones and may also be forgivable under the extreme circumstances.

Amazingly Sangat TV is run by only two people, and is essentially a part-time operation funded as a community venture by the Sangat Trust as well carrying some paid advertising; it’s unlikely that they will be able to profit that much from this new-found attention because the station is so narrowly focused on catering for its local communities.

Perhaps coincidentally, plans for a network of local television stations in the UK were also unveiled earlier on that same day by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. but I suspect that the majority of these stations will adopt a safe ‘corporate’ approach to news reporting as opposed to really getting to know their local community as intimately as Sangat TV.

Sangat TV is available on Sky channel 847 and there’s online streaming via this temporary site (showing no activity at the time of writing) as well as the channel’s own website which was perhaps unsurprisingly overloaded during the riots.

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2 responses to this article

Simon Wood 12 August 2011 at 12:11 am

There is absolutely no need to subscribe to BSkyB or to use a proprietary BSkyB receiver to watch Sangat TV, as some might incorrectly infer from the above promotion of the BSkyb EPG.

Sangat TV is broadcast Free To Air from Eutelsat Eurobird 1 at 28.5° East on transponder F2L on a frequency of 12.523 GHz with vertical polarizaion,

symbol rate 27 500, FEC 2/3, service ID 9536, video pid 2330, and audio pid 2331, and can be received on any DVB-s MPEG-2 satellite receiver.

Russ J Graham 12 August 2011 at 10:41 am

I hardly think a single mention of BSkyB when talking about how to watch a channel that is available on that platform counts as “promotion” of BSkyB.

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