London: British TV regulatory authority Ofcom has imposed a £20,000 fine on Republic Bharat, Republic TV’s Hindi channel, for hate speech against Pakistani people in a programme hosted by Indian anchor, Arnab Goswami.
Ofcom, which stands for Office of Communications, is the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the United Kingdom
In a detailed note on its decision, Ofcom said that Republic Bharat’s Poochta Hai Bharat programme – the evening primetime show hosted by Arnab Goswami – had failed to comply with its broadcasting rules.
According to Ofcom, an episode, shown on September 6, 2019, featured “comments made by the host and some of his guests that amounted to hate speech against Pakistani people, and derogatory and abusive treatment of Pakistani people. The content was also potentially offensive and was not sufficiently justified by the context.”
By the time the episode aired, Ofcom had already notified Republic that it had been receiving a number of complaints on content broadcast by it in relation to “highly pejorative references to members of the Pakistani community, continually referring to them as filthy. Worldview Media Network Limited, the licensee which airs Republic Bharat in the UK, will also need to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings and is barred from repeating the programme in the UK.
The show under the scanner was a 35-minute discussion that hinged upon India’s Chandrayaan mission but sought to encompass a larger narrative on how India was advanced in space science and its neighbour Pakistan, was not.
Among participants were Major Gaurav Arya, Maj General K.K. Sinha, Prem Shukla of the BJP, and Omar Inam and Omar Altaf from Pakistan.
“The host and the Indian guests dominated the discussion, with the Pakistani guests attempting to respond but largely being shouted down by the presenter and Indian guests,” Ofcom’s note says.