MATV has been rapped by Ofcom for poor compliance procedures over its religious strand, Welcome TV, which is broadcast in French and Lingala.
Ofcom was concerned that MATV may not have adopted procedures to ensure that programmes included in the Licensed Service complied with the relevant rules. In particular, the agreement appeared to indicate to Ofcom that MATV may have sought to delegate its obligations under Licence Condition 17(2) to a third party namely Pastor Bienvenu Messalin where MATV did not itself appear to review the programmes before they were broadcast in order to check compliance.
MATV gave details of its main regulatory compliance officer and explained that there was a chain of command for ensuring compliance, first, for programmes broadcast in Hindi and other Indian languages, and secondly for programmes broadcast in Lingala and French.
For programmes which are broadcast in Hindi and other Indian languages, the Licensee explained that both its main regulatory compliance officer and a second compliance officer are
responsible for compliance. For programmes which are broadcast in Lingala and French, the Licensee stated that Pastor Bienvenu Messalin reported to both the main compliance office and the second compliance officer employed by MATV. The process is that Pastor Messalin has to sit and review the content well in advance which, for a recorded show, means at least 48 hrs in advance. MBCL stated that the second compliance officer also looks after Compliance and if they [Pastor Bienvenu Messalin or the second compliance officer] find any thing that is not suitable for the channel she reports to [the main compliance officer] and than I [the main compliance officer] sit and watch the same for final go ahead.
Ofcom was concerned that, at the time that the relevant episode of Welcome TV was broadcast, MATV did not have staff in place who were able to understand the relevant languages in which some programmes were being broadcast. In Ofcom۪s view, this meant that it would not have been able to verify for itself that those programmes complied with the relevant codes and rules. Even though Pastor Bienvenu Messalin may have been able to understand Lingala and French, Ofcom was concerned that he may not be sufficiently independent to ensure compliance, in circumstances where he was also the supplier (and, at times, the presenter) of that content.
Ofcom concluded that MATV breached Licence Condition 17(2) of its licence due to its lack of sufficient procedures for ensuring compliance as at 5th January 2015. Ofcom is requesting MATV to attend a meeting to discuss its compliance arrangements. We also intend to monitor whether the changes MATV has made in recent months have been sufficient to ensure the Licensee۪s ongoing compliance with Licence Condition 17(2). Should the Licensee breach Licence Condition 17(2) again, Ofcom is likely to consider the imposition of a statutory sanction.
MATV was removed from the Sky EPG earlier last month but was reinstated last week.