Editor | 24-08-2013
Only weeks after taking similar action, UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has imposed a financial penalty of £25,000 on Takbeer due to what it calls “serious” braches of its broadcasting code.
Takbeer TV broadcasts religious and general entertainment content for the Sunni Muslim community in the UK and internationally.
The charges related to the programmes Global Khatm-E-Nabuwat Movement, broadcast on 9 June 2012 in which a panel of four people answered telephone callers’ questions on issues of Islamic theology; and Khatm-E-Nabuwat, broadcast on 3 July 2012 which showed the proceedings of a symposium on Islamic themes.
On 21 January 2013, Ofcom found the channel in breach of the Broadcasting Code for material that subjected members of the Ahmadi community and their beliefs to abusive treatment. The regulator stated that it believed the programmes had breached Rules 4.1 and 4.2 of the Broadcasting Code which state respectively: “broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes” and “ religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment.”
In its finding, Ofcom stated that, in light of previous Code breaches concerning abusive treatment of Ahmadis on Takbeer TV, together with previous assurances by the Licensee that steps had been taken to avoid recurrence of such breaches, it regarded the breaches of Rules 4.1 and 4.2 of the Code so serious as to warrant consideration of a statutory sanction. Further, it found that by subjecting members of the Ahmadi community to such treatment, the broadcaster did not exercise the proper degree of responsibility.
In what has become a clear statement of intent by the regulator to clamp down hard on such infractions, in July 2013, Ofcom fined satellite TV channel DM Digital Television Limited £85,000 and £20,000 with regard to what it deemed was similar potentially offensive material.