A right leaning Indian news channel known for its strong pro-government stance and firebrand host has been fined by the UK TV censor Ofcom for broadcasting hate speech about Pakistan .
Republic TV was fined £20,000 for airing a segment on its UK
service, which conveyed the view that all Pakistani people are terrorists, including their scientists, doctors, their leaders, politicians [...] Even their sports people.
The primetime show Poochta Hai Bharat aired on 6 September 2019 on
the Hindi-language version of the channel, Republic Bharat.
Republic TV is one of the most widely watched channels in India, with news anchor and founder Arnab Goswami hosting aggressive current affairs debates, which regularly air rightwing opinions
while pointing and shouting at viewers down the camera.
Ofcom said it had received multiple complaints from viewers for the highly pejorative references to members of the Pakistani community (eg continually referring to them as 'filthy') on Goswami's
Ofcom summarised that the show failed to comply with UK broadcasting rules as it had spread, incited, promoted and justified such intolerance towards Pakistani people among viewers.
Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has welcomed the decision of the UK's TV censor, Ofcom, condemning Abu Dhabi TV channel for broadcasting an interview that it claimed were confessions of Qatari citizen Hamad al-Hammadi during his arbitrary
arrest and detention in Abu Dhabi prisons in 2013.
Ofcom said that the channel, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), which has a licence from Ofcom, broadcasted an interview on June 22, 2017 alleging they were confessions of a Qatari
intelligence agent, who was discrediting the UAE. Ofcom said that broadcasting the interview against al-Hammadi's will, who was tortured and ill-treated in prison, was a severe breach of the principles of fairness and privacy set out in the Ofcom
Ofcom found that Mr Al-Hammadi was treated unjustly or unfairly in the programme as broadcast and that his privacy was unwarrantably infringed both in the obtaining of the footage of him and in its broadcast.
considers that the breaches of Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of the Code are serious and Ofcom is therefore putting the Licensee on notice that Ofcom intends to consider the breachesfor the imposition of a statutory sanction.
China 24, News Hour CCTV News, 27 August 2013, 12:00 and 14 July 2014, 21:002
CCTV News broadcast China 24, a news programme which reported on the arrest of Peter Humphrey and included footage of him appearing to
confess to a criminal offence. It then broadcast a follow up report during News Hour, which reported on Mr Humphrey's subsequent conviction and included footage of him apologising for having committed the offence. He was named in both programmes,
although his face was blurred.
Ofcom found that:
The programmes included footage of Mr Humphrey which had the potential materially and adversely to affect viewers’ perception of him. The Licensee did not take sufficient steps to ensure that material facts had not been presented,
omitted or disregarded in a way that was unfair to Mr Humphrey.
The Licensee had not provided Mr Humphrey with an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to the allegations of wrongdoing being made about him
in the programmes as broadcast.
Mr Humphrey had a legitimate expectation of privacy in relation to the filming and subsequent broadcast of the footage of him without his consent. In the circumstances, Mr Humphrey’s
legitimate expectation of privacy was not outweighed by the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression and the audience’s right to receive information and ideas without interference. The Licensee had therefore unwarrantably infringed Mr Humphrey’s
privacy in respect of the obtaining of the material included in the programmes and in the programmes as broadcast.
Ofcom also considers that the breach of Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of the Code is serious. We are therefore putting the Licensee on notice that we intend to consider the breach for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
A High Court justice has dismissed a Russian Today complaint that a massive £200,000 fine imposed by Ofcom last year was disproportionate. The court endorsed the TV censor's decision to fine RT for a breach of its impartiality rules.
RT had issued
legal complains that Ofcom's decisions were a disproportionate interference with RT's right to freedom of expression and said other stations had received smaller fines for more serious breaches.
Following an investigation in 2018, Ofcom found that
RT had broken TV impartiality rules in seven programmes discussing the Salisbury nerve agent attacks. Ofcom said RT had failed to give due weight to a wide range of voices on a matter of major political controversy.
A former employee of the UK's consulate in Hong Kong has filed an official complaint to Ofcom about the broadcast by China's state-run CGTN of a confession he says he was forced to make.
Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK
government for almost two years, was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in August. Mr Cheng says he was forced to confess to soliciting prostitution.
CGTN aired the confession in the UK as evidence of his alleged guilt.
channel is the international arm of China Central Television (CCTV) and airs on UK platforms including Sky.
Ofcom told the BBC: We have received a complaint about a programme broadcast on CGTN which we are assessing as a priority.
September, the media regulator said it was investigating whether CGTN broke impartiality rules in its coverage of the Hong Kong demonstrations. In May, it launched an investigation into a confession aired by CGTN of a British investigator.
Ofcom has fined the news channel RT £200,000 for serious failures to comply with our broadcasting rules -- and required the channel to broadcast a summary of our findings to its viewers.
Ofcom has rules in place requiring
broadcast news to be presented with due impartiality.
Our investigation found that RT failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes between 17 March and 26 April 2018.
Taken together, these breaches represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with our rules. We were particularly concerned by the frequency of RT's rule-breaking over a relatively short period of time.
The programmes were mostly in relation to major matters of political controversy and current public policy -- namely the UK Government's response to the events in Salisbury, and the Syrian conflict.
decided to impose a financial penalty of £200,000; and direct RT to broadcast a summary of Ofcom's findings, in a form and on dates to be determined by Ofcom. We consider this sanction to be appropriate and proportionate. It takes into account the
additional steps that RT has taken to ensure its compliance since we launched our investigations; and that we have not recorded any further breaches of our due impartiality rules against RT to date.
Ofcom will await the conclusion
of RT's application for judicial review of our breach decisions before enforcing the sanction.