Ofcom: Bangla TV in breach of its licence

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Ofcom has stamped down on Bangla TV after it failed to meet a number of deadlines set by the media regulator and at one point provided a recording of a programme not containing any audio.

It is against Ofcom rules and regulations if recording of shows are not submitted as they were broadcast. Broadcasters must keep recordings of transmission in the licensed service for a period of 60 days.

Over six weeks after Ofcom’s request, Bangla TV sent an acceptable recording of the programme in question and corresponding English transcript. Ofcom�۪s procedures for the handling of complaints state that licensees should normally provide Ofcom with a copy of a recording it requests within five working days.

After reviewing the recording and translation Ofcom found that the broadcast did not breach the Code as the material was appropriately justified by context. However it wrote to Bangla TV on 24th July 2009 asking for it to provide formal comments.

In response, Bangla TV apologised for the delay in the case and went on to say, “as an ethnic broadcasting company we are managing our administration, main-control-room, and production with a limited number of staff”. It said that despite this “all staff are very serious (and trained) about compliance issues and the requirements of Ofcom, at all times”.

Bangla said that it had failed to provide the recording on 17th June and 9th July because the relevant staff member was sick. Notwithstanding this, it said it understood that it has an obligation to provide Ofcom with recordings on time. Bangla said that in the future it would be “more cautious and will try to extend our capacity” to ensure compliance with its licence requirements.

Ofcom concluded that it had found Bangla TV in breach of Condition 11 of its licence for failing to provide a requested recording in “as broadcast” quality and failing to provide the requested recording and transcript in the five working day deadline.

This is a serious and significant breach of the broadcaster�۪s licence and will be held on record by Ofcom. The actions of the broadcaster in this case were entirely unacceptable. Should these problems recur, Ofcom may consider further regulatory action.

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