Bengali news and entertainment service, Channel I has been rapped once again by Ofcom for a sponsorship breach during its Ramadan programming.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to commercial references during Azan-e-Magrib, a three-minute Islamic call to prayer.
Ofcom noted that a rotating logo for the Icon College of Technology and Management in London appeared throughout the programme in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, including its name. It further noted that the presenter, a teenager who recited the words of the Azan,1 who was shown throughout the programme, wore a t-shirt featuring the name and website address of a fee-paying school in Oldham, Darul Hadis Latifiah Northwest.
Channel I confirmed that the Icon College of Technology and Management was the sponsor of the programme. Prime Bangla also told us that Darul Hadis Latifiah Northwest had not paid for the inclusion of the reference to the school in the programme, but that the charity which funds the school had previously run an appeal on Channel I.
The channel confirmed that it understood the material to be religious in nature, but explained that its programming team had thought that, because it was ���short� and ���generic�, it was therefore ���not a programme� and that therefore ��ω�_[it] accepted the sponsorship of this material�. The Licensee acknowledged that this was an ���editorial misjudgement�, stating that it ���understood Ofcom[�۪s] concern and would ���put all efforts in place [to ensure] that this will never repeat��_again�.
Ofcom has recorded a number of breaches of Section Nine of the Code against Channel I in the past. In March 2015, Channel I attended a meeting with Ofcom to set out its compliance procedures for ensuring compliance with Section Nine. Ofcom therefore was concerned that the Licensee has again breached this area of the Code both in this case and in a separate case in this issue of the Broadcast Bulletin. Ofcom has requested Channel I attend a further meeting with Ofcom to discuss its compliance processes.