Nasreen Rajabali 30-5-2010


Neila Butt
BBC Asian Network


Dear Ms Butt,

RE: Interview for Strengthening Families Strengthening Community (SFSC) programme on 20th of May 2010

Following our conversation after my radio interview on the BBC Asian Network, I was promised by yourself, that you would contact me regarding the incident with Sonia Deol. As you are aware, my colleagues and I felt extremely insulted and disrespected by the way we were treated by a so called ‘professional.’

It has been two weeks and I am still waiting to be contacted. It seems that you do not care about how we were made to feel, and that you have no awareness of customer care.

The fact that we were invited to talk about the ‘Strengthening Families Strengthening Community (SFSC)’ programme that I run, would suggest that there would have been a clear format of how the interview should have been conducted. I was contacted by telephone prior to the interview by Devan Maistry, who kindly explained what would happen on the day and during the interview. He sent me a number of questions which were all related to the SFSC programme, and I was informed that this was done so that BBC can make sure that the guest invited knows what they will be asked, and hence what they will be talking about.

We all came well prepared for the Interview , and so I was rather shocked that when we got into the broadcasting room, Sonia asked her colleague, why we were there and what this was all about. Her colleague replied with no knowledge or the background understanding of SFSC programme, and proceeded to introduce me to Sonia as if I were some kind of ‘super nanny’ character.  I interjected their conversation, to tell them this was NOT the case, but Sonia paid no attention to what I had said, and quite frankly I was shocked to see the ignorance on their part.

We did not ask to be interviewed by BBC Asian Network, but we were INVITED to talk about a programme, that is making a positive difference in peoples lives , both personally and on a community level, and so the fact that we were not even able to finish our sentences before we were interrupted or cut off , was extremely frustrating.

We were not given time to settle into our seats, we were given no assistance with our headsets even though they continuously falling off our heads and we were not asked if we were ready or if we were ok! As the interview had begun, and Sonia asked her first set of questions , she pulled faces as we spoke , waving her hands on top her head or in front of her face hence making us feel very nervous as we did not understand what she wanted us to say. I am aware there may be some sort of ‘radio sign language’ but without clear explanation of what these mean, how are we expected to know.

It was apparent that Sonia Deol , had not taken any time to understand or even enquire about the SFSC programme prior to the interview with us,  nor did she give us enough time to even explain or talk about the programme in any way let alone in any detail during the interview. So my confusion extends to how she felt it within her rights to coin the SFSC programme ‘dull’ on National radio, as well as informing us that we were not there to promote the programme but to talk about parenting.

Having had the pleasure of being on the Ed Doolan show prior to this, our experience was entirely different. We felt welcomed and comfortable as the format for the interview was explained clearly to us. We were informed about the type of questions that will be asked and Ed Doolan was on the spot about asking these questions with no confusion at any point whilst we were answering them. The feedback from the show was amazing and the awareness of SFSC programme has been heightened, and we hope that people are able to benefit from this wonderful programme.

I expect a personal apology from Sonia Deol for her ignorance, clear lack of respect and for the way my colleagues and I were so rudely treated and spoken to. I have never been spoken to like this before in my 30 years of working with so many different people and organisations

I hope you will attend to this matter as soon as possible, and I look forward to hearing from you very soon.

Yours Faithfully,

Nasreen Rajabali



From: devan Maistry: 12 July 2010
To: vijay.sharma
Subject: Fw: BBC Asian Network: Sonia Deol 1100 May 26

I have been asked by Nasreen Rajabali to resend her letter of June 3 to you. She complained to Neila – at the office – about the manner in which she was interviewed on the Sonia Deol Show on May 26. She did not hear from Neila as promised and wrote to me asking for your e-mail addresses. She subsequently wrote to you and Neila on June 3, copying me in. It would be useful – and courteous – to let Nasreen know that we have received her complaint and are in the process of dealing with the matter.  If it is necessary to address her complaint elsewhere we should provide a contact name and address.


From: nasreen
To: ‘devan maistry’
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2010 11:12 AM
Subject: RE: BBC Asian Network: Sonia Deol 1100 May 26

Dear Devan
I have been waiting to hear from Neila Butt and Vijay Sharma now for about over 3 weeks. On the day of the interview I spoke to Neila in your presence and I was promised that I will hear from her regarding the issue. I have till today not heard from her.

Subsequently I emailed the 2 people mentioned above a letter but I have till today got no reply.

I am now writing to you to as you were my first point of call when this whole drama started. Could you  please make sure that the people above get my letter attached and also send me the name of the Director and a contact email to write to.

I hope you will as efficient as you were when you were trying to get us to come to the interview. I hope to hear from you soon.

Nasreen Rajabali