Aaj Tak lands in hot water with Ofcom for offensive words during show

Lakh Baddhan

Senior Editor


Indian news broadcaster, Aaj Tak has been found in breach of Ofcom rules for broadcasting an item which featured offensive words in September last year.

Ofcom received a complaint about offensive language used in a segment of this programme which focused on the recent death of an Indian celebrity, Sidharth Shukla and his acting career.

Ofcom identified three uses of the word “fuck” and variations during the show aired at 14:30.

The Licensee said that the programme was “covering the news related to the untimely and sudden” death of actor Siddharth Shukla, and included several clips and footage of his acting work. TVTN said that the offensive language was featured as part of a “compilation of video footages from various shows including reality TV shows like Bigg Boss in which the late actor appeared”.

Ofcom took into account the Licensee’s various representations about the offensive language in this case, including the fact that the language had: not been said by the channel’s presenters or producers but rather had formed part of pre-existing footage; been included in news of the actor Siddharth Shukla’s death and would have indicated to viewers that it was part of his work; and been audible as the result of an unintentional technical error on TVTN’s part.

Aaj Tak apologised in its representations for the technical mistake of not masking the offensive language by dipping the sound and stated that the “terms will not be used again in any broadcast going forward”. However, this pre-recorded programme included three instances of the most offensive language before the watershed.