AN independent commercial Asian radio station is preparing a large scale consultation with 5,000 organisations over whether to scrap the word 'Asian'.

Sunrise Radio, based in Merrick Road, Southall, has been put under pressure from its listeners to identify the subjects of stories more precisely since the attacks in the USA on September 11.

The radio station's board was due to review its policy at a meeting on Monday but the meeting was postponed until February 15.

However, a decision has been taken to find out what the entire British Asian community thinks on the matter. Consultation documents will be sent out within the next two weeks.

Sunrise chief executive Dr Avtar Lit said: "We will contact every known South Asian group in Greater London, whether it be cultural, religious or business-related. People will also be able to participate in the consultation on the Sunrise website. This has become a national debate and it was kicked off by the listeners. The final decision will be theirs.

"People are looking for positive identifications. There is a huge Asian community in the UK served by a proper media and it is perhaps no longer good enough to lump all of us under the word 'Asian'. We expect to see a range of views and therefore find out if these activists who have called us are a minority or a majority."

Dr Lit, who was born in India but came to England at the age of 12, continued: "We don't intend to feed the extremists of any community. This is about nationality, not about religion. As far as I am concerned I am listening to the opinions of Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans. This is an issue of accuracy in reporting and I look at it from a journalistic point of view, and it is a chance for listeners to consider how they wish to be identified.

"This debate started after September 11 but it doesn't matter how it started, the debate is there and debate is good. I look forward to readers of Ealing Times expressing their views."

Dr Lit said he thought the consultation period would last around six to eight weeks.