United Kingdom's communications regulator Ofcom has on Tuesday imposed a fine of 20,000 pounds (approximately Rs 19.73 lakh) on Worldview Media Network Limited, which operates Republic Bharat in UK, for failing to comply with its broadcasting rules.
Citing an episode of the channel's show, Poochta Hai Bharat, which aired on September 6 last year, Ofcom said that the programme contained "uncontextualised hate speech" in breach of its broadcasting rules.
"Ofcom has imposed a sanction on the Licensee of a financial penalty of £20,000, a direction to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom, and a direction not to repeat the programme," the communications regulator said in a release.
According to Ofcom, the episode hosted by Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, was related to India's Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft mission and "involved a comparison of India’s space exploration and technological advancements compared to Pakistan, and Pakistan’s alleged terrorist activities against Indian targets."
However, during the debate, the comments made by Goswami and his panellists "amounted to hate speech against Pakistani people". The show reportedly made references to Pakistanis as "terrorists", "donkeys", "monkeys", "beggars" and "thieves".
"Their scientists, doctors, their leaders, politicians all are terrorists. Even their sports people. Every child is a terrorist over there. Every child is a terrorist. You are dealing with a terrorist entity," Goswami and his guests said as per Ofcom's release.
The communications regulator further took note of the use of the term "Paki", which it said was a racist word and unacceptable to the audience of UK.
Meanwhile, Worldview Media said that the programme "did not promote terrorism or hatred and it certainly did not promote or justify hatred in any way". It further said that the word "Paki" was not intended as an insult but as a "casual reference to the nationality of Pakistan".