Ofcom has today fined DM Digital 15,000 for breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.
The free-to-air entertainment channel will also be required to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings on its channel in a form to be determined by Ofcom on two specified occasions.
The broadcaster has found itself in trouble due to an edition of its ‘Health is Wealth’, a weekly magazine programme, transmitted on Thursday 8th March 2007, which included an interview with a man introduced as Dr Professor Mohammed Jamil Jilu (Dr Jamil), a homeopath.
A complaint received by Ofcom was that Dr Jamil made potentially dangerous claims regarding the successful use of his homeopathic medicines to treat and cure serious conditions including cancer, diabetes and hepatitis. The complainant was also concerned that the programme appeared to be used as a platform for promoting Dr Jamil’s homeopathic practice.
Following an investigation of the programme, breaches of the Code were recorded by Ofcom, namely:
(i) that adequate protection was not provided for viewers from harmful/offensive material ie Dr Jamil was allowed to make unchallenged medical claims in the programme that his homeopathic treatments available from his medical clinic in Pakistan could cure cancer and other serious medical conditions such as diabetes and hepatitis (Rule 2.1); and
(ii) Dr Jamil was the sponsor of the programme and this was not made clear to viewers as required under the Code. Moreover, the interview allowed Dr Jamil to promote his homeopathic health clinic in breach of the sponsorship rules set out in the Code (Rules 9.4-9.7 inclusive).
After considering all the evidence Ofcom found the breaches by the Licensee of the Code were sufficiently serious to attract a financial penalty.
DM Digital is a Manchester-based channel broadcast on Sky Digital EPG 802.