Takbeer TV, which broadcasts Dawn News from Pakistan to UK viewers has been given a warning by Ofcom for broadcasting on-screen adverts during normal programming time.
The channel broadcasts a live feed of the Dawn News channel owned by Aurora Broadcasting Services (Private) Limited T/A Dawn News Urdu, based in Karachi, Pakistan. The Dawn News Bulletin which aired in June, was followed by an hour-long political discussion programme called ‘Target Point’. At 12:34 the programme was interrupted by a four minute Dawn News Bulletin.
For a period of approximately 20 minutes across all three programmes, an on-screen graphic, which showed the latest score in the Pakistan against Sri Lanka cricket match, intermittently appeared in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen.
Takbeer TV confirmed to Ofcom that under an agreement with Dawn News Urdu, it is permitted to downlink and re-broadcast programmes it has acquired from Dawn News Urdu. However, Takbeer TV confirmed that, in terms of the UK۪s product placement legislation, Dawn News Urdu is not a connected person۪, and Takbeer TV had not received any payment or other valuable consideration for the inclusion of the references to the brand in question during the programming and therefore the references had not been subject to any product placement arrangement in the UK
Takbeer TV explained that on this occasion the member of staff responsible for complying the material had to leave the office due to a personal emergency and his replacement was unable to take over immediately. The Licensee apologised for this error and said that it would ensure that its monitoring systems are further improved so that such incidents can be avoided in future.
Ofcom has a statutory duty to set standards for broadcast content as appear to it best calculated to secure specific standards objectives, one of which is that the international obligations of the United Kingdom with respect to advertising included in television and radio services are complied with.
Ofcom said, Rule 9.22 of the Code therefore requires that sponsorship credits must be distinct from advertising. Further, Rule 9.22(b) of the Code requires that sponsorship credits broadcast during programmes must not be unduly prominent.