Sikh religious and community channel, KTV has been rapped by Ofcom for giving “undue prominence” to a guest in an episode of ‘Vadhiyan Ji’ on 30th August 2019.
The programme was studio based and the presenter was joined by a guest, who was introduced as “… Bobby Singh from Love Your Post Code…”. In the studio behind the presenter and guest was a montage of still images of Mr Singh. These included two references to the Sikh Businessman of the Year Award and three references to the guest’s business: the first image formed part of the businessman of the year graphic and said: “Performance & Buy Sell Invest Property Love Your Postcode Realty”; the second
showed Mr Singh next to a ‘Sold’ house sign and the third reference showed Mr Singh outside a Love Your Postcode branch. These images were shown throughout the broadcast. Two minutes into the programme an on-screen banner appeared and remained throughout the programme which said: “Direct conversation with Bobby Singh Love Your Post Code…”. This text was written in a combination of English and Punjabi.
Ofcom received a complaint that the programme promoted the guest’s business. As the programme was broadcast mainly in Punjabi, Ofcom commissioned an English translation of the material and gave the broadcaster an opportunity to comment on the accuracy of the translation.
KTV said that its production team had created the background images for the studio discussion “because [the guest’s company] was sponsoring the bike ride”, which constituted part of the discussion in the programme. Upon reviewing the material, it said that it was “evident how the programme [may] seem biased towards” the guest’s business.
KTV said it had spoken to those responsible for onscreen graphics and “reiterated the fine
line between graphics and [undue prominence]”. The Licensee apologised for “making such a novice error” and said it would “be more diligent in all future productions”.
Ofcom found the programme in breach of 9.5. It said that throughout the programme visual references to the guest’s business were broadcast. The discussion about the 2018 Sikh Businessman of the Year award and the charity bike ride in 2019 provided limited editorial justification for the reference to the guest’s business. However, Ofcom considered that this did not justify the constant visual references to the guest’s business that featured in the studio backdrop and the on-screen banner throughout the programme.