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ATN Bangla in trouble for airing political advert

ATN Bangla has been found in breach for airing a political advertisement for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is prohibited under broadcasting rules.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to an item shown during an advertising break on 14th February 2013 which appeared to show political messages placed by or on behalf of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

The broadcaster said no payment had been made for item to be broadcast, and that it did not consider it to be advertising.

ATN Bangla stated that the item was a ���community announcement�۝ which had been provided to the station by ���cultural activists�۝ from within the Bangladeshi community.

The broadcaster claimed also that it had maintained independent editorial control over programming because the focus of the item had been on the cultural aspect of the event rather than the political content.

Ofcom found the channel in breach of rules 5.5, 9.1 and rule 9.2.

Breached rules

Rule 5.5: “Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service (listed above). This may be achieved within a programme or over a series of programmes taken as a whole.”

Rule 9.2: “Broadcasters must ensure that editorial content is distinct from advertising.”

Rule 9.1: ���Broadcasters must maintain independent editorial control over programming.�۝