Ofcom fines Bengali channel, NTV �20k


Media regulator, Ofcom has fined Bengali info-tainment channel, NTV (International Television Channel Europe Limited), �20,000 for a series of repetitive breaches in its licence.

In findings published today by Ofcom, it said:

-The channel was found in breach of Licence Condition 17(2) of its licence for NTV. Licence Condition 17(2) requires, amongst other things, that licensees adopt procedures to ensure their programmes comply in all respects with their licence conditions, and ensure that such procedures are observed. In particular, it obliges the licensee to ensure there are enough sufficiently qualified or trained people to compliance, and that they have sufficient seniority to ensure the licensed service complies ���in all respects�۝ with the Code.

-Ofcom came to this decision in the Finding principally because, during the period between April 2013 and September 2014, 20 breaches of the Code, relating to material broadcast on NTV during the period May 2012 to June 2014, were recorded. Of the 20 breaches recorded, 15 involved Section Nine of the Code, two involved Sections Five and three involved Section Six.

-Significantly, in Ofcom�۪s view, five of these breaches recorded against ITCE related to programming broadcast on NTV after Ofcom had notified the Licensee on 14 April 2014 of its investigation into ITCE�۪s compliance with Condition 17(2). They also occurred despite Ofcom having engaged previously and extensively with the Licensee over a number of months to secure improvements in its compliance arrangements (including having a meeting with ITCE on 20 January 2014).

-In reaching the decision as set out in the Finding, Ofcom also took into account all other relevant circumstances, including: representations the Licensee had made in its application for the licence; the Licensee�۪s compliance record; Ofcom�۪s attempts to secure improvements in ITCE�۪s compliance arrangements; and. the absence of sufficient evidence of adequate improvements.

The contravention took place during an 18 month period between April 2013 and September 2014. Ofcom considered that the breach of Licence Condition 17(2) was serious, reckless and repeated and therefore warranted the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Ofcom is also giving notice to ITCE by means of this sanctions decision that it will be undertaking a period of monitoring of the Licensee�۪s broadcast output to assess whether the content of the service is compliant with the Code. If there are further compliance failings after the imposition of this statutory sanction, Ofcom is likely to have serious concerns about the Licensee�۪s understanding and regard for its regulatory responsibilities and the importance of ensuring that viewers are adequately protected from harm. In such circumstances, where the Licensee has failed to respond adequately to other regulatory action, we may have cause to reconsider whether revocation of the licence would be appropriate.

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