British TV regulatory authority Ofcom has imposed a £20,000 fine on Republic Bharat, Republic TV’s Hindi channel, for hate speech against Pakistani people in a program broadcast last year, reported Indian media.
Ofcom, Office of Communications, is the government-approved regulatory and competition authority for broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries. Ofcom said that the evening prime time show hosted by Arnab Goswami had failed to comply with its broadcasting rules.
The Wire reported that Goswami’s show on September 6, 2019 featured “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.”
At the time, the atmosphere was charged with Pakistan’s critical reaction to India taking away Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and breaking up the state into two centrally-ruled UTs. But the regulator did not accept this as an extenuating circumstance.
By the time the episode aired, Ofcom had already notified Republic that it had been receiving a number of complaints on content broadcast by it in relation to “highly pejorative references to members of the Pakistani community (e.g. continually referring to them as “filthy”)”.