Republic TV editor and owner Arnab Goswami. | Photo: Twitter/Republic TV
Republic TV editor-in-chief and owner Arnab Goswami | Twitter/Republic TV File photo
Text Size:

New Delhi: The United Kingdom’s broadcast and communications regulator, Office of Communications or Ofcom, has imposed a £20,000 fine on Worldview Media Network Limited, in relation to its service, Republic Bharat, failing to comply with the country’s broadcasting rules.

Worldview Media Network Limited — a UK-based firm incorporated last year — holds the licence for Republic Bharat, which broadcasts news and current affairs in Hindi. 

Besides the fine, Ofcom Tuesday also directed Worldview Media not to repeat the programme and to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings on a date and in a form to be determined by the regulator.

The programme in question was a debate featured in Poochta Hai Bharat by Republic TV’s editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami and was on India’s attempt to send the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft to the Moon on 22 July 2019. It was aired in the UK on 6 September 2019. 

According to Ofcom, the debate between Goswami and guest contributors focused on Indo-Pakistan relations and included discussion of India’s record of space exploration and other technological advancements in comparison to Pakistan’s, the ongoing dispute between the two countries over Kashmir, and Pakistan’s alleged involvement in terrorist activities.

Ofcom cited a few examples that it said seemed to convey that all Pakistanis are terrorists: “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”. 

It said one guest also described Pakistani scientists as  “thieves” while another described Pakistanis as “beggars”.  

“In the context of these criticisms, the presenter (Goswami), addressing Pakistan and/or Pakistani people, said: ‘We make scientists, you make terrorists’,” it added.   

‘Amounted to hate speech’ 

After Ofcom narrowed down on the programme during routine monitoring on 24 February this year, it ruled that Goswami and some of his panellists made several statements that “amounted to hate speech against, and derogatory and abusive treatment of, Pakistani people”. 

“The content was also potentially offensive and was not sufficiently justified by the context,” it had stated in its 24 February order. “In breach of Rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code. Due to the serious nature of these breaches we are considering imposing a statutory sanction.” 

In its defence, Worldview Media Network had justified the programme on the grounds that it was based on “a legitimate story covering Pakistan’s involvement in terror activities backed by recent events and statements from leading Pakistani public figures at a time when India was working to become a space power”. 

It also said the programme “did not promote terrorism or hatred and it certainly did not promote or justify hatred in any way”.  

Ofcom, however, overruled the justifications. 

ThePrint reached Goswami through a text message for a comment on Ofcom’s decision but is yet to receive a response.


Also read: You need Machiavelli, not a Mahatma to outwit Modi, Arnab Goswami told me about Rahul Gandhi


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

VIEW COMMENTS

9 COMMENTS

  1. What a coincidence. I have said Arnab is a beggar’s copy of British Paparazzi as he apes them, and now the UK court has fined his channel.

  2. If u are so much concerned about the hate speach then ask the people who ask proof of the Indian army people for winning the surgical strike and raise your voice their instead of raising in a different direction which is useless and protect the country and every individual indian will support in support of Indian armed forces without any hesitation

  3. Whole world knows that Pakistan is being used as a hub for terro*ism. Why is it in FATF’s gray last? How is it a mistake to tell it openly. No freedom of speech?
    Ofcom seems to be working for Pakistan. UK has gone into hands of Jihadis, soon all kafirs will be killed and UK will join OIC.

  4. WORLDVIEW MEDIA NETWORK LTD is a UK entity and OfComm has every right to impose fine as per its guidelines.
    Republic Bharat is India-based and it can broadcast whatever it sees fit in India. Each entity is working under its scope and neither is overllaping the other.
    It’s for the general public to judge, which one of these is morally true. Because it’s the moral guidelines which transcends geography.
    If moral guidelines are considered, then calling each Pakistani a terrorist is definitely racist and deserves punishment. Republic Bharat must change its guidelines over misuse of freespeech.

Comments are closed.