Ofcom has rapped Geo TV for the presenter of its breakfast show using commercial references during programming time.
Ofcom noted that the programme ‘Subh-e-Pakistan’ featured a number of verbal references to Damas Jewellery, a jewellery and watch retailer operating in the Middle East and Asia, as well as close-up images of jewellery boxes featuring that company�۪s branding. These occurred during a segment of the programme in which the host interviewed a representative of Damas Jewellery, Ruby Zahid Sahiba.
Geo TV stated that it takes seriously its responsibilities under the Code. It explained that ‘Subh-e-Pakistan’ is recorded in Pakistan, and broadcast with a four-hour delay in the UK. It said that a member of its compliance team regularly meets the producer and editing teams to ensure that the programme is compliant with the Code (and other applicable regulations). It also said that ���[t]he compliance team member conducts a regular check on episodes to review [whether] guidelines [are] being followed�, adding that ���guidelines are regularly reviewed and updated if any change is required�. However, Geo TV acknowledged: ���[N]ot each and every episode is reviewed as it impossible to review all the episodes.�
Ofcom was concerned by the Licensee�۪s comment that ���[N]ot each and every episode [of Subh-e-Pakistan] is reviewed as it impossible to review all the episodes�. Ofcom reminds the Licensee that it is responsible for all of the material it broadcasts on its service, regardless of how that material is obtained. As such, Geo TV has a regulatory obligation to ensure it has sufficient resources in place to satisfy itself that all the content it transmits is compliant with the Code. The fact that the Licensee should fail even to view ‘Subh-e-Pakistan’ ahead of broadcast, when an edition of that programme has recently been found by Ofcom to contain potentially harmful material in breach of Rule 2.1, is a matter of particular concern, which Geo TV must address.
Ofcom will continue to engage with Geo TV on this issue.