Ofcom fines DM for “insulting” content

Ofcom has imposed financial penalties of £85,000 and £20,000 on DM Digital Television Limited in respect of its service DM Digital  – a digital satellite TV channel primarily aimed at an Asian audience in the UK and also broadcast in the Middle East and parts of Asia.

This penalty follows Ofcom’s findings, published in May  2012 in Broadcast Bulletin 220, relating to two separate programmes, Rehmatul Lil Alameen, broadcast on October 9th 2011, and POAF Conference, broadcast on November 25th and December 4th 2011.

The programme Rehmatul Lil Alameen featured a live lecture by an Islamic scholar, which included material that Ofcom considered was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder. This was because, on a reasonable interpretation of the scholar’s remarks, Ofcom considered he was personally advocating that all Muslims had a duty to attack or kill apostates or those perceived to have insulted the Prophet.

Ofcom decided that a financial penalty of £85,000 (€100,000) should be imposed on the licensee DM Digital. In addition the broadcaster has been directed to broadcast a statement of findings on a date and time and in a format to be determined by Ofcom; and not to broadcast this material again.

The programme POAF Conference, included coverage of a conference, held in the UK, of the Pakistan Overseas Alliance Forum. Ofcom found that in the programmes, Dr. Liaqat Malik, the Chief Executive and Chairman of the Licensee, expressed his views on matters of political and industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy in contravention of Rule 5.4 of the Code. Ofcom also found the programme gave one-sided views on matters of political and industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy, in contravention of Rule 5.5 of the Code.

Ofcom decided that this Code breach was serious and has imposed a financial penalty of £20,000 in regard to the programme POAF Conference. Ofcom has also directed the licensee to broadcast a statement of the findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

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