Ofcom raps Ahlulbayt TV on compliance issues

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Ofcom has warned Ahlulbayt TV on various issues after it was found in breach of

A viewer complained to Ofcom about a programme featuring Agha Murtaza Poya, a Pakistani politician and journalist. In this programme, Agha Murtaza Poya talked about various geo-political issues, and his contribution included a critique of US foreign policy in relation to, for example, Afghanistan, Iran and Israel/Palestine. The viewer considered that the programme:

-incited hatred towards countries such as the USA; and
-presented no alternative point of view to that expressed by Agha Murtaza Poya.

Ahlulbayt TV stated that it was dedicated to adhering to Ofcom’s rules and that it has “displayed a consistent approach towards providing impartiality.”

Ofcom has a duty to ensure that due impartiality is be preserved within television and national radio services on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy.

When applying the requirement to preserve due impartiality, Ofcom must take into account the broadcaster?s and audience?s right to freedom of expression. This is set out in Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 10 provides for the right of freedom of expression, which encompasses the right to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.

The programme when considered alone gave a one-sided view on this matter of political controversy. Further, the broadcaster did not provide any evidence of views of the US Government on this issue being included in a series of programmes taken as a whole.

Ofcom is concerned that this breach of Rule 5.5 comes only a few months after a similar breach by Ahlulbayt TV of the due impartiality requirements of the Code. Ofcom is therefore requiring Ahlulbayt TV to attend a meeting to explain its compliance procedures in this area.

Ahlulbayt TV is put on notice that any further similar contraventions of the Code will be considered for further regulatory action by Ofcom.

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