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Republic Bharat fined £20,000 by UK regulator over hate speech

The regulator says an episode of Puchta hai Bharat show, anchored by Arnab Goswami, aired on Republic Bharat on September 6, 2019, failed to comply with its broadcasting rules. “Programme contained statements which amounted to hate speech against, and was abusive and derogatory about, Pakistani people,” the order states

The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the United Kingdom's Communications regulator, has fined Worldview Media Network, which holds the licence to broadcast Republic Bharat in the UK, £20,000 over alleged hate content. 

According to the order released on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, an episode of the programme ‘Puchta Hai Bharat’ broadcast last year had violated conditions of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. 

The episode in question was discussing Chandrayaan-2, and comparing India’s space achievements to Pakistan’s. The order highlights parts of the episode that they found objectionable. 

“In the programme, the presenter and some of his guests conveyed the view that all Pakistani people are terrorists, including that: ‘their scientists, doctors, their leaders, politicians all are terrorists. Even their sportspeople’; ‘every child is a terrorist over there. Every child is a terrorist. You are dealing with a terrorist entity’,” says the order passed by the regulator.

“We considered these statements to be expressions of hatred based on intolerance of Pakistani people based on their nationality alone, and that the broadcast of these statements spread, incited, promoted and justified such intolerance towards Pakistani people among viewers,” the order states. 

The order quoted statements made by one of the guests of the show, “Oh you useless people. Beggars. Oh beggars, oh beggars. We will douse you with 1.25kg, .75kg-, with two inches. PoK, PoK, we are coming to the PoK. We are coming to the Gilgit, Baltistan, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa…We are going to come, be ready. People in your country are shivering with fear that the Indian army may come. We will barge inside your home in Balochistan, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in Karachi, in your area, in Multan, in Rawalpindi and kill you. From Lahore, from Karachi to Gilgit-Baltistan when we will have control.” The order said these statements were an expression of hatred and desire to kill by a figure of authority. In our view, the broadcast of these statements promoted hatred and intolerance towards Pakistani people.

“In Ofcom’s Decision published on February 24, 2020 in Issue 397 of the Ofcom Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin 3 (the “Breach Decision”), Ofcom’s Executive found that this programme contained uncontextualised hate speech and that this content was potentially highly offensive, breaching Rules 2.3, 3.2 and 3.3 of the Code,” it said. 

Worldview Media Network Limited has been barred from repeating the programme in the UK and will also need to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom. 

View the full order.

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