MATV has been rapped by Ofcom over a live debate show it aired during the birthday celebrations of Sri Guru Ravidass in March last year.

This programme was a live broadcast which involved interaction with members of the Sikh community and Sikh religious figures in Strood, Kent. The programme included an interview with the incumbent president of the committee of the Sri Guru Ravidass Sikh temple in Strood, Kent who was asked questions relating to the financial management of the previous temple committee. The presenter stated that when the incumbent committee took over the management of the temple, the temple۪s treasury was found to be missing 65,000. The president of the incumbent committee responded that, “The previous committee had taken the money; their president was involved; their secretary was involved. They did a very bad thing. You cannot do worse with your community than to steal money from the Guru’s house”.

Ofcom received two complaints from the president and the secretary of the time of theft. In Ofcom۪s view, the comments made in the programme relating to Mr Mehmi as the president and Mr Chaman Lal Sandhu as the secretary of the previous committee were likely materially and adversely to affect viewers’ perception of them. It considered that the comments alleged that both had been involved in misappropriating a considerable amount of money from the temple۪s treasury and had committed not only a criminal offence, but also a gross breach of trust. Ofcom therefore found that Mr Mehmi and Mr Sandhu were portrayed unfairly in the programme as broadcast in this respect.

Ofcom considered that the broadcaster failed to ensure that the programme did not present material facts in a way that was unfair to Mr Mehmi and Mr Sandhu.

Ofcom directed MATV to broadcast a summary of this finding.