The British broadcasting regulatory authority has slapped a £20,000 fine on the company that has the license to broadcast Arnab Goswami’s Republic Bharat Hindi news channel for anti-Pakistan content. Republic Bharat allegedly violated its code for restraining ‘hate speech’.
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The UK media watchdog said that a debate on September 6, 2019, on the channel 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”.
The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications, and postal industries of the United Kingdom, issued the fine for violation of code for restraining “hate speech”.
“These statements would potentially be harmful and highly offensive to any person who did not share the sentiment being expressed by the presenter and his Indian guests. In Ofcom’s view, the potentially harmful and offensive nature of the content was compounded by the political context in which the episode of ‘Poochta Hai Bharat’ was broadcast,” the release stated.
Worldview Media Network Limited, the licensee for Republic Bharat in the UK, will have to air an apology as stated in the authority’s release and is disallowed to show the program in the country.
The 35-minute debate on the channel revolved around India’s Chandrayaan 2 space 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,” the release stated.
The release listed a number of comments made by the guests on the show that were hateful towards 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.”