By Legal Wires 4 Minutes Read

The United Kingdom’s communications regulator Office of Communications (OfCom) on Tuesday fined Worldview Media Network Limited with a sum of 20,000 pounds (approximately Rs 19.73 lakh) for “failing to comply” with its rules. Worldview Media Networks is the UK broadcaster of Arnab Goswami led Republic Bharat, the Hindi news channel arm of Republic TV. The channel has also been ordered to air an apology for the same.

Reportedly, the 6th September, 2019 episode of “Poochta Hai Bharat” telecasted on Republic Bharat was found by the Ofcom that “the programme contained uncontextualised hate speech in breach of Rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code.”

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, [..] discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of [..] of religion or belief [..].

Rule 3.2 : Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television [..] 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 [..] services [..] except where it is justified by the context…

The 6 September episode for which Republic Bharat related to India’s Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft mission to the moon and “involved a comparison of India’s space exploration and technological advancements compared to Pakistan, and Pakistan’s alleged terrorist activities against Indian targets,” as per the Ofcom official website.

Ofcom took offence to remarks made by Goswami and his guests on the discussion panel which included references to Pakistani people as “terrorists”, “donkeys”, “monkeys”, “beggars” and “thieves” , the Ofcom remarked amounted to “uncontextualised abuse and derogatory treatment of Pakistani people on the ground of their nationality” and which the regulator said “amounted to hate speech against Pakistani people, and derogatory and abusive treatment of Pakistani people”.

The release pointed out that Arnab Goswami referred to Pakistani people as: “Their scientists, doctors, their leaders, politicians all are terrorists. Even their sports people. Every child is a terrorist over there. Every child is a terrorist. You are dealing with a terrorist entity”.

“In the context of these criticisms, the presenter [Goswami], addressing Pakistan and/or Pakistani people, said: We make scientists, you make terrorists.”

Ofcom ruled that the programme’s content was “potentially offensive and was not sufficiently justified by the context”. It added that the comments made were “expressions of hatred based on intolerance of Pakistani people based on their nationality alone” and promoted and justified intolerance towards Pakistani people among viewers.

Republic Bharat has not yet issued any public response on the matter.

Legal Wires

Team @LegalWires

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