KTV rapped by Ofcom for seven separate breaches

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Sikh religious and cultural channel, KTV has been rapped by Ofcom for seven separate breaches last year.

The first was of a music video it broadcast called ‘Bagga and Shera’, which was transmitted on 4th, 7th and 9th July 2018. Ofcom received a complaint that the content in the video could glamorise or might be likely to encourage or incite crime or violence. The complaint said that the content featured two “suspected criminals” and their actions were “glorified”.

The programme comprised a music video which included lyrics in Punjabi with some Gurmukhi and English script. We obtained an English translation of the Punjabi and Gurmukhi lyrics and text.

In its response, KTV explained that it was “a platform catering to the international Punjabi community with a message of unity and inclusivity”. It said that “[i]n recognition of our responsibility to viewers, it has undertaken concerted efforts to ensure all content broadcast remains within the parameters of the Broadcasting Code” and that it “treats all compliance matters with the utmost importance and accordingly, we attempt to address any potential breach of the Broadcasting Codes with immediate action”. KTV explained however that it “recently suffered on account of the departure of employees responsible for assessing and enforcing compliance”.

Ofcom concluded that the video was broadcast three times including during the afternoon and late in the
evening (at 21:26 and 22:56). While audiences may expect more challenging material later in the evening Ofcom did not consider the potentially very high levels of offence would have been mitigated by the scheduling of the two broadcasts of the video at these later times.

In light of the other issues in this case, Ofcom was extremely concerned that this content appeared to be seeking to influence viewers in this way. It was found in breach of Ofcom regulations.

KTV was also found in breach of other incidents.

Show: Good Morning KTV
Telecast: 20th February 2018 at 09:00

Ofcom received a complaint, which in summary said that this episode of Good Morning KTV included material that showed “negativity regarding the relationship between the UK and Indian governments and increased discussions on the unfair treatment of Sikhs” and expressed concern that “the intensity and regularity of the debate could result in viewers forming extremist views”.

This episode included a children’s cartoon, a round-up of stories about the Sikh community, an interview with a studio guest, a studio phone-in segment and an Indian documentary called “Final Assault”.

The documentary put forward the view that in the 1980s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s1 government implemented a strategy to deny the Punjab state its due water resource and supply, and that this was used as a means of suppressing the rights of the Sikh-majority population of Punjab.

Ofcom found the channel in breach. It said that the documentary was broadcast early in the day’s schedule between 09:45 and 10:15 on a Tuesday, at a time when viewers of all channels are less likely to expect to encounter more challenging content. Further, as set out above under Rules 1.3 and 1.11, it was not preceded by a clear warning about the nature of the content that followed. In our view, the nature and strength of the portrayal of violence was likely to have exceeded audience expectations for a programme broadcast at this time on this channel.

Show: Acupressure Show
Telecast: 12th March 2018 at 21:30

Ofcom received a complaint that the programme promoted the guest’s business and contained potentially harmful medical advice. As the programme was broadcast mainly in Punjabi, Ofcom commissioned an English translation of the material and gave the Licensee an opportunity to comment on the accuracy of the translation. KTV did not comment on the accuracy of the translation and Ofcom relied on it for the purposes of this investigation.

In the Acupressure Show, the presenter and guest discussed a number of medical conditions (e.g. constipation, tinnitus, sciatica, joint pain, migraines, stroke, fracture, hernia) and their various symptoms. In relation to a number of these conditions, the presenter and guest dismissed, without challenge, the effectiveness of some conventional medical treatment. In other cases, the presenter either acknowledged that there were benefits in conventional treatment, but implied that acupressure was more effective, or simply referred to acupressure as a cure for particular ailments.

The guest also appeared to diagnose conditions based on a brief discussion of symptoms, without physical examination or full knowledge of an individual’s medical history. He then went on to give advice and recommend treatment based on his diagnosis. For example, in relation to one individual calling about her 71-year-old mother with a with a fractured spine, the presenter stated “…You can press this with an inner downward motion like this [demonstrates using his hands], with both hands. I will put them either side of this channel in an upward motion.”

Ofcom took into account that the guest claimed to be able to treat a number of illnesses and conditions and directly addressed viewers who were unwell, and therefore potentially vulnerable. Viewers were encouraged to use the treatment advised by the guest, make appointments to see him or another acupressure specialist.

Ofcom was also concerned that in only two instances out of 17 calls did the presenter or guest advise viewers to seek advice from their GP before using the acupressure techniques suggested.

Show: Homeopathic Clinic
Telecast: 8th June 2018 at 16:00

Ofcom received a complaint that the programme promoted the guest’s homeopathic business.

Throughout the programme, the presenter and guest discussed a number of medical conditions (e.g. diabetes and asthma) and various associated symptoms. In relation to a number of these conditions, the guest dismissed, without challenge, the effectiveness of some conventional licensed medicines that are generally prescribed.

The guest also appeared to diagnose conditions based on a brief discussion of symptoms, without physical examination or full knowledge of an individual’s medical history. He then went on to give advice and recommend treatment based on his diagnosis. For example, in relation to one caller with diabetes and asthma.

Throughout most of Homeopathic Clinic numerous references were made to the guest’s profession and his business. Viewers were invited by the presenter and guest to contact the guest off air, for private appointments outside the programme. Ofcom considered that the guest’s services, provided by him in the course of his own business, were given prominence that did not appear to be justified on editorial grounds.

Ofcom has recorded breaches against Khalsa Television Limited. Ofcom considers that the breaches, taken overall, represent a very serious compliance failure on the part of the Licensee. Ofcom has therefore put KTV on notice that it will consider the breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

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