Republic Bharat, the Hindi news channel arm of Republic TV, was fined 20,000 pounds (approximately Rs 19.73 lakh) by the United Kingdom’s communications regulator Office of Communications on Tuesday for broadcasting content that involved “offensive language”, “hate speech” and “ abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities”. Republic Bharat has also been asked to air an apology on the channel.
In a release detailing on the strictures, the Office of Communications, or Ofcom, said that in the channel’s “Poochta Hai Bharat” programme that was aired on September 6, 2019, views expressed by the presenter Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and some of the guests violated its broadcasting norms. The sanctions have been imposed on Worldview Media Network Limited, which holds the licence for airing Republic Bharat in the UK. The programme for which Republic Bharat has been penalised was related to India’s Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft mission to the moon. According to Ofcom, the episode featured “comments made by the host and some of his guests that amounted to hate speech against Pakistani people, and derogatory and abusive treatment of Pakistani people. The content was also potentially offensive and was not sufficiently justified by the context.” Worldview Media Network Limited, the licensee which airs Republic Bharat in the UK, will also need to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings and is barred from repeating the programme in the UK.