The Office of Communication (OfCom), that regulates communication services in the United Kingdom, has directed India’s Republic Bharat TV to pay a fine of £20,000 over a show that propagated hate speech against Pakistan.

According to the regulator, the show ‘Poochta Hai Bharat’ in an episode breached Ofcom Broadcasting Code with its comments and content.

The programme was also “potentially offensive” and in violation of the Broadcasters’ Code, it said in the order issued earlier this year.


“During a current affairs discussion programme the presenter and some of his guests made several
statements which amounted to hate speech against, and derogatory and abusive treatment of, Pakistani people,” the watchdog had said in its order.

“The content was also potentially offensive and was not sufficiently justified by the context. In breach of Rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code. Due to the serious nature of these breaches we are considering imposing a statutory sanction,” as per the order issued in Feb 2020.

During the episode aired on Sept 6, 2019, statements made by a “retired major general from the Indian Army, which clearly threatened that the Indian military would attack Pakistani civilians in their homes, were an expression of hatred and desire to kill by a figure of authority”.

“In our view, the broadcast of these statements also promoted hatred and intolerance towards Pakistani people,” said Ofcom.

The decision was taken despite an apology which was broadcast by Republic Bharat in English and Hindi for a total of 280 times. In addition to the fine, Ofcom also directed the operator not to repeat the programme.

“Given that the Licensee has recorded a number of breaches within a short time, Ofcom is requesting that the Licensee attend a meeting to discuss its compliance arrangements,” it added.