TV99 has been found in breach of blatantly promoting third-party services during programming.

The channel has been pulled up by Ofcom for references to a legal firm during its legal show ‘Qannon Ki Baat’, in which presenters Adnan Khan (a director of and lawyer at Raims Law Solicitors) and his colleague Hannah Ahmed answered questions from viewers on legal matters. The complainant considered that the programme provided a platform for the law firm to promote its services.

The subject matter for discussion in the programme was immigration law. Throughout the programme two telephone numbers were displayed. Viewers were invited to contact either a “live call” number, to participate in the show, or contact a “pre-booking” number – the telephone number for Raims Law Solicitors – for a consultation on a range of legal issues.

The Licensee explained that the purpose of the programme was to provide community information to viewers. It said that the director of the law firm was “new” and was providing his opinion and information on issues discussed on the show. It added that the director did not intentionally make promotional references.

The Licensee stated that the programme had been removed from its schedule to ensure a similar incident does not occur again.

Ofcom took into account the Licensee’s comments that the purpose of the programme was to provide community information to viewers, and that the director of the law firm was providing advice on legal matters. It explicitly promoted the services offered by one company (e.g. “If you want to make such claims with us, it is done on a no-win-no-fee basis”) and invited viewers to contact this company to make an appointment. Ofcom’s Decision is that the promotion of the company in the programme was in breach of Rule 9.4 of the Code. Further, that the references to the services offered by the law firm and to the company’s telephone number were not editorially justified and therefore that the programme was in breach of Rule 9.5.

This is the third case in nine months in which Ofcom has found the Licensee in breach of Section Nine rules for promoting businesses in its programming. Ofcom remains concerned that the Licensee continues to demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the requirements of Section Nine of the Code despite the Licensee attending a compliance meeting at Ofcom in December 2016.