Media regulator, Ofcom, has rapped The Sikh Channel for running a scroll advertising message during programming airtime.

Ofcom noted that the website address for a company called Punjabi Paintings appeared continuously at the bottom of the screen for a period of 21 minutes on Monday 8th June during its ‘Rehraas’ slot.

Even though the channel admitted that the advert was run in error, it attempted to justify the scroll message by saying that the website “exhibit[s] artwork of a religious nature which tied into the programme.” The broadcaster added that “the website was featured in a small unobtrusive strap.”

The Sikh Channel assured Ofcom that product placement had not occurred as no payment was received for inclusion of the website address within the programme.

One of the fundamental principles of European broadcasting regulation is that advertising and programming (editorial content) must be kept separate.

Ofcom considered that the lack of editorial justification for the reference to the website address within the programme, taken together with its appearance for 21 minutes was unduly prominent.