UK Regulator Fines Network Airing Arnab’s Show Rs 19.8 Lakh For ‘Hate Speech’

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London: The Office of Communications, or OfCom, has slapped a fine of £20,000 (Rs 19.8 lakh) on the network which broadcasts Republic TV’s Hindi channel Republic Bharat in the UK, for airing a programme that contained hate speech and offensive content.

The communication and broadcasting regulator in the UK stated that it had found three breaches by Worldview Media Network Limited during the course of ‘Poochta Hai Bharat’ which was aired on Republic Bharat on September 6, 2019. The programme, anchored by Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, focused on Indo-Pakistani relations.

“Ofcom’s Breach Decision found that an episode of the programme ‘Poochta Hai Bharat’ contained 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 regulator said in a statement.

OfCom said that the anchor and some of his guests were of the view that people of Pakistan are all terrorists. Comments like “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” were part of the programme.

Based on these observations, the presenter of the programme addressed Pakistan and/or Pakistani people by saying: “We make scientists, you make terrorists”, OfCom stated.

“We considered these statements to be expressions of hatred based on intolerance of 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,” OfCom said.

Ofcom’s Executive board found that the programme contained “uncontextualized hate speech and that this content was potentially highly offensive,” breaching Rules 2.3, 3.2 and 3.3 of its broadcasting code.

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