Arnab Goswami’s Republic Fined £20,000 by UK Regulator for Anti-Pakistan Hate Content



Arnab Gosuami

The show contained comments made by the host and some of his guests that amounted to hate speech against Pakistani people, and derogatory and abusive treatment against them

NEW DELHI — Republic Bharat, Hindi channel of Arnab Goswami’s Republic TV, in the United Kingdom (UK), has been found guilty of breaching hate content rules in UK by a government regulatory body which has imposed a fine of £20,000 (nearly Rs 2 million) on the channel’s licence holder in the country, Worldview Media Network Limited.

Ofcom’s (Office of Communications) decision is against a programme Poochta Hai Bharat broadcast on September 6, 2019 and presented by Arnab Goswami, a news anchor known for holding noisy and divisive TV debates.

According to an Ofcom release, it was found that the show, which came under scanner, contained comments made by the host and some of his guests, including Maj Gaurav Arya, Maj General K.K. Sinha and Prem Shukla of BJP, that amounted to hate speech against Pakistani people, and derogatory and abusive treatment of Pakistani people.

“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 sports people’; ‘every child is a terrorist over there. Every child is a terrorist. You are dealing with a terrorist entity’,” the ruling noted and added that the content was an “expression of hatred based on intolerance of Pakistani people based on their nationality alone” which could spread and incite & justify such intolerance towards Pakistani people among viewers.

The show referred to Pakistanis and ‘Paki’, a pejorative term used in UK. In response, according to the release, the channel argued that the term “Paki” was simply a “casual reference” to the nationality of people from Pakistan and was therefore not offensive.

However, the regulatory body disagreed, saying, “We considered that the overall tone of the discussion was provocative, comparing Pakistanis to donkeys & monkeys… noted that Pakistani contributors were repeatedly interrupted & afforded little time to make points which may potentially have provided challenge or context.”

The contents of the show were offensive, according to Ofcom’s definition of hate speech violating Rule 3.2.

The programme was aired at a time when tensions between India and Pakistan were running high following the Modi government’s unilateral move on Kashmir autonomy. Ofcom said it had warned the Republic’s licensee of the complaints it had received from audiences over the problematic coverage.

Besides £20,000 fine, the channel has been directed not to repeat the programme, and has also been asked “to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.”


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