Indian channel fined by UK regulator Ofcom for hate speech against Pakistan
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News - December 22, 2020

Indian channel fined by UK regulator Ofcom for hate speech against Pakistan

Regulator of communication services in the United Kingdom Ofcom has imposed on Tuesday a fine of £20,000 on Republic ‘Bharat TV’ for Arnab Goswami’s show where he targeted Pakistan, ARY News reported.

Ofcom imposed the fine on Indian TV with reference to an episode of the “Poochta Hai Bharat” show which was aired earlier last year on September 6.

According to the regulator, it breached Ofcom Broadcasting Code targeting Pakistan and Pakistanis with its comments and contents.

The Poochta Hai Bharat episode featured a debate between Goswami and his guests about India’s attempt to send the spacecraft Chandrayaan 2 on its mission to the moon.

Ofcom had on February 24, 2020, found the show to be in breach of the Code. It had then put Worldview Media Network Limited (owner of the channel) on notice to consider the breaches and afforded Worldview the opportunity to present its case.

Worldview later submitted written submissions but did not make any oral representation at the hearing.

The order passed on Tuesday said that in the program, the presenter and some of his guests conveyed the view that all Pakistani people are terrorists, including that – their scientists, doctors, their leaders, politicians all are terrorists. Even their sportspeople; every child is a terrorist over there. Every child is a terrorist. You are dealing with a terrorist entity.

One of the guests described scientists hailing from Pakistan thieves, while another demeaned Pakistanis as beggars.

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Keeping in view the uncalled-for and baseless criticism, the presenter, addressing Pakistan and its people, said, We make scientists, you make terrorists.

We considered these statements to be expressions of hatred based on intolerance of Pakistani people based on their nationality alone, and that the broadcast of these statements spread, incited, promoted, and justified such intolerance towards Pakistani people among viewers, Ofcom ruled.

It concluded that the program was in breach of Rules 2.3 (offensive and discriminatory language), 3.2 (hate speech), and 3.3 (abusive and derogatory treatment of individuals, religions, or communities) of the Code.

The decision was taken despite an apology which was broadcast by Republic Bharat in English and Hindi a total of 280 times.

In addition to the fine, Ofcom also directed the operator not to repeat the program.

Given that the Licensee has recorded a number of breaches within a short time, Ofcom is requesting that the Licensee attend a meeting to discuss its compliance arrangements, it added.

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