Ofcom fines DM Digital over �100k for two breaches

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DM Digital
DM Digital fined by Ofcom

Ofcom has today imposed financial penalties of �85,000 and �20,000 on DM Digital Television Limited in respect of its service DM Digital.

This penalty follows Ofcom�۪s findings, published on 8th May 2012 relating to two separate programmes, ‘Rehmatul Lil Alameen’, broadcast on 9th October 2011, and POAF Conference, broadcast on 25th November and 4th December 2011.

The programme ‘Rehmatul Lil Alameen’ featured a live lecture by an Islamic scholar, which included material that Ofcom considered was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder. This was because, on a reasonable interpretation of the scholar�۪s remarks, Ofcom considered he was personally advocating that all Muslims had a duty to attack or kill apostates or those perceived to have insulted the Prophet.

Ofcom found the broadcaster was found in breach of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code in respect of:
Rule 3.1: ���Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services�۝.

Ofcom decided that this Code breach was particularly serious for the reasons set out in the decision and, taking account of all the circumstances, decided therefore that a financial penalty of �85,000 should be imposed on the licensee DM Digital. In addition the broadcaster has been directed to broadcast a statement of findings on a date and time and in a format to be determined by Ofcom; and not to broadcast this material again.

The programme Pakistan Overseas Alliance Forum, included coverage of a conference, held in the UK, of the Pakistan Overseas Alliance Forum (POAF). Ofcom found that in the programmes, Dr. Liaqat Malik, the Chief Executive and Chairman of the Licensee, expressed his views on matters of political and industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy in contravention of Rule 5.4 of the Code. Ofcom also found the programme gave one-sided views on matters of political and industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy, in contravention of Rule 5.5 of the Code.

The broadcaster was found in breach of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code in respect of:
Rule 5.4: ���Programmes in the services…must exclude all expressions of the views and opinions of the person providing the service on matters of political and industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy (unless that person is speaking in a legislative forum or in a court of law). Views and opinions relating to the provision of programme services are also excluded from this requirement�۝.

Rule 5.5: ���Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service…This may be achieved within a programme or over a series of programmes taken as a whole�۝.

Ofcom decided that this Code breach was serious and has imposed a financial penalty of �20,000 in regard to the programme POAF Conference. Ofcom has also directed the licensee to broadcast a statement of the findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

The financial penalties are payable to HM Paymaster General.

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