United Kingdom's media watchdog has slapped a fine of GBP 50,000 (approx Rs 50.2 lakhs) on Khalsa Television Ltd (KTV) for inciting British Sikhs to commit violence. KTV had aired a music video and a discussion programme which gave out an indirect call to Sikhs living in the UK to commit violence. The material also contained a terror reference, as per news agency PTI.
The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the UK's media watchdog, issued the order on Friday following its findings dating back to February and November 2019.
"We have today fined KTV GBP 50,000 for airing content which had the potential to incite violence and cause harm. KTV also must not repeat the content concerned, and air a summary of our decision," Ofcom said in a tweet.
Ofcom has levied two financial penalties on KTV for failing to comply with the watchdog's broadcasting rules. A GBP 20,000 has been imposed for the music video and GBP 30,000 for the discussion programme, according to the Ofcom order.
Ofcom's order to KTV also includes direction for the channel to air a statement regarding the media watchdog's findings in a form which will be determined by the regulatory body itself. KTV has also been ordered to not repeat telecast the music video and discussion programme in question.
On July 4, 7, and 9 in 2018, KTV had aired the music video for a song called 'Bagga and Shera'. After the investigation, Ofcom has concluded that the music video gave an indirect call to action for Sikhs in the UK to commit violence.
According to Ofcom, the music video appeared to be seeking to influence people by communicating a message to the viewers without them being aware or fully aware. This was in violation of the watchdog's rules.
The discussion programme was broadcasted on March 30, 2019, with the title 'Pantak Masle'. Ofcom discovered that the programme gave a platform to individuals to express their views which amounted to indirect calls to action and were likely to incite crimes.
Ofcom also found that the programme included a reference to Babbar Khalsa, a proscribed terrorist organisation. Ofcom concluded that this could be taken as an attempt at legitimising the terrorist organisation and normalising its aims and actions in the eyes of viewers, it notes.
KTV is a television channel which broadcasts content for the Sikh community in the United Kingdom under a licence held by Khalsa Television Limited.