United Kingdom’s Broadcast regulator Office of Communications, Ofcom has imposed a £20,000 fine on Arnab Goswami owned Republic Bharat for hate speech and use of offensive language to degrade the people of Pakistan during a programme aired on September 6, 2019.
The government communication regulator has slapped the fine on Tuesday on Worldview Media Network Limited which is a licensee to broadcast the Republic Bharat in the UK for breaching various provisions of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code. The licensee will also need to broadcast the statement of Ofcom findings and is prohibited to repeat the programme in the UK.
Ofcom is a government-approved regulator and competition authority for broadcasting, telecommunications, and postal industries in the United Kingdom.
In a detailed decision, the regulator stated that the evening prime time show of September 6, 2019, hosted by Arnab Goswami, Poochta hai Bharat has failed to comply with the broadcasting rules. The regulator stated in the release that the episode includes offensive language, hate speech, and abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions, or communities.
Ofcom said that presenter Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami and some of the guests in the debate violated the broadcasting norms. Republic TV had invited three guests from India and three from Pakistan over a debate on India’s Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft mission to the moon. The debate involved a comparison of India’s space exploration and technological advancements compared to Pakistan and Pakistan’s alleged terrorist activities against Indian targets.
“The host and the Indian guests dominated the discussion, with the Pakistani guests attempting to respond but largely being shouted down by the presenter and Indian guests,” said the note from Ofcom.
“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,” said Arnab Goswami during the debate.
Ofcom identified the programme in routine monitoring and commissioned a translation. The regulator carries a detailed transcript of the observations.
One of the guests at the panel, Major Gaurav Arya stated, “Arnab, that the word Pakistan has become a word of abuse in the world. This word has become an abuse. When they carry a green passport, when they carry a green passport to the airport, they have to go through a strip-search. Their previous prime minister, he was strip-searched by the Americans. Arnab, this is the credibility of the Pakistani passport. Today, the word Pakistani, the word Pakistani, Arnab, it is being used as a word of abuse in the whole world. And they should know that the word Pakistani does not belong to a community or a nation only. It is an abuse now…People use the word Paki, the word Paki is an abuse, if you go anywhere in America, or if you will go to Europe, when you use the word, it is an abuse. It has become an abuse. They do not know.”
Another panelist Prem Shukla compared Pakistanis with donkeys and stated, “Look Arnab, if we discuss science with a donkey, what else will a donkey do than give you a double kick? Pakistan is a country of donkeys, what do they have to do with space science?”
While another guest Major General K K Sinha can be heard saying as per the transcript, “What? You are an artificial lion. 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, the Indian army may come. We will barge inside your home in Baluchistan, 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.”
At that time, the situation was a little distressing due to the scrapping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and converting it into the two Union Territories.
Ofcom had notified the Republic Bharat earlier also about receiving continuous complaints against highly pejorative references to members of the Pakistani community.