'Hate speech, highly offensive': UK operator of Republic Bharat fined £20,000 for 'Poochta Hai Bharat' episode

The fine was levied by Ofcom due to Republic Bharat 'failing to comply' with its broadcasting rules.

ByNL Team
'Hate speech, highly offensive': UK operator of Republic Bharat fined £20,000 for 'Poochta Hai Bharat' episode
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Ofcom, the United Kingdom's communication regulator, has fined Worldview Media Network Limited a sum of £20,000 due to one of its services, Republic Bharat, "failing to comply" with its broadcasting rules. Worldview operates the channel in the UK.

A bulletin on the Ofcom website cited an episode of the channel's show, Poochta Hai Bharat, which aired on September 6 last year, and said that Ofcom "found that the programme contained uncontextualised hate speech in breach of Rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code."

A pdf on the decision uploaded on Ofcom's website noted that the show, hosted by Arnab Goswami, was on India's attempt to send Chandrayaan to the moon, and the debate focused on "Indo-Pakistani relations".

The report said: "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."

Noting that the debate included references to Pakistanis as "terrorists", "donkeys", "monkeys", "beggars" and "thieves", Ofcom said "these negative descriptions constituted uncontextualised abuse and derogatory treatment of Pakistani people on the ground of their nationality", and added that the programme "had the clear potential to be highly offensive to most people".

Republic Bharat was also directed to "not repeat the programme" and "broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings".

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