Three Bengali channels rapped by Ofcom


Three Bengali entertainment channels have been rapped by Ofcom over the same incident.

ATN Bangla, Channel I and CHSTV have been found in breach of three rules of the Broadcasting Code. The programme, which aired in December last year was dedicated to Hillside Nights, a music event that took place on 25th December 2014 in London. Ofcom considered that the references to Hillside Nights and Hillside Travels in the programme raised issues under Section Nine of the Code (Commercial references in television programming). Ofcom requested each of the broadcasters for a response on the incident.

ATN Bangla stated that the programme concerned a local musical initiative sponsored by Hillside Travels and which ���promoted the rich cultural heritage of Bengali music�۝. Although the primary aim was to showcase the event, the Licensee believed it was necessary to identify the event sponsor. ATN Bangla said that it had begun a ���robust training process so as to ensure that its staff are fully aware of the need to maintain strict impartiality�۝ when producing such a programme to ensure that no endorsement or promotion of an event sponsor�۪s products takes place during the programme.

Meanwhile, CHSTV said that the programme was broadcast completely free of charge and there was no intention to promote or advertise Hillside Travels. It continued that the programme presenter ���was guided before the programme with relevant code�۝ but was relatively inexperienced in presenting live programming. In relation to the references to Hillside Travels in the programme, the Licensee said it had limited ability to ���correct the statement on air�۝.

Channel I (Prime Bangla) said it recognised Ofcom�۪s concerns. It said that there had been an ���editorial misjudgement�۝ which would not be repeated and for which it apologised sincerely. The Licensee informed Ofcom that it had taken disciplinary action against the programme producer. It had arranged a review meeting and staff retraining to help prevent such incidents happening again.

Of particular concern to Ofcom in this case is that, while accepting that the references to Hillside Travels were problematic, each of the licencees did not appear to recognise that using programme time to promote a music event was contrary to the Code�۪s requirements. All three were found in breaches of 9.2, 9.4 and 9.5.

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