Ofcom on Religion

 ofcom keep religious extremism in check



 

Update: Serious Issues...

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


Link Here 22nd January 2013
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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.

 

 

Update: More Serious Issues...

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


Link Here 23rd January 2013
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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: Martyrs...

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


Link Here 6th March 2013
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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

 

 

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
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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: 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
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
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.

 

 

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
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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: Omnipresent Ofcom...

TV censor warns religious broadcasters that it is watching over them


Link Here 9th May 2014
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
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: Anything but peace...

Ofcom fines islamic TV channel for bad mouthing jews


Link Here 12th November 2016
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
  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.

 

 

Serious offence...

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


Link Here 20th December 2016
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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: Ofcom Teachings...

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


Link Here 26th December 2016
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
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.

 

 

Update: Fighting terrorism...

Ofcom imposes large fine for Afghanistan channel that glorified terrorism


Link Here 7th July 2017
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
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: Bad Iman...

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


Link Here 10th August 2017
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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: Strong Words...

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


Link Here 18th August 2017
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
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

 

 

No honour in hate...

Ofcom fines Radio Dawn for hateful broadcasting


Link Here 28th February 2018
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
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.

 

 

Trending...

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


Link Here 20th March 2018
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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.

 

 

A mixed bag...

A summary of the weeks complaints to Ofcom


Link Here 17th July 2018
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
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.

 

 

No licence to hate...

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


Link Here 6th September 2018
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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.

 


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