For broadcasting programme that likely to incite commission of crime
A Birmingham-based general entertainment satellite broadcaster that broadcasts in English and Punjabi has been fined a sum of £30,000 by the U.K. communications industry regulator Ofcom for breach of Rule 3.1 of the Broadcasting Code which disallows radio or television to broadcast any programme that “is likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder.”
Sangat TV aired a half-hour programme on 1 October, 2012 in which a panel of eight discussed the attack by four men on the retired army chief Lt. General G.S. Brar and his wife in central London that had taken place a few days earlier. The attack, in which Gen. Brar and his wife escaped with knife injuries, was believed to have been an act of revenge for General Brar’s role in Operation Bluestar in 1984, during which he commanded the army operation that flushed militants out of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Ofcom found that the content of the programme “was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime.”
It said the statements by participants in the discussion were “an indirect call to action to members of the Sikh community to take violent action against Lieutenant-General Brar, other members of the Indian armed forces who had taken part in Operation Bluestar (the Indian Army’s controversial military operation against the Golden Temple at Amritsar in June 1984) or those who supported this military operation.”
In its notice, Ofcam said that some of the participants praised the violent attack on General Brar lauding the perpetrators for their service to the Sikh committee.
Regis 1, the group that owns Sangat TV is reported to have said that the fine could “cripple” them, as the TV station is run by volunteers.
The group argued that this was a “one-off” incident and they therefore should not be penalised for it.