Ofcom warns three UK Bengali channels


Media regulator, Ofcom has warned three Bengali channels on different reasons.

CHSTV was rapped by Ofcom for an incident in May 2014 for broadcasting a a legal advice show with a prominent banner, which was displayed at the bottom of the screen. The banner promoted a premium rate telephone number with routine warnings about variations in call costs. In addition, the following text was displayed: ���Information provided on this line may also
be free within the public domain.�۝

CHSTV said that it had never broadcast teleshopping and was not aware of the particular requirements of the BCAP Code. The Licensee told us that it had taken ���all necessary steps�۝, including removing the premium rate number from the programme and cancelling the ��sponsorship�۪ deal.

Ofcom considered that, as set out in the Introduction to this Decision, the material was presented in the style of a studio discussion programme. It contained, for example, no on
– screen messages to make clear that it was advertising content. We noted also that slates shown at the start of the item stated ���You are watching live programme ‘Legal Advice’ and claimed that the material was ���Sponsored�۝ content. Although as advertising material ‘Legal Advice’ could have promoted any number of commercial interests, and to any extent, describing such additional promotion as sponsorship compounded the misimpression that ‘Legal Advice’ was programming. As a result we concluded the material was in breach of BCAP Rule 2.1 and BCAP Rule 2.4.

In February, Channel Nine broadcast a news update broadcast at 19:00, which a scrolling text bar at the bottom of the screen, which referred to election results in Bangladesh, and which also contained branding for the sportswear retailer Lotto Sport Italia (���Lotto�۝). Ofcom has recorded a number of breaches of the rules in Section Nine against the channel. In light of Ofcom concerns about the Licensee�۪s compliance record on 5 February 2014, Runners TV was required to attend a meeting to discuss its processes. Following that meeting it submitted revised compliance procedures to Ofcom on 5 March 2014.

Ofcom is concerned that despite our intervention, the Licensee�۪s procedures were insufficient on 19th February 2014, when the material considered in this Decision was
shown, to ensure that promotional content was not broadcast during a news bulletin. Ofcom will monitor content broadcast on Channel Nine UK, and is considering taking further regulatory action. Incidentally, Channel Nine is no longer broadcasting in the UK.

The third channel in question was ATN Bangla with its programme ‘Business Talk With Sufi’, which a viewer complained featured many references to the sponsor of the show. The complainant also believed that the programme had failed to signal that it contained product placement.

Ofcom has recently recorded a number of breaches of the rules in Section Nine of the Code against this Licensee. Ofcom said it was concerned that the Licensee�۪s compliance processes have not proved sufficiently robust to prevent breaches of the Code in this area. In light of our concerns, Ofcom is requiring the Licensee to attend a meeting to discuss its compliance procedures.

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