ATN Bangla has landed in trouble once again over breaches with media regulator Ofcom.
During two incidents, the channel targeting the Bengali-speaking UK
audience broadcast news bulletins, which made references to sponsors.
Ofcom prohibits the sponsorship of news (and current affairs) programmes to ensure news is not distorted for commercial purposes. In news, the broadcaster must maintain, and must be seen to maintain, editorial control over its output.
In November 2008, Ofcom noted that during two news bulletins, the name of a bank and its logo appeared to the left of the scrolling news bar at the bottom of the screen.
Ofcom also noted that during the news bulletin broadcast in December 2008, a logo for a company called RFL Plastics Limited appeared on the backdrop behind the newsreader and at another point during the same bulletin, a logo for a company called United Commercial Bank Limited also appeared on-screen for twenty seconds. However, it did appear that efforts had been made to conceal some other pop-up logos.
Furthermore, Ofcom noted that current affairs programme ‘RFL Janatar Raay’, a logo for RFL Plastics Limited appeared in a number of places. The logo of a company called Berger Trusted Worldwide also appeared on the screen for a few seconds at one point during the programme.
On several occasions throughout the programme, parts of the screen were obscured, which appeared to suggest that the broadcaster had made efforts to conceal some pop-up logos.
Channel S said that RFL is a manufacturing company in Bangladesh which had designed and made the set for the programme, and that the RFL logo was an “emblem of the set maker”. The broadcaster said that as the appearance of the logo was not intended to promote any product or service, and its viewers were “very unlikely to consider it as a product or a service as there was no statement of any product or service promotion”, it did not consider it to be unduly prominent.
With regards to the appearance of the UCB logo in the news bulletin, Channel S said that this was included in error due to the difficult operating conditions described above. However, it argued that “the nature of the pop-up was clear enough for the viewers to construe that it was separate from the programme” and wished to point out that it does not generate any revenue from the appearance of pop-up logos as the programming is acquired content and it is the original broadcaster in Bangladesh who generates revenue from them.
ATN Bangla has been in trouble with Ofcom three times previously.