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Ofcom raps Geo TV for claims on morning show

Geo TV
Geo TV

Ofcom has rapped Geo TV after it received a complaint over an edition of its morning show ‘Subh-e-Pakistan’ broadcast on 29th December 2014.

Having assessed the programme, Ofcom was concerned about the astrology and lifestyle advice section within the programme. This nine minute segment offered lifestyle advice, and advice on treatment for various medical problems, based on the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed and of the Qu�۪ran, and on the reciting and chanting of certain verses from the Qu�۪ran.

Geo TV argued that the Maulana ���simply gave the caller a few verses from the Qu�۪ran to recite [and] in no manner��_claimed that this was the only cure available or that the person would be cured immediately�۝. The broadcaster said that ���it did not accept�۝ that the programme breached Rule 2.1 of the Code. However, it had taken steps to ���introduce clear disclaimers in programmes where such content may appear�۝, to inform the audience that these segments are not ���a solution to their medical problems��_[and to] consult their doctors for advice�۝.

Ofcom considered that the astrology and lifestyle segment of the programme was intended to a certain extent to encourage and offer spiritual support based on astrology and the teachings of the Qu�۪ran. We also took into account the Licensee�۪s comments that ���wazifa is known spiritual prayer [for] Muslims�۝ and ���when Qu�۪ranic verses are recited in a particular count or manner, it is believed��_[that] God may reward the individual�۝. However, in Ofcom�۪s view the segment clearly went further than providing a forum for members of the public to discuss problems they were facing and receive spiritual support and advice.

Ofcom noted that at no point immediately before, during or immediately after the astrology and lifestyle segment of the programme was a warning to viewers broadcast or any reference made to the need to seek qualified medical advice.

Ofcom was concerned that the Licensee did not consider the advice from the Maulana included in this segment of the programme to be potentially harmful in the form it was broadcast. As a result of this Decision, Ofcom will contact the Licensee to seek reassurance that Geo TV understands its obligations under the Code to provide adequate protection to its viewers from potentially harmful material of the type discussed in this finding.

Ofcom considered that Geo TV did not provide adequate protection to viewers from potentially harmful material, and so breached Rule 2.1.