ATN Bangla UK has been given a telling off by Ofcom for what was deemed as an advertising feature during news show ‘ATN Bangla Shongbad’.
During the item, the reporter made several comments about Birmingham based fish shop, Bangla Fish Bazaar, while footage of the shop was shown. The item also featured interviews with customers who commented on the services of the shop. There was also an interview with the Director of Bangla Fish Bazaar.
Ofcom requested information from ATN Bangla about any commercial arrangements associated with the references to the fish shop. Based on the information provided, Ofcom considered that the material raised issues.
The channel explained that the news item was to cover the “Macher Utsav” fish festival, rather than Bangla Fish Bazaar specifically. They explained that Bangla Fish Bazaar was the event organiser so the shop was mentioned. It stated that the programme was not intended to promote or give undue prominence to a product, service or trademark.
Ofcom accepted there may be editorial grounds to report on such events in the news. However, in our view, there was insufficient editorial justification for the frequency and prominence of the references to Bangla Fish Bazaar in this report.
The extensive references to products and services offered by the business featured, combined with the favourable and superlative language used (including references to the price and quality of products), and the comments by the Director of Bangla Fish Bazaar, resulted in content that was clearly promotional in tone.
Ofcom also considered that there was insufficient editorial justification for the frequency and prominence of the references to the shop and its products in this report.