Ofcom penalises Ahlebait TV Networks £10,000 over “antisemitic hate speech”

UK media watchdog Ofcom has imposed a fine of £10,000 on Ahlebait TV Networks over “antisemitic hate speech” aired on an episode on the network’s Shia Muslim TV channel Ahlebait TV, violating Ofcom broadcasting rules.

The decision came following a broadcast on March 21 2021, of an episode of 20th Hour, a current affairs discussion programme titled Money Power, Islam and a Just Order. The media regulator concluded statements made during the episode amounted to antisemitic hate speech and derogatory and abusive treatment of Jewish people.

It also determined the episode had clear potential to cause significant offence and we did not consider there to be sufficient context to justify its broadcast.

As such the network breached Ofcom Broadcasting Code Rule 3.2 that states material which contains hate speech must not be included in television…programmes…except where it is justified by the context. Alongside, Rule 3.3 that clarifies material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television…services…except where it is justified by the context. As well as Rule 2.3 where applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to offensive language, …discriminatory treatment or language.

Ahlebait TV delivers alternative news reports from around the world, religious documentaries, lectures, current affairs and entertainment programming with an Islamic perspective.

In a statement, Ofcom said: “Given the seriousness of these breaches, we have imposed a financial penalty of £10,000 on Ahlebait TV Networks, payable to HM Treasury. We have also directed Ahlebait not to repeat the programme and to broadcast a statement of our findings against it on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.”

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