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Ofcom considering strict action against TV99 for repeated breach

Independent UK Asian TV channel, TV99 has been found in breach of advertising during programme airtime. This is the fourth time in three and half years that TV99 has been warned by Ofcom.

On 13th August 2019, TV99 broadcast its live show ‘Istikhara’, offering viewers advice and guidance based on Islamic teaching. Viewers were invited to call either a UK landline number, which will connect them to the presenter on-screen if available, or two Pakistani mobile telephone numbers.

Ofcom received six complaints about the series. The complainants claimed that the two Pakistani mobile numbers connected callers to an independent ‘Istikhara’ service which attempted to charge for advice.

In its initial response to Ofcom, TV99 said that it had complete control over the calls made to the UK landline number displayed in the programme. It added that it kept all records of these calls made during the broadcast. It said that the two Pakistani mobile telephone numbers featured in the programme were “for social media activity only”. It also said that it did not offer additional services outside of the programme.

Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster has breached Rule 9.4 three times in the past three-and-a-half-year period. In light of its repeated failure to apply rules in Section Nine of the Code, Ofcom is minded to consider this case for the imposition of a statutory sanction.