The UK’s media watchdog has suspended Khalsa Television Limited’s license to broadcast in the country after an investigation found its channel KTV broke broadcast rules with Khalistan propaganda.
The Office of Communications (Ofcom) announced its decision this week after serving a suspension notice on the company for a program “Prime Time”, broadcast on KTV on December 30 last year, for a violation of the code of broadcasting with content likely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime or cause disorder.
The communications regulator said the 95-minute live chat program included material that could incite violence.
The show’s presenter made a number of statements throughout the program which, taken together, encouraged violent action, including murder, as an acceptable and necessary form of action to advance the Khalistani cause. . This is a serious breach of our rules on incitement to crime and disorder, Ofcom said in a statement.
Given the seriousness of this breach, and for the reasons set out in our Notice of Suspension, we are today suspending Khalsa Television Limited’s UK broadcast license with immediate effect, Thursday’s statement read.
Khalsa Television Limited now has 21 days to approach Ofcom. Following this process, it will decide whether or not to revoke Khalsa Television Limited’s license.
KTV is a television channel broadcasting largely to the Sikh community in the UK under a license held by Khalsa Television Limited. In February, the channel received Ofcom’s “Preliminary View” notice and objected to its translation and analysis of the programme. Ofcom said it did not provide any substantial details of the objection and offered him another chance to respond last month.
In its representations, KTV reiterated that the program in question did not contain any incitement or call for violent action in violation of Rule 3.1 and provided an example of what it said was the misunderstanding of Ofcom of the words used by the presenter.
Given the urgency and seriousness of the investigation and the time given to the licensee (KTV) to provide its full written statements, Ofcom did not consider it appropriate to delay matters further.
Ofcom noted that the licensee would have a further opportunity to make written and oral representations should we decide to suspend their licence, the suspension notice states.
During the Suspension Period, the Licensee, KTV Ltd, shall not broadcast the KTV service. Under Section 13 of the 1990 Act, failure to comply with this notice of suspension by broadcasting the KTV service during the period of suspension would be a criminal offense, subject to an unlimited fine, it notes.
Ofcom has taken similar action against the channel before, including in February last year when it fined the channel a total of £50,000 for airing a music video and chat program deemed to be a indirect appeal to British Sikhs to commit acts of violence and also contained a reference to terror.
On its website, KTV describes itself as an exciting channel, broadcasting a range of cultural, educational and entertaining programs for audiences of all ages. He prides himself on being completely independent, impartial and honest.
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