Leeds community Asian radio station, Radio Asian Fever has been rapped by Ofcom for homophobic comments that were broadcast in a discussion show in August last year.
Two listeners complained that the material was highly offensive. In the broadcast on 17th August 2011, the presenter commenced with a Qur’anic verse (Sura Al-Nisa, verse 16) and gave her interpretation of that verse as being highly critical of homosexuality. The presenter also discussed various historical events
portrayed in the Qur?an in the context of her main theme of homosexuality. In the broadcast on 18th August 2011, the presenter focused her discussion on another Qur?anic verse (Sura Al-Baqra, verse 221) and gave her interpretation of that verse as being critical of mixed-faith marriages.
Radio Asian Fever explained that the presenter in this case had not been given “permission” to broadcast her sermons; neither its Managing Director nor any other member of the station?s Management Committee was present when the programmes were broadcast; and if the Managing Director had been present during
the broadcasts he “would have advised against these sermons”. Ofcom noted the Licensee?s explanation that although it did “explain rules and ask everyone to use common sense, and to seek advice if not sure about anything”, at the time of the broadcasts in this case it did not require its presenters to sign its, Radio Asian Fever Agreement? document, which required any presenter not “to slander or belittle any
person, group, organization, sect or business in any way”.
Ofcom regards the breaches in this case as serious breaches of the Code. In particular, in relation to Rule 3.1, Ofcom views any incident where a licensee has allowed content to be broadcast that is likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder as a significant contravention of the Code. Ofcom therefore has put Radio Asian Fever on notice that will consider these breaches for
the imposition of a statutory sanction.