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'Republic Bharat' Show Promoted Hate Speech And Intolerance, Finds UK Broadcast Regulator

Republic Bharat Hate Speech Intolerance Arnab Goswami

The United Kingdom's communications regulator Office of Communications(OfCom) on Tuesday(December 22, 2020) found that a program of Arnab Goswami's 'Republic Bharat' breached broadcasting conditions by promoting "hatred and intolerance" against a group of individuals. The order held that the discussion "Poochta Ha Bharat" telecast by the channel on September 6, 2019 violated the conditions in the OfCom Broadcasting Code in respect of "offensive language", "hate speech" and "abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities" with its comments against people of Pakistan.

"We also noted that Pakistani contributors were repeatedly interrupted and afforded little time to make points which may potentially have provided challenge or context", the order noted. "The order passed by the regulator observed that the 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. One guest also described Pakistani scientists as "thieves", while another described Pakistani people as "beggars". Taking exception to such comments, the UK Regulator said that they "amounted to hate speech against Pakistani people, and derogatory and abusive treatment of Pakistani people", the sanction read.

"In Ofcom's view, the statements made in the programme, examples of which are mentioned above, were expressions of hatred based on intolerance of Pakistani people on the basis of their nationality alone, and promoted hatred and intolerance towards Pakistani people. Whilst Ofcom agreed that it was legitimate to discuss Indo-Pakistani relations, we did not accept the Licensee's characterisation of the programme as a whole.", It further assed.

The order further noted, "We were particularly concerned by the fact that the programme broadcast material which included hate speech towards Pakistani people based on their nationality. " Based on these factors, we also considered this programme had the clear potential to cause significant offence and harm, in particular to Pakistani people".

It added, "The programme contained statements which amounted to hate speech against, and was abusive and derogatory about, Pakistani people on the basis of their nationality. ""We considered that the hate speech against the Pakistani people broadcast in this programme without sufficient challenge or context would potentially be particularly harmful in this context, as it had the potential to cause further damage to the already strained relationship between people of Indian and Pakistani origin. As a result, we were of the view that the material posed a risk of harm to the Pakistani community in the UK, and to good relations particularly between members of the UK's Indian and Pakistani communities."

Ofcom took into account that at the time of the broadcast, the Licensee was already aware, having been notified by Ofcom by telephone call and by email on 21 August 2019, that Ofcom was receiving a number of complaints about the service including in relation to "highly pejorative references to members of the Pakistani community ".


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