Ofcom has warned Bengali news and entertainment channel Channel i for broadcasting political advertisements, which are not allowed under its rules.

Ofcom examined 17 items. Each was broadcast in Bengali. The items were, like advertisements, self-contained messages produced by the person or group whose message the item conveyed.

Ofcom was told by Prime Bangla, the license holder for the channel, that the items were not in fact advertisements but were components of a programme, ‘I Focus’. Ofcom were told that this is a community announcement programme۝ broadcast to keep Bengali people aware of all community events happening in the UK or Europe۝.

Prime Bangla said that it accepted no money or other consideration for broadcast of the items within I Focus.

Ofcom noted the broadcaster’s statements that it had stopped broadcasting all directly political material in ‘I Focus’ once Ofcom had raised the investigation, that it had offered its sincere apologies if the content had conflicted with any Ofcom rules, and that it had promised to implement immediately any Ofcom requirements and take all necessary action to avoid any repetition.

However, Ofcom has put Prime Bangla on notice that it would treat any similar future breaches as extremely serious, and that any future such breaches may be considered for the imposition of statutory sanctions.