Melon Farmers Original Version

Ofcom on Religion


ofcom keep religious extremism in check


 

On the wrong wavelength...

Ofcom sanctions religious channel for 'potentially harmful' beliefs


Link Here18th May 2020

Ofcom has today imposed a sanction on the licensee Loveworld Limited, which broadcasts the religious television channel Loveworld, after a news programme and a live sermon included potentially harmful claims about causes of, and treatments for, Covid-19.

Our investigation found that a report on Loveworld News included unsubstantiated claims that 5G was the cause of the pandemic, and that this was the subject of a global cover-up. Another report during the programme presented hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Covid-19, without acknowledging that its effectiveness and safety as a treatment was clinically unproven, or making clear that it has potentially serious side effects.

A sermon broadcast on Your Loveworld also included unsubstantiated claims linking the pandemic to 5G technology; as well as claims which cast serious doubt on the necessity for lockdown measures and the motives behind official health advice on Covid-19, including in relation to vaccination. These views were presented as facts without evidence or challenge.

Ofcom stresses that there is no prohibition on broadcasting controversial views which diverge from, or challenge, official authorities on public health information. However, given the unsubstantiated claims in both these programmes were not sufficiently put into context, they risked undermining viewers' trust in official health advice, with potentially serious consequences for public health.

Given these serious failings, we concluded that Loveworld Limited did not adequately protect viewers from the potentially harmful content in the news programme and the sermon, and the news reports were not duly accurate. We have directed Loveworld Limited to broadcast statements of our findings and are now considering whether to impose any further sanction.

 

 

Hateful religious TV...

Ofcom fines former broadcasters of Peace TV Urdu and Peace TV for hate speech


Link Here5th May 2020
Ofcom has fined the former licence holders of Peace TV Urdu £200,000 and Peace TV £100,000 for breaking our broadcasting rules.

Peace TV Urdu and Peace TV were international satellite television channels which broadcast religious programmes from an Islamic perspective.

Our investigations found that programmes broadcast on Peace TV Urdu and Peace TV contained hate speech and highly offensive content, which in one instance was likely to incite crime.

We concluded that the content represented serious failures of compliance with our broadcasting rules, which warranted fines. The former licence holders, Club TV and Lord Production, must now pay £200,000 and £100,000 respectively to HM Paymaster General.

After further breaches, Ofcom moved to suspend Peace TV Urdu's licence in November 2019, and both licences were surrendered.

 

 

Rest in Peace Peace TV...

Ofcom suspends broadcasting licence after repeated broadcast of religious material inciting murder


Link Here28th November 2019
Ofcom issued a draft notice to suspend the broadcasting licence of Club TV Limited, after its channel Peace TV Urdu repeatedly rebroadcast material that we had previously found incited murder.

Ofcom has a duty to suspend a broadcast licence if we are satisfied that the licensee has broadcast a programme likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime; that it has therefore contravened its licence conditions; and that the contravention justifies the revocation of the licence.

On 18 November 2019, having received Ofcom's draft suspension notice, Club TV surrendered its licence. Its sister company Lord Production Inc Limited, which held the licence to broadcast the English language Peace TV service, also surrendered its licence at the same time.

The Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu services are no longer broadcasting.

 

 

Strong words...

Ofcom to consider sanctions for a channel airing threatening language directed at a critic of the sikh faith


Link Here24th November 2019
Ofcom has rapped KTV, a channel broadcasting to UK Sikhs, for a show in March 2019, in which a viewer complained of material shown in the live discussion programme Panthak Masle .

Presented by Jagjit Singh Jeeta, it featured a panel of guest contributors, five of whom were spiritual and community leaders. The topic of discussion was Harnek Singh, also referred to in the programme as Neki, a Sikh radio presenter resident in New Zealand who has been raising questions on and criticising various aspects of the Sikh faith since 2013.

The viewer complained that the programme was likely to encourage or incite crime or violence. The complainant said that the programme tried to incite fear and terror towards Harnek Singh and included threats of violence directed towards him.

KTV said that during the live discussion, the presenter was shocked -- and didn't expect this sort of language from such religious people. It said that the host initially did not know how to react but maintained his professionalism and later did mention that these comments were not the views of KTV and that Ofcom would not appreciate them. KTV added that after the programme, the host was extremely upset as he felt he had been misled by the guests and was shocked that such religious members of the community would behave in such a way.

Ofcom considered the Licensee failed to provide sufficient and effective challenge or context to the extreme views presented within this programme. For all the reasons, Ofcom considered that the programme provided a platform for several guests to express views which amounted to indirect calls to action and were likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder. In Ofcom's view, this indicated a fundamental lack of understanding of the Licensee's compliance obligations under the Code.

Ofcom considered the breaches in this case to be extremely serious. Ofcom has put KTV on notice that it will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

 

Believe that you'll believe anything!...

Ofcom fines christian TV channel for promoting 'miracle spring water'


Link Here 16th October 2019

Ofcom has imposed a £25,000 fine on Greener Technology Ltd in relation to its service BEN TV for failing to comply with our broadcasting rules. It has also directed the licensee to not repeat the programme and to broadcast a summary of our findings on the channel.

On 28 January 2018, Ben TV broadcast Peter Popoff Ministries , a programme featuring footage from televangelist Peter Popoff's religious services. The programme contained frequent invitations for viewers to order free miracle spring water and a number of testimonies from individuals who claimed, or strongly implied, using the water had cured serious illnesses, including cancer.

As set out in Ofcom's Decision published on 3 December 2018 in issue 367 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom considered that the claims made in the programme had the potential to cause harm to members of the audience who may have been led to believe that the miracle spring water alone was sufficient to cure their health conditions and that it was unnecessary to rely on, or continue receiving, conventional medical treatment.

Ofcom concluded that Greener Technology Ltd did not take steps to provide adequate protection for such viewers and there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been improperly exploited by the programme. Ofcom also concluded that the programme promoted a product -- the miracle spring water in breach of the Broadcasting Code.

 

 

Wrongly guided...

The Islam Channel is set to be fined for broadcasting highly offensive antisemitic content


Link Here9th October 2019

The Rightly Guided Khalifas
Islam Channel, 11 November 2018, 23:00

Islam Channel is an Islamic-focused, English language satellite television channel broadcast in over 136 countries worldwide, including the UK. Its output includes religious instruction programmes, current affairs, documentaries and entertainment programmes, all from an Islamic perspective.

The Rightly Guided Khalifas1 is a religious education series on the history of the Qur'an, detailing its origins, its written compilation and the measures used to preserve its original wording.

During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified potentially antisemitic content during the programme. Eg

The graphic was shown at the same time as this narration. It appeared to be an on-screen graphic of a letter written in Arabic. Translated into English, it read: Israel, that was established on tyranny and oppression with its beliefs and sacred aspects, continues to practice its troublemaking and continues with its poisonous acts with its attempt to change the meaning of the Qur'an. It wants the obliteration of our beliefs and religion and in this way, it continues to practice what their forefathers had engaged in the past, particularly in their practice of changing the words in the past.6 Signed: Shaykh Al Azhar

We considered both the spoken content in Arabic about events in 1961 and the English subtitles of that narration raised issues under the following Code rules:

Rule 3.2: Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television206programmes...except where it is justified by the context.

Rule 3.3: Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television206services...except where it is justified by the context...

Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Such material may include, but is not limited to206discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of206race, religion or belief...).

Ofcom Decision: Breaches of Rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3

The broadcast of this potentially very harmful and highly offensive antisemitic content represents serious breaches of the Code.

We are putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

 

Peace sanctions...

Ofcom report several serious code breaches on the religious Peace TV channel for hate speech, abusive treatment and offence


Link Here22nd July 2019
  • Kitaab-ut-Tawheed, Part 59, Peace TV Urdu, 22 November 2017, 09:00
  • Strengthening Your Family: The Valley of the Homosexuals Episode 9, Peace TV, 1 1 March 2018, 11:30
  • Media and Islam, War or Peace?, Peace TV, 13 November 2017, 07:30 and 14:00
  • Better Half or Bitter Half, Peace TV, 13 November 2017, 18:30
  • Umdatul Akhaam, Part 162, Peace TV, 13 November 2017, 22:30

This Bulletin sets out Ofcom's Decisions on the five programmes above.

Peace TV Urdu's licence is held by Club TV Ltd. Peace TV's licence is held by Lord Production Inc Ltd. Both licensees are majority controlled by Universal Broadcasting Corporation Limited1.

Through monitoring, Ofcom identified content raising issues under the Code in four of these programmes. We received a complaint about the other programme.

In accordance with our published procedures, Ofcom watched all the programmes and took careful account of all the relevant information, including the individual facts of each case and the representations made by the licensees.

Ofcom has decided that four of the five programmes breached the Code, and one did not. The reasons are set out in full in each of the corresponding decisions which follow this summary. We have notified the relevant licensees that we will consider the breaches in two of the programmes, Kitaab-ut-Tawheed and Valley of the Homosexuals, for the imposition of statutory sanctions.

  • Kitaab-ut-Tawheed: A religious scholar gave a view on the practice of magic. The programme breached Rule 3.1 (incitement to crime), Rule 3.2 (hate speech), Rule 3.3 (abusive treatment) and Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Strengthening Your Family: The Valley of the Homosexuals. The presenter discussed a religious perspective on homosexuality. The programme breached Rules 3.2 (hate speech), Rule 3.3 (abusive treatment) and Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Media and Islam, War or Peace?: The presenter gave a religious view on the punishment for apostasy. The programme breached Rules 3.2 (hate speech), Rule 3.3 (abusive treatment) and Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Better Half or Bitter Half: The presenter gave a religious view on child marriage. The programme breached Rule 2.3 (offence).
     
  • Umdatul Akhaam, Part 162: The presenter discussed specific religious texts on prescribed punishments. We did not consider this programme was in breach of our rules.

 

 

Religious hatred...

Channel 44 fined 75,000 by Ofcom for hate speech directed at Ahmadiyya muslims


Link Here16th April 2019

Ofcom has imposed a £75,000 fine on City News Network for failing to provide adequate protection for viewers.

The service Channel 44 -- an Urdu-language news and current affairs channel -- broadcast hate speech and material containing abusive treatment of the Ahmadiyya community.

Under the Broadcasting Code, licensees must not broadcast material which contains uncontextualised hate speech and abusive treatment of groups, religions or communities.

After an investigation, Ofcom concluded that the serious nature of the breaches of the Broadcasting Code warranted the imposition of statutory sanctions. These include a financial penalty and a direction to the broadcaster to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

The fine of £75,000 will be paid by City News Network to HM Paymaster General.

 

 

No licence to hate...

Ofcom refuses to license Aufat TV citing association with hate speech articles in a Pakistani newspaper


Link Here6th September 2018

Following an investigation, Ofcom has revoked the broadcast licence held by Ausaf UK Limited for Ausaf TV, a channel which was intended to serve the Pakistani community in the UK, but had not started broadcasting at the time of Ofcom's decision.

In line with our ongoing duty under the Broadcasting Act 1990, Ofcom opened an investigation into the licensee about whether those in control were 'fit and proper' to hold the licence.

After carefully considering all available evidence, including oral representations made by the licensee, our investigation concluded that:

  • the individual in control of Ausaf UK Limited had close links to the Pakistan and UK editions of the Daily Ausaf newspaper, in which articles were published which we considered amounted to hate speech and incitement to crime/terrorist actions;

  • the licensee provided misleading or false information about the links between the Daily Ausaf and Ausaf UK Limited during the course of our investigation; and

  • there is a material risk that the licensee could breach our broadcasting rules; for example, by airing similar content to that published in the Daily Ausaf on Ausaf TV, which would be harmful to viewers if the licensee were permitted to broadcast; and

  • this brings into question public confidence in the regulatory activity if Ofcom were to remain satisfied that the licensee was fit and proper to broadcast.

In light of these serious findings, we are no longer satisfied that that those in control of Ausaf UK Limited are fit and proper to hold a broadcast licence. We have therefore revoked the licence.

The channel had not started broadcasting, and it will now be prevented from doing so.

 

 

A mixed bag...

A summary of the weeks complaints to Ofcom


Link Here17th July 2018
Ofcom have presented some long discussions when censuring several broadcasters. Here is just the most brief summary of each

 

The Healing School
Loveworld Television Network, 10 November 2017, 06:30 and 10:00

Loveworld Television Network is a religious channel. During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified two episodes of the series The Healing School. These programmes outlined the experiences of several people who had attended events at The Healing School, which, according to its website1, is a healing ministry of Rev. Chris Oyakhilome (Ph.D) which takes divine healing to the nations.

Ofcom have little faith in faith healers and censured the channel for not suggesting that the people would be better advised to consult a doctor rather than a faith healer:

In its representations the Licensee stated that faith based healing/miracles is a fundamental principle of the Bible which many practising Christians of various denominations believe in and the Bible is not classified as an offensive or harmful material therefore the practice or expression of faith as taught by Jesus Christ who Himself performed many miracles and healings as taught by the Bible in our view is not harmful or offensive. It is not Ofcom's role to question viewers' religious beliefs, nor caution against any particular religious teaching. However, all broadcasters are subject to the Code, regardless of their religious stance. Ofcom's duty is to ensure all members of the public watching television (whether people of faith or not) are provided with adequate protection from potentially harmful material. The nature of faith and the right to freedom of religion does not mean that religious broadcasters are at liberty to broadcast content that poses a potential risk to viewers, especially viewers who are potentially vulnerable (for example, because of their own health or medical circumstances), without adequate protection.

Our guidance suggests that one approach commonly used by broadcasters with a view to protecting audiences against potentially harmful material is to include a warning, for example advising viewers or listeners to consult a qualified medical practitioner before making decisions based on the programme. No such warning or advice appeared in these programmes.

The Alex Salmond Show
RT, 16 November 2017, 07:30

The Alex Salmond Show is a political and current affairs series hosted by the former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond and produced by his own production company.

Ofcom received a complaint about the first episode of the new series alleging that the programme invented tweets presented as real from viewers of the show to direct the debate on his views and terms. The complainant suggested that this enabled Alex Salmond to pretend that he was merely answering questions from concerned viewers about Brexit rather than trying to control the debate....

Ofcom decided that this was a fair cop and censured Salmond accordingly.

Bible ki Nabouat: The Prophecy of the Bible
Glory TV, 10 January 2018, 16:00

Glory TV is a religious, digital television channel serving Indian and Pakistani Christian communities in the UK. The licence for Glory TV is held by Glory TV Limited (Glory TV or the Licensee).

During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified the one-hour programme, Bible ki Nabouat 203 The Prophecy of the Bible. As the programme was broadcast mainly in Urdu, Ofcom translated the content into English.

In this programme, which was originally broadcast in 2014, two presenters interpreted the Biblical books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Matthew. They said:

The prophecy we are looking at today is based on a period of seven years. When will this period start and what will be the signs? That is what we will look at today. There are many who know that Lord Jesus will return, that there will be war, that there will be a need to call the 666 number of the devil, that we will have 1,000 years with Lord Jesus, that Iblis [meaning Satan] will be thrown into the fire. They know there will be a fake prophet. However, what will be the system or method?""

The presenters then proceeded to assert that the Israel/Palestine conflict fulfils the pre-requisites for the war of the prophecy. However in arguing that the conflict fit the bill, the presenters managed to offend the sensitive souls on both sides of the conflict.

While the comments in this programme were made through the prism of Biblical prophecy, in our view, they portrayed the Arab world and all Arab people as susceptible to the influence of the Antichrist. They also portrayed all Arab people as hating Jewish people to the extent that they would be prepared to persecute them. The comments also portrayed a negative future for Israel, in which the Antichrist would stand in the new Jewish Temple and in which Jewish people would suffer another holocaust. Ofcom recognised the primary audience for this channel is Indian and Pakistani Christian communities in the UK. However, in our view the discriminatory and potentially offensive nature of these comments was likely to have exceeded audience expectations. Further, the wider audience of British Muslim people, who share the same faith as many people in the Arab world was likely, in our view, to have been highly offended by the comments about and characterisation of the Arab world and people in this programme.

Jago Pakistan Jago
HUM Europe, 15 March 2018, 10:00

HUM Europe is a general entertainment channel that serves the Pakistani community in the UK, broadcasting in Urdu.

Ofcom received three complaints about racially offensive material.

We identified a section of the programme where make-up artists taking part in a competition were set the task of applying make-up to models live on the programme. The first part of the task required the contestants to make the models’ skin tone appear darker.

Ofcom considered that specific terms used to refer to the darker skin tone had the potential to offend. These included three uses of the word negro: This stick is called Negro; make sure that you use the Negro skin tone; and it gave him a real Makrani [black] colour or Negro skin tone -- whatever you call it.

Ofcom were offended by the word 'negro' and noted:

We acknowledged that in the first two instances in this broadcast, the word was likely to be the manufacturer's name for the particular shade of make-up being used. However, this was not obviously the case in the third instance.

Ofcom censured the channel accordingly but it rather sounds that the offending word is a practical term used in the make up industry.

Free Jaggi Now
KTV, 6 January 2018, 21:30

KTV is a religious and cultural channel aimed at the Sikh community in the UK and Europe, broadcasting in Punjabi and English.

Free Jaggi Now was a current affairs programme covering the arrest of Jagtar Singh Johal (“Jaggi”)1, a UK citizen arrested in India on 4 November 2017, and detained in the State of Punjab.

We received a complaint that the programme included statements promoting “separatism” in India.

This 55-minute programme focussed on support for the ‘Free Jaggi now’ campaign. It included a discussion about the alleged torture of Jaggi by India’s National Intelligence Agency (“NIA”) during his interrogation and detention, the alleged restriction on Jaggi receiving consular assistance and an independent medical report following allegation of torture, and allegations about corruption in the Indian judiciary.

The long winded censure by Ofcom revolved around a lack of balance in the programme.

We took into account that the programmes broadcast on KTV were mostly of interest to the Sikh community in UK. Ofcom also acknowledged that the target audience for this programme consisted of members of the UK South Asian community, who may have already been aware of Jaggi's arrest and detention in India. However, we considered that these contextual factors did not mitigate the need to ensure that due impartiality was preserved in the absence of sufficient alternative viewpoints and/or challenge to the critical views expressed about the policies and actions of the Indian authorities.

 

 

Trending...

Ofcom adds to its long list of religious broadcasters censured for hateful content


Link Here20th March 2018

Phone-in programme
Radio Ikhlas, 7 September 2017, 15:50

Radio Ikhlas is a community radio station serving the Asian (primarily Pakistani) community and other smaller ethnic communities in the Normanton area of Derby.

Ofcom received a complaint that the above programme included statements that constituted hatred against the Ahmadiyya community. The Ahmadi movement identifies itself as a Muslim movement, which follows the teachings of the Qur'an. However, it is regarded as heretical by orthodox Islam since they differ on the interpretation of the finality of prophethood. There are Ahmadiyya communities around the world. They face restrictions in many Muslim countries and are described in publicly available reports as one of the persecuted communities in Pakistan. There have been reports of discrimination and threats against the community in the UK.

With a long and in-depth explanation, Ofcom took the view that the broadcast contained material which amounted to abusive or derogatory treatment of the Ahmadiyya community and their religious beliefs. Ofcom added:

We consider these breaches are very serious and we are putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Content relating to Burhan Wani
Prime TV, 6 July 2017, 18:34 onwards

Prime TV is a general entertainment satellite channel aimed at the Pakistani community in the UK and Europe.

Ofcom received a complaint that, during a broadcast of a current affairs programme, a social media campaign was repeatedly promoted to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the Hizbul Mujahideen1 military leader Burhan Wani. The complainant expressed concern that the campaign was supporting a terrorist leader and encouraging terrorism in Indian administered Kashmir.

Ofcom again found the broadcaster to be in breach of Ofcom rules but this wasn't considered a breach that would be taken any further. Ofcom said:

Ofcom understands that while some members of the Kashmiri community may revere Burhan Wani, and the terrorist organisation he led, this view is far from universal. Therefore, the fact that some viewers may have perceived Burhan Wani to be a martyr or that the anniversary of his death was being promoted on various Pakistani media outlets, did not, in our view, justify Express TV broadcasting this content without challenge or other context. Similarly, the fact that this content was not the Licensee's own production or the fact that Express TV considered there was no clarity so far on the UK Government's view on Burhan Wani did not justify the broadcast of the content in this case. Hizbul Mujahideen, the group of which Burhan Wani was a member, has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the EU, India and the US. Therefore, we considered the Licensee could, and should, have been aware of Burhan Wani's controversial status both within Kashmir and outside. Ofcom is concerned that Express TV broadcast content expressing such strong, unchallenged support for, and glorification of, Burhan Wani and his violent actions as leader of a group which has been designated a terrorist organisation in various countries. This support was capable, in our view, of causing considerable offence.

 

 

No honour in hate...

Ofcom fines Radio Dawn for hateful broadcasting


Link Here28th February 2018
Radio Dawn is a community radio station broadcasting to the Muslim community in Nottingham.

On 26 December 2016 at 16:00, the Licensee broadcast a series of three Nasheeds. Two of these Nasheeds raised no issues under the Code.

The third Nasheed was in Urdu and recited by a young boy. It was approximately 17 minutes in duration. It began by glorifying the victories on the battlefield of figures from Islamic history. It then went on to suggest that similar violent acts committed against non-Muslim people would bring honour to Islam.

Further, the Nasheed included a number of pejorative references to non-Muslim people. In particular, non-Muslim people were repeatedly referred to as Kufaar (the Arabic word for disbeliever) and on one occasion, Kaafir I Murdaar (meaning filthy disbeliever in Urdu).

In Ofcom's decision, published on 7 August 2017 in issue 334 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom's Executive found that the Nasheed constituted hate speech and breached Rules 2.3, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 of the Code.

Ofcom put the Licensee on notice in the Breach Decision that it considered these breaches to be serious, and that it would consider them for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Ofcom considered whether the Code breaches were serious, deliberate, repeated or reckless so as to warrant the imposition of a sanction on the Licensee in this case. It reached a decision that a sanction was merited in this case since the breach was serious for the reasons set out in the Decision.

Ofcom's Decision is that the appropriate sanction should be a financial penalty of £2,000. Ofcom also considers that the Licensee should be directed to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings, on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

Update: Strong Words...

Ofcom fine Kanshi Radio over Sikh song with lyrics derogatory to other religions


Link Here18th August 2017
Pinky Pinky
Kanshi Radio Limited, 30 June 2016, 01:59 and 1 September 2016, 00:05

Kanshi Radio is a satellite radio station providing speech and music programmes for the Asian community in the UK.

This sanction was in relation to the broadcast of a song, Pinky Pinky, which was in Punjabi and lasted approximately 11 minutes. The song contained highly offensive language and aggressively pejorative references to the Muslim community, and Muslim women in particular. It also contained well known sacred Islamic phrases, interspersed with offensive terms, gunshots and sexualised noises.

Ofcom found that the programme breached Rules:

  • Rule 2.1: “Generally accepted standards must be applied to the content of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/ or offensive material.”
  • Rule 2.3: “In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (…). Such material may include, but is not limited to offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.”
  • Rule 3.2: Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.
  • Rule 3.3: Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television and radio services except where it is justified by the context.

Ofcom published its decision on these breaches on 5 December 2016 in issue 318 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin. Ofcom gave examples from the sonly lyrics eg:

Your sister's cunt, Oi, your sister's cunt, let me fuck your mother's cunt. Let me fuck your sister, come over here and let me give you some Sikh cock. Allahu Akbar motherfucker.

In Ofcom's view the breaches were serious and we therefore considered the imposition of a statutory sanction in this case.

In accordance with Ofcom's penalty guidelines, Ofcom decided that it was appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances to impose a financial penalty of £17,500 on the Licensee

 

 

Update: Bad Iman...

Ofcom closes Iman FM for condoning, promoting and encouraging violent behaviour towards non-Muslim people


Link Here10th August 2017

Notice of Licence Revocation
Iman Media UK Limited

Iman FM is a community radio station broadcasting to the Muslim community in Sheffield and the surrounding areas. The licence for this service is held by Iman Media UK Limited.

This revocation concerns the broadcast of a number of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki throughout the holy month of Ramadan. In breach decisions published on 5 July 2017 and 27 July 20174, Ofcom found that the broadcast of the lectures breached a number of rules including Rule 3.1 of the Code:

Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

Ofcom considered the breaches of Rule 3.1 to be extremely serious.  Ofcom wrote in the Complaints Bulletin:

In  Ofcom's view the cumulative effect was to condone, promote and encourage violent behaviour towards non-Muslim people. Further, the lectures appeared to link violent acts of the past with actions that might potentially be taken today. Ofcom took the view that the content therefore amounted to a call to action which was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder.

It is also our view the material amounted to hate speech, as it was both abusive and derogatory towards non-Muslim people, and in particular, Jewish people. In our view, this content had clear potential to be highly offensive

Under section 111B of the Broadcasting Act 1990, in certain circumstances Ofcom may suspend a licence if the licence holder has broadcast material likely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime or lead to disorder. After considering the Licensee’s representations, Ofcom may then revoke the licence if it is satisfied it is necessary in the public interest to do so.

Ofcom served a suspension notice on the Licensee on 4 July 2017.

In Ofcom’s view the contraventions of the Code and the Licensee’s compliance failures were so extremely serious, and the Licensee’s conduct was so extremely reckless, that we had no confidence that the Licensee would be capable of complying with its licence conditions or that similar breaches would be prevented in the future. On this basis, in Ofcom’s view it was necessary in the public interest to revoke the licence and proportionate to decide that these breaches and failures justified the revocation.

Ofcom also considered that the Licensee’s failures rendered it unfit to hold a broadcast licence.

 

 

Update: Fighting terrorism...

Ofcom imposes large fine for Afghanistan channel that glorified terrorism


Link Here7th July 2017
On 20 July 2016, Ariana International broadcast a news item which featured a video produced by an individual, Muhammad Riyad, before he carried out a terrorist attack on a train in Germany where he injured five people. Ofcom wrote:

Ariana International is a general entertainment channel originating from Afghanistan, and broadcast by satellite in the UK.

On 20 July 2016, the Licensee broadcast a news item which featured a video produced by an individual, Muhammad Riyad, before he carried out an attack on a train in Germany where he injured five people.

In the video, Muhammad Riyad stated that he was a "Mujahid [holy warrior] of Islamic State". He also stated his and ISIL's intentions to carry out acts of extreme violence against members of the public and his words could be interpreted as being a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to join ISIL and to commit violence, up to, and including murder, against members of the police and the army in the West.

The news item made clear that "Daish" have now accepted that this young man [i.e. Mr Riyad] was one of their followers". In addition, it has bee n widely reported that several individuals, such as Muhammad Riyad, have been inspired to carry out acts of violence in the name of ISIL.

Ofcom's Executive found that material in the Ariana News programme breached Rules 2.3, 3.1 and 3.2 of the Code.

Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

Rule 3.2: Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.

Ofcom's Decision is that the appropriate sanction should be a financial penalty of £200,000. Ofcom also considers that the Licensee should be directed to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings, on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

Update: Ofcom Teachings...

Ofcom fines Noor TV 75,000 for a religious parable about killing jews


Link Here26th December 2016
Noor TV is a digital satellite television channel broadcasting religious and other programming in Urdu from an Islamic perspective to audiences in the UK and internationally.

On 17 November 2015, the Licensee broadcast the second instalment of a series of four programmes which had been recorded at the Urs Nehrian festival in Pakistan that had taken place in June 2015. The programme consisted of 15 religious scholars and preachers addressing an assembled congregation with short sermons, homilies and poetic verses.

One of the speakers, Allama Mufti Muhammad Saeed Sialvi Sahib (“Allama Sialvi”), recounted a parable in which he stated that the Prophet Muhammed had given a general command to kill all Jewish people. He stated that upon hearing this command one Muslim follower had immediately killed a Jewish trader with whom he had long standing business relations. Allama Sialvi held this to be an example of the devotion and obedience of a disciple to the Prophet Muhammed and on several occasions appeared to condone the killing of a Jewish trader.

We noted that Allama Sialvi held the titles “Mufti” and “Allama”, denoting that he was a figure of religious authority within the Muslim community, and therefore someone whose views would carry some weight within the Muslim community.

We considered that Allama Sialvi's clear statement that religious obedience within the Islamic faith could be demonstrated through murder of Jewish people had the potential to be interpreted as spreading anti-Semitism, i.e. his comments could amount to a form of hate speech . In this context we were mindful of the Council of Europe's definition of' hate speech', as follows: all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin

We considered that Allama Sialvi's speech, particularly due to his standing and authority within the Muslim community, involved clear potential to cause significant offence as it held up in unequivocal terms the killing of a Jewish person as an example of devotion and obedience within the context of the Islamic faith. We also considered that the content had the potential to cause harm by portraying the murder of Jewish people in highly positive terms and promoting a highly negative anti-Semitic attitude towards Jewish people.

Ofcom's Decision is that an appropriate and proportionate sanction would be a financial penalty of £75,000. In addition, Ofcom considers that the Licensee should broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings in this case, on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

Serious offence...

Ofcom considers sanctions for Afghanistan news channel that aired German train terrorist's threatening hate speech without challenge or censure


Link Here20th December 2016

Ariana News
Ariana International, 20 July 2016, 12:00I

Ariana International is a general entertainment channel originating from Afghanistan, and broadcast by satellite in the UK.

Ofcom noted a news item relating to Muhammad Riyad, a 17-year old, who was described as said to be an Afghan . He had injured five people when he attacked a train, armed with a knife and axe, in Wuerzburg, Germany in July 2016.

A video was then broadcast which showed Muhammad Riyad talking straight to camera and at times brandishing a knife. The video lasted approximately two minutes and 15 seconds, and Muhammad Riyad said the following:

...Inshallah Mujahids from Islamic State will reach you everywhere. Inshallah you will be slaughtered in your homes. Inshallah they will enter your homes, enter your land, and on the streets. Inshallah you will not be safe in your homes, your villages, your towns and inshallah, and in every street in every airport inshallah. The Islamic State has enough strength to get you everywhere, even in your parliament [vigorously waving knife at camera]. I am living here amongst you and inshallah I have made a plan to deal with you here in your homes inshallah. I tell you, that I will slaughter you in your homes. I promise you that I will make you forget about France...

The news show made no further comments after the speech and moved on to the next item

Ofcom considered the following rules:

  • Rule 2.3: “In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...”.

  • Rule 3.1: “Material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services”.

  • Rule 3.2: “Material which contains hate speech14 must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context”.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rules 2.3, 3.1, 3.2

Ofcom considered the audience would have interpreted Muhammad Riyad's various comments as promoting and justifying hatred and violence towards the persons who did not conform to his definition of Islam. In Ofcom's view, this was a clear example of hate speech, as defined by the Code.

Given the very strong nature of the material in this case, we considered that, under the Code, there would need to be extremely clear and strong context provided to justify the broadcast of the video featuring Muhammad Riyad. Our Decision was that that there was clearly insufficient context to justify the inclusion of hate speech in this broadcast, and Rule 3.2 was therefore breached.

Breaches of Section Three of the Code, in particular, are very serious because they involve the potential for serious harm. Ofcom considered all of the breaches in this case to be very serious.

Due to the highly challenging and potentially harmful nature of the content broadcast, we are putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these very serious breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Breaches of Rules 2.3, 3.1 and 3.2

 

 

Update: Anything but peace...

Ofcom fines islamic TV channel for bad mouthing jews


Link Here12th November 2016
  Britain's TV censor, Ofcom, has fined Peace TV Urdu £65,000 for discriminatory remarks about the jewish community.

Peace TV Urdu is part of  Zakir Naik's Peace TV group based in India. The group is currently under Indian government scrutiny and the process has been initiated to declare them terrorist entities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The channel is also banned in Bangladesh after the Dhaka Terror Attack on advice of the internal security agencies.

Ofcom found the broadcast of the public lectures by an Islamic scholar highly critical and potentially offensive to the Jewish people. This was broadcast on September 12 and 13 on Peace TV Urdu.

Ofcom highlighted a number of discriminatory remarks made about the Jewish people as an ethnic group in the lectures delivered by Islamic scholar Israr Ahmed who died in April 2010. The role and actions of the Jewish people through history from c.1500 to the present day were examined in the lectures that had comments like this cursed people, this cursed race , found to be offensive under Ofcom's rules.

Ofcom observes that the breach of the code was serious as the content included numerous examples of overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical references to Jewish people which, in its view, were a form of hate speech.  The sanctions document notes:

Ofcom was concerned that the highly critical and negative statements made about Jewish people , uninterrupted by an individual likely to be held in high status by the viewers of Peace TV Urdu had the clear potential to cause harm by portraying Jewish people in highly negative terms.

Peace TV expressed its sincere regret and acknowledged that the programme should not have been broadcast.

 

 

Update: Omnipresent Ofcom...

TV censor warns religious broadcasters that it is watching over them


Link Here9th May 2014
Ofcom announced in its latest complaints bulletin that it would be keeping a beady eye on religious broadcasters:

Targeted monitoring exercise: religious programming

Recent sanctions and investigations by Ofcom into religious programming have highlighted concerns around the compliance of religious content with the Broadcasting Code.

Ofcom therefore formally notifies broadcasters that we are conducting a targeted monitoring exercise of television services which broadcast religious programmes.

Broadcasters are put on notice that any serious or repeated failings in this area will result in Ofcom taking further regulatory action, for example, the consideration of the imposition of statutory sanctions.

 

 

Update: Less than the Fines for Being Too Sexy Though...

Ofcom Fines Noor TV and Takbeer TV for inciting violence


Link Here 24th August 2013

Noor TV

Al Ehya Digital Television Ltd in respect of its service Noor TV has been fined £85,000 for inciting violence.

The programme Paigham-e-Mustafa was found to be in breach of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code rules:

  • Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.
  • Rule 4.1: Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes.

Noor TV is a digital satellite television channel that broadcasts programmes about Islam in a number of languages, including English, Urdu and Punjabi. It can be received in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The Finding related to the programme Paigham-e-Mustafa, broadcast on 3 May 2012. The programme featured a presenter, Allama Muhammad Farooq Nizami who answered questions about a wide range of issues and personal conduct relating to Islam and Islamic teachings.

At approximately one hour and 18 minutes into the programme Nizami answered a question from a caller, who was identified as brother Yasir Hanif who asked: What is the punishment for the individual who shows disrespect for Prophet Muhammad? Nizami responded:

There is no disagreement about this [the punishment]; there is absolutely no doubt about it that the punishment for the person who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death. No one [among the Islamic scholars] disagrees about this. No one disagrees about this. The Koran, hadeeth [orally transmitted quotes of Muhammad], the actions of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, all testify to this [punishment] and there is no room for doubt in it. Whoever shows disrespect for Prophet Muhammad will be given death penalty. The procedure for carrying out the death penalty is that if there is an Islamic government operating in a country, then the Islamic government will carry out the implementation of this punishment to the one who shows disrespect for the Prophet. However, if there are no Islamic laws [implemented], if Islamic Law is not being abided by, if the Islamic Law is being shredded and is in tatters, and this environment prevails in Pakistan, then [drops the sentence]. You saw a few months ago, a man specifically said that the Islamic law which was especially designed to protect the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad, whom Allah praises and protects, was a black law. By saying so, he slighted the law and committed insolence against Prophet Muhammad. Then what happened? You saw what happened. The man who did it [killed the Governor] is Mumtaz Hussein. He is a Ghazi and we can absolutely not say that his act was a wrong act [because] the Koran and hadeeth [orally transmitted traditions], testify that the punishment of the one who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death.

Ofcom considered the breach of Rule 3.1 in this case was particularly serious given the wide audience reach of the channel and the fact that the statements were delivered to a Muslim audience, in a religious programme, by a presenter who was held out to be an expert on Islamic teaching; a person who holds a position of authority and respect within the Muslim community, speaking direct to camera. Taken together, these factors would have given the comments extra weight. The seriousness of the breaches was further compounded by the fact that the Programme made no condemnation of any killing or violent action by individuals in response to a perceived insult to, or perceived blasphemy against, Mohammed.

The potential for these comments to be acted upon is demonstrated by evidence of a number of very serious threats and attacks having been made in Western countries against individuals or entities perceived as insulting or making pejorative remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered by Muhammad Bouyeri in 2004 following the condemnation of his film Submission by Islamic clerics, and in the same year Danish cartoonists received death threats following the publication of illustrations which included depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. In November 2011, there was a fire bomb attack on a magazine in Paris for publishing a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

Takbeer TV

Takbeer TV Ltd has been fined £25,000 for breaches of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code:

  • Rule 4.1: Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes.
  • Rule 4.2: The religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment.

Two programmes, both of which were broadcast in Urdu:

Global Khatm-E-Nabuwat Movement – Broadcast on 9 June 2012 at 22:00, this was a two and a quarter hour ‘phone-in’ programme in which a panel of four people answered telephone callers’ questions on issues of Islamic theology;

Ofcom noted that:

  • members of the Ahmadi community were described in words that amounted to abusive treatment of the Ahmadiyya religion and the Ahmadi community more generally. For example, they were described as having monstrous intentions and being both lying monsters and worthy of elimination by Allah, by using worms and vermin ;
  • one of the panellists and a caller made statements that were highly abusive to members of the Ahmadi community and their beliefs, by, for example, equating such beliefs to having piles and agreeing that Ahmadis require operating on ... without ... anaesthesia ; and
  • two callers made sustained, repeated and derogatory references to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, founder of the Ahmadiyya religion , stating, for example, that the whole world knows... Mirza died in a shit cubicle.

Khatm-E-Nabuwat – Broadcast on 3 July 2012 at 22:00, this was a two hour
programme that showed the proceedings of a symposium4 on Islamic themes held in  Luton.

Ofcom noted in particular that the presenter:

  • stated that Ahmadi holy books were: replete with filth ;
  • said the word 'Qadiani' is ... detestable ; and
  • described the Ahmadi religion as filth .

 

 

Update: Ofcom Fines Sangat TV 30K for inciting violence...

Compared with the previous Ofcom fine of 40K for advertising an adult website


Link Here 16th August 2013
Sangat TV is a general entertainment satellite broadcaster that broadcasts in English and Punjabi. It is based in Birmingham and broadcasts via the Eutelsat 28A, Sky UK satellite to the Sikh community. The licence for Sangat TV is held by Regis Ltd.

Ofcom had already found Sangat TV to be in breach of Ofcom rule 3.1 in finding published on 21 January 2013 in Broadcast Bulletin 2224. Rule 3.1 states:

Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

The Finding related to a programme about the attack on Lieutenant-General Brar, which was broadcast on 1 October 2012. This was broadcast almost entirely in Punjabi, was approximately half an hour in duration and comprised eight panellists, including a presenter, who discussed issues surrounding the attack. It had been reported that on a date shortly before the broadcast, while on a visit to London, Lieutenant-General Brar and his wife had been attacked in a central London street by four men. Despite suffering knife injuries, Lieutenant-General Brar survived the attack. In the Finding, Ofcom noted that, in relation to the attack, two men of Sikh origin had been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Ofcom found that the programme was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime. We considered that, cumulatively,  statements in the programme were an indirect call to action to members of the Sikh community to take violent action against Lieutenant-General Brar, other members of the Indian armed forces who had taken part in Operation Bluestar (the Indian Army's controversial military operation against the Golden Temple at Amritsar in June 1984)7 or those who supported this military operation.

Ofcom decided it was appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances to impose a financial penalty of £30,000 on the Licensee in respect of the breach of Rule 3.1. In addition, Ofcom decided it should issue a direction to the Licensee to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings, on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

Comment: Ofcom fines muslim channel 105K for inciting murder...

A little less than Playboy was fined for slightly too sexy babe channels


Link Here 7th July 2013

Ofcom has fined the muslim channel DM Digital £105,000 for 2 transgressions of Ofcom's programme code.

DM Digital is a television channel primarily aimed at an Asian audience in the UK, which features broadcasts in a number of languages including English, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi, Kashmiri and Hindi. The service is also received in the Middle East and parts of Asia. The licence for this channel is held by DM Digital Television Limited.

The first fine was £85,000 over the programme Rehmatul Lil Alameen broadcast on 9th October 2011 at 18:30.

The programme was in Urdu and was approximately one hour in duration, featured a presenter who introduced an Islamic Pir (a religious 'scholar') who delivered a live televised lecture about points of Islamic theology with reference to the shooting dead in early 2011 of the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer by his bodyguard Malik Mumtaz Qadri. Salmaan Taseer had been a vocal critic of Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Ofcom noted in particular the following remarks from Abdul Qadir Jilani's lecture:

Under the guidance from Islamic texts it is evident that if a Muslim apostatises, then it is not right to wait for the authorised courts; anyone may kill him . An apostate deserves to be killed and any man may kill him. For this, you do not need to contact the authorised courts. Because the prophet did not question Omar's act.

...if someone denies the existence of God, you may have a defensive war with them but if someone insults the Prophet, you should not be defensive but you should aggressively attack them. You should go to their homes and fight them there .

The man who has killed [Salmaan Taseer] has done an act of great love and proved his loyalty. It was his duty to do so. Some people say that he was supposed to guard [Salmaan Taseer] but a man's first duty is to protect his father and Abu Ubaydah killed his own father because the latter denied the apostolate of Prophet Mohammed….When Abu Ubaydah killed his father, Allah praised him because he had killed in the love of the Prophet Muhammed. Such an act does not fall into the category of terrorism .

I hail those who made this law [i.e. Pakistan's blasphemy law] which states that one who insults the Prophet deserves to be killed – such a person should be eliminated .

The programme was found to have breeched Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services .

Having regard to the serious nature of the Code breach, the Licensee's representations and the Ofcom Penalty Guidelines, Ofcom decided it was appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances to impose a financial penalty of £85,000 on the Licensee in respect of the breach of Rule 3.1.

The second transgression was by  the programme POAF Conference on DM Digital, 25th November 2011 at 19:00 and 4th December 2011 at 21:00. Ofcom found this programme fsimilarly in breach of their rules and imposed a financial penalty of £20,000

Comment: So why have there been no criminal charges?

A question reflecting other comments to Melon Farmers too.

7th July 2013.  See  article from  secularism.org.uk

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said:

Inciting murder is against the law. Why aren't the police knocking on Mr Jilani's door? Why is he not under arrest? Surely he cannot be allowed to get away with such blatant call to kill innocent people? Other people have been sent to prison for far less than this.

 

 

Update: Martyrs...

Ofcom warns the Sikh Channel about positive references to a leader of a banned terrorist organisation


Link Here6th March 2013

Sikh Channel Report
Sikh Channel, 18 October 2012, 21:40

The Sikh Channel is in the religious section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), and the channel is aimed at the Sikh community in the UK. The licence for the Sikh Channel is held by TV Legal.

This programme was a live transmission, broadcast in Punjabi, and consisted mainly of the performance of commemorative songs broadcast from a Gurdwara located in Coventry.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a lecture which was also included in the programme. According to the complainant, a speaker appeared in front of a poster which had the words Babbar Khalsa International ( BKI ) written on it, and talked effusively about the Sikh militant Talwinder Singh Babbar, the founder of the BKI, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK.

The speaker introduced his lecture as follows:

This programme has been arranged in the memory of the martyrs and what they did, and in particular I want to tell you about the martyr Brother Talwinder Singh Babbar.

During the lecture the speaker recounted moments from Talwinder Singh Babbar's life . For example, we noted that the speaker made the following statements:

The Sikhs who lived with [Talwinder Singh Babbar] tell that if you told him that there were 32 policemen with AK-47 rifles outside waiting to arrest him, the respected Brother [Talwinder Singh Babbar] was the sort of person who would go out to meet them; he wouldn't stop and sit there but say, Let's go and fight with them. He had so much courage! You can see when you look at his face that his forehead reflects glory. His face reflects divine illumination. These are pure martyr devoted Sikhs. They have the Sikh spiritual narration inside them and a trust in this spirit.

Ofcom considered that the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 2.3 of the Code:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

In this case, we noted that a programme contributor gave a lecture in which he made a number of statements that could be interpreted as being strongly positive, or being otherwise supportive of actions taken by, the leader of a terrorist organisation (the BKI), which is proscribed in the UK. Ofcom considered that these statements were not sufficiently contextualised to justify the potential offence caused by positive references to the leader of a proscribed terrorist organisation. The man who delivered the lecture spoke directly to camera and to the audience in the Gurdwara. Also, the lecture was delivered in front of a poster referring to the BKI and depicting the armed founder of that proscribed terrorist organisation. In Ofcom's opinion, these factors increased the impact of his words and so the potential for offence. At no point was the lecturer challenged to justify his unqualified praise for Tavinder Singh Parmar, by referring for example to the acts of terrorism with which he is alleged to have been involved. Also neither the Licensee nor the lecturer himself attempted to place his positive statements in praise of Tavinder Singh Parmar in some form of context by acknowledging, for example, the deaths for which Tavinder Singh Parmar is widely held responsible. For these reasons, Ofcom's view is that the offence caused by the lecturer's comments was not justified by the context.

Ofcom is putting TV Legal on notice that any future similar breaches are likely to result in Ofcom taking further regulatory action.

Breach of Rule 2.3

 

 

Update: More Serious Issues...

Ofcom put Takbeer TV on notice of sanctions for repeated abuse of the Ahmadi community


Link Here23rd January 2013

Global Khatm-E-Nabuwat Movement
Takbeer TV, 9 June 2012, 22:00
Khatm-E-Nabuwat
Takbeer TV, 3 July 2012, 22:00

Takbeer TV broadcasts religious and general entertainment content mainly in Urdu, directed towards the Sunni Muslim community, and is available on the Sky satellite platform.

Ofcom received a complaint about the following two programmes:

  • Global Khatm-E-Nabuwat Movement which was a two and a quarter hour phone-in programme, where a four-person panel answered telephone callers' questions on issues of Islamic theology. The complainant considered that the programme encouraged callers to make derogatory and extreme statements about the Ahmadi community
  • Khatm-E-Nabuwat which was a two hour programme that showed the proceedings of a symposium on Islamic themes held in Luton. The complainant considered that the programme contained statements that were derogatory about the founder of the Ahmadi movement, Mirza Ghulum Ahmad, and members of the Ahmadi community more generally.

Example

Caller: These Qadianis, you want to bring them to Islam, the disease [of not being a true believer in Islam] has gone deeper into them and you are treating their sickness; Allah will reward you for this. These are naïve people; they do not know what Mirza Ghulam Qadiani was.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 4.1: Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes.
  • Rule 4.2: The religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment.

Ofcom Decision; Breach of Rules 4.1 and 4.2

We considered that the broadcaster did not exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of these two religious programmes. The programmes were, therefore, in breach of Rule 4.1 of the Code.

We considered that both the programmes subjected members of the Ahmadi community and their beliefs to abusive treatment and therefore were in breach of Rule 4.2 of the Code.

In recording the breaches of Rule 4.2 in this Finding, we noted that this case followed earlier breaches of Rule 4.2 recorded on 18 June 2011 against the Licensee. These earlier breaches concerned five editions of the programme Tafheem Al Masyal, broadcast between October 2010 and March 2011, which also contained a number of derogatory and abusive references to the religious views and beliefs of the Ahmadi community.

We are greatly concerned that Takbeer TV has broadcast further programmes including content that constituted abusive treatment of the Ahmadi community, despite specific assurances given directly to Ofcom by the Licensee that it had improved its compliance processes to address Ofcom's concerns.

In light of these previous assurances and Code breaches, Ofcom regards the current breaches of Rules 4.1 and 4.2 of the Code as serious.

Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

 

Update: Serious Issues...

Ofcom considers sanctions against Sangat TV for panel discussion where participants congratulated knife attackers


Link Here22nd January 2013

Programme about the attack on Lieutenant-General Brar
Sangat TV, 1 October 2012, 19:40

Sangat TV broadcasts religious and general entertainment content in English and Punjabi, primarily directed towards the Sikh community in the UK, and is available on the Sky digital satellite platform.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a discussion programme on Sangat TV, stating that the programme was congratulating the attackers of Lieutenant-General Brar.

The discussion programme concerned an attack that had taken place on 30 September 2012 on Lieutenant-General Brar. It was reported that whilst on a visit to London Lieutenant-General Brar and his wife had been attacked in a central London street by four men. Despite suffering knife injuries, Lieutenant-General Brar survived the attack.

Lieutenant-General Brar had been the commander of the Indian armed forces who led Operation Bluestar, the Indian Army's controversial military operation against the Golden Temple at Amritsar in June 1984. The Golden Temple is highly revered as a sacred site by the Sikh community, and Operation Bluestar was aimed at removing a number of Sikhs, who were arguing for an independent Sikh homeland, and who were occupying the Golden Temple at that time. It is reported that, according to the Indian Government, 400 people died in the operation, including 87 Indian soldiers. However, these figures are disputed as being too low by some members of the Sikh community.

Ofcom noted that this half-hour programme consisted of eight panellists, including a presenter, discussing issues surrounding the attack. It was broadcast the day after the attack on Lieutenant-General Brar. Eg:

If they [who assaulted Lieutenant-General Brar] were Sikhs, I congratulate them.

Ofcom considered that these statements raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 3.1 of the Code, which states that:

Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

Following the broadcast of this programme, Sangat TV said that:

We realise that the comments of this programme were in non-compliance [with the Code] and we were unable to control the live broadcast. This was a highly exceptional situation, and when considered in isolation or out of context may make it look inappropriate.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom found the programme to have breached Rule 3.1 of the Code. The breach of Rule 3.1 in this case is a serious contravention of the Code. Ofcom views any incident where a licensee has allowed content to be broadcast that is likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder as a significant contravention of the Code.

Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider this breach of the Code for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

31st October
2011
  

Due Impartiality...

Ofcom censures Sikh Channel for a panel discussion programme with a one sided view of Sikh repression in India

  Sikh Channel Youth Show
Sikh Channel, 28 May 2011, 19:30

The Sikh Channel is in the religious section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), and the channel is aimed at the Sikh community in the UK. The Sikh Channel Youth Show was a weekly live programme broadcast in Punjabi. The licence for the Sikh Channel is held by TV Legal Limited.

This programme consisted of a live discussion programme, consisting of a panel of guests and a live studio audience. The discussion touched on a range of subjects including: a Sikh demonstration that had taken place in Dudley on the day of the broadcast (28 May 2011); and various reported actions taken by the Indian Government towards the Sikh community in India, including Operation Blue Star 1.

Two viewers alerted Ofcom to the programme, objecting to the manner in which the programme had referred to the Hindu community.

On assessing the content, Ofcom noted the following statements made within the programme:

  • In India there is one law for the majority and another law for the Sikh minority .
  • The Sikhs should realize that they are slaves .
  • In genocide, people are physically eliminated. But you can also eliminate them mentally by making them subservient and slavish. That is being done to the Sikhs in India .
  • This is a message to the oppressors that you have done what you did and you can do more but we are ready to seek a homeland for ourselves .

Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 5.5 of the Code which states that:

Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service. This may be achieved within a programme or over a series of programmes taken as a whole

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 5.5

In assessing whether due impartiality has been applied in this case, the term due is important. Under the Code, it means adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme. Therefore, due impartiality does not mean an equal division of time has to be given to every view, or that every argument and every facet of every argument has to be represented. Due impartiality may be preserved in a number of ways and it is an editorial decision for the broadcaster as to how it ensures due impartiality is maintained.

In this case, Ofcom considered that the programme included a number of viewpoints, but all of them were: either critical of the Indian state's policy in relation to its treatment to the Sikh community in India; or could be interpreted as arguing the case for an independent homeland for the Sikh community in India.

We considered that the programme did not contain any alternative views, which could be reasonably and adequately classed as supportive of, or which sought to explain: either the actions of the Indian State in relation to the Sikh community within India, and in particular, the Punjab; or the arguments against an independent homeland for the Sikh community within India.

Ofcom concluded the programme was in breach of Rule 5.5 of the Code.

The Sikh Channel got in further trouble for evasion of supplying of a full recording of the progamme.

Ofcom recorded Breaches of Licence Condition 11(2)(b).

 

29th October
2011
  

Ofcom Don't Believe...

Ofcom to consider sanctions for religious channel claiming pastor can heal HIV and cancer

Believe TV
25 June 2011, 11:00 to 12:00

Believe TV is a service which broadcasts Christian programming and is located in the religious section of the Sky electronic programme guide. The channel broadcasts programmes which include testimony where members of the churches featured, including the VPA, proclaim how health problems, financial issues or other personal matters have been alleviated through healing from a pastor or other religious leader and their faith in God.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to two alleged claims of serious illnesses being cured. These were broadcast on Believe TV on 25 June 2011. The claims were included in a programme which lasted around 20 minutes promoting the work of the church known as the Victorious Pentecostal Assembly ( VPA ). The claims appeared as onscreen text while images of the pastor of VPA, Alex Omokodu, were shown giving healing to followers at the church. The onscreen text claims referred to by the complainant were shown on the bottom third of the screen in white lettering on a black background: HIV IS HEALED and CANCER IS HEALED .

Ofcom considered rules:

Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.

Rule 4.6: Religious programmes must not improperly exploit any susceptibilities of the audience.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 2.1 and 4.6

In assessing whether there was a breach of Rule 2.1, Ofcom therefore had to consider whether the claims broadcast could have encouraged viewers to believe that the serious illnesses featured, in particular cancer and HIV, could be cured through the work of the VPA (without orthodox medication). If this were the case, there was a potential for harm because some viewers with serious illnesses – who may therefore be more vulnerable – might have understood on the basis of what they saw on Believe TV that they could be cured by the work of the VPA, and as result either not sought medical advice or stopped following a course of recommended medical treatment. This clearly could be very harmful.

The claims were made in a programme promoting the VPA, and its founder and pastor Alex Omokodu. Around two minutes into the programme it showed images of attendees at the church receiving healing from Pastor Omokudo as a voiceover stated:

Victorious Pentecostal Assembly is a church regularly in communion with the power of the Holy Spirit and has been witness to scores of miraculous testimonies, breakthroughs, healing and what can only be described as divine intervention – a second nature at this mountain of God. This centre of excellence is committed to building up a people of purpose, power and praise, nursing the afflicted to deliverance, the downtrodden are restored to a royal priesthood, from many other afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivered them from them all. And He will do the same for you.

Ofcom noted that as these images were broadcast various graphics were laid over a black segment filling the bottom third of the screen. Each separate graphic was on screen for around 10 seconds. Four of the graphics stated consecutively: THE LAME WALK AGAIN ; CANCER IS HEALED ; WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD BUT RESTORED AT V.P.A ; and HIV IS HEALED .

Taking into account :

  • the juxtaposition of the images of healing and the claims contained in the graphics; and
  • the voiceover stating that VPA had been witness to scores of miraculous testimonies and healing,

Ofcom considered that viewers would have reasonably understood from the onscreen claims that the healing and testimony at the church could include the curing of HIV and cancer through attendance at the VPA alone.

However before the start of the promotional style programme the following three onscreen graphics were broadcast while the text was read in voiceover:

We advise you to always seek your medical practitioner advise [sic] before making any decision based on this programme.

This statement provided some protection to viewers, by warning them to seek medical advice. But Ofcom noted that:

  • these statements were broadcast before the promotional style programme began;
  • they were separated from the claims of healing by about two and a half minutes; and
  • no warning or information was broadcast immediately before, during or after the four claims for healing highlighted above.

These factors limited the protection afforded to viewers by the statement

Ofcom concluded that, taking all these factors into account, viewers were not provided with adequate protection from harm. Some members of the audience – especially those with serious illnesses – could have been left with the impression that the healing of HIV and cancer could, and would, take place if the viewer attended the church. This was a breach of Rule 2.1.

Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster did not appropriately recognise and mitigate the risk to vulnerable viewers, and that the susceptibilities of members of the audience (some of whom might be experiencing a life threatening illness) were improperly exploited by the claims of healing of cancer and HIV broadcast on Believe TV. This was a breach of Rule 4.6.

Considering Sanctions

Ofcom has recently recorded breaches of Rules 2.1 and 4.6 against the Licensee in relation to the promotion of products as cures for serious illnesses and other medical claims made in various broadcasts between 21 December 2010 and 1 February 20111 . Ofcom regarded these contraventions of the Code as so serious and also repeated that we put the Licensee on notice that it was being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

29th August
2011
  

Miracle Olive Oil Soap...

Ofcom considers sanctions against Believe TV for potentially harmful nonsense about a miracle cure for cancer

Believe TV
21 and 22 December 2010, 4 January 2011 and 1 February 2011

Believe TV is a service which broadcasts Christian programming. The channel broadcasts programmes which include testimony , where members of the churches featured proclaim how health problems, financial issues or other personal matters have been alleviated through healing from a pastor or other religious leader and their faith in God. Believe TV also features other Christian programming including preaching and healing from churches in the UK and around the world.

The licence for Believe TV is held by The Light Academy Limited.

In January 2011 the Advertising Standards Authority ( ASA ) informed Ofcom that it had written to the Licensee regarding the broadcast on Believe TV of two programmes, featuring the televangelist. Paul Lewis, on 21 and 22 December 2010. Both programmes featured Paul Lewis's Miracle Olive Oil Soap . which it was claimed has healing properties that can cure serious illnesses such as cancer.

The ASA informed Light Academy that these broadcasts contained similar claims by Paul Lewis to those which had already been the subject of an ASA adjudication in May 2007. Further, the ASA advised the Licensee that Ofcom had also previously recorded breaches of the Broadcasting Code in relation to content containing similar claims by Paul Lewis that had been transmitted by two other broadcasters in 2008.

In response to the ASA, the Light Academy confirmed that Paul Lewis Ministries content had now been removed from its schedules as of 24 December 2010 onwards, and that in any event the content was editorial and not advertising.

The ASA therefore referred the material to Ofcom for further investigation, as well as further material broadcast on Believe TV (not featuring Paul Lewis) the ASA had recorded on 4 January 2011.

Ofcom reviewed this material and agreed that the content being investigated in this case should be regarded as editorial and not advertising and therefore that the Code applied. Separately Ofcom was also concerned that other material broadcast on Believe TV, on these three dates, contained examples of potentially unsubstantiated and dangerous claims about the healing of serious conditions such as infertility and cancer.

Ofcom considered that such material raised potentially serious issues under the Code. In particular, Ofcom was concerned about the risk that as a result of watching the testimonies and preaching, viewers with serious medical conditions would either not seek or discontinue conventional medical treatment.

Ofcom also notified the Licensee of its concerns about the apparent promotion of products such as CDs and DVDs in some of its programming.

Ofcom noted further broadcast content which raised similar issues, for example:

  • hCancer healing testimonies and claims.
  • Members of the congregation claiming to give up their medication as a result of the receiving healing at the church.
  • Members of the congregation claiming to have disregarded conventional medical advice and treatment in favour of healing at the church.
  • Infertility healing testimonies and claims.
  • Claims of healing of other serious medical illnesses, for example: blood pressure problems, heart disease and drug and alcohol addictions.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.
  • Rule 4.6: Religious programmes must not improperly exploit any susceptibilities of the audience.
  • Rule 10.2: Broadcasters must ensure that the advertising and programme elements of a service are kept separate.
  • Rule 10.3: Products and services must not be promoted in programmes. This rule does not apply to programme-related material.

Ofcom Decision: In Breach

Given that some viewers who may have watched this material may also have been suffering from serious medical conditions, and were therefore likely to be in a vulnerable state, Ofcom also concluded that this material clearly had the potential to cause harm, and possibly very serious harm. In view of the fact that the Licensee did not take steps to provide viewers with adequate protection from this potential harm by providing any context to the claims made, Ofcom concluded that the Licensee did not apply generally accepted standards. Rule 2.1 was therefore breached.

Given that the content was also soliciting a response from viewers and such individuals experiencing serious illnesses may be vulnerable to the healing claims being made, Ofcom concluded that there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may be exploited by the material broadcast on Believe TV. This was a breach of Rule 4.6.

Ofcom also considered that the references to the products were made in such a highly promotional manner that they appeared akin to advertising within a programme. Ofcom therefore also found the programmes in breach of Rule 10.2 and 10.3 of the Code.

The Licensee broadcast material where there was a likelihood that significant potential harm may have resulted. It is Ofcom's view that any material broadcast which may lead to a material risk to the health and safety of the audience must always be considered a significant breach of the Code.

In deciding what further regulatory action to take in this case. Ofcom considered that at no time were steps taken by the Licensee to provide adequate protection to members of the public from harm or exploitation, taking into account the fact that the self selecting audience of Believe TV, given that it is a religious service, may have been less likely to question the potentially harmful and exploitative content broadcast.

The Licensee is put on notice that the breaches of Rules 2.1 and 4.6 in this case are being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction.




 

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