UK Broadcast Regulator Finds Times Now Guilty of Biased Coverage

According to the Ofcom, in a debate on Uri attack, the channel did not reflect Pakistani government’s views.

Updated
India
2 min read
Former Times Now journalist Arnab Goswami hosting The Newshour. (Photo courtesy: youthkiawaaz.com/ <b>The Quint</b>)

The United Kingdom’s broadcast regulator Ofcom has found Indian TV channel Times Now guilty of not delivering news with impartiality, CrowdNewsing reported.

According to an investigation led by Ofcom, an episode of The Newshour — the channel’s primetime debate that was broadcast on 1 August 2016 did not reflect the views of the Pakistani government “or otherwise rebutting the criticism being made of it”. The episode in question, anchored by former Times Now journalist Arnab Goswami, was aired two months after the Uri attack.

In a report of its findings, it said:

Ofcom viewed the 18 additional episodes of The Newshour broadcast between 3 August 2016 and 30 September 2016...(on) the Pakistani Government’s policy towards Kashmir; and alleged terrorist activities towards India. However, the programmes also featured highly critical discussion about the Pakistani Government’s policies and actions in other areas such as its treatment of the separatist movement in the Pakistani province of Balochistan. Ofcom’s concern in this case was not whether the Licensee had reflected a range of viewpoints, but the manner in which those viewpoints were dealt with by the presenter, Arnab Goswami.

Ofcom said Goswami’s method of presenting issues between India-Pakistan violated Rule 5.9 since even though presenters and reporters of “personal view” may express their views of matters of politics, “alternative viewpoints must be adequately represented either in the programme”.

It also noted that the television presenters “must not use the advantage of regular appearances to promote their views in a way that compromises the requirement for due impartiality”.

Defending its editorial calls, but distancing itself from the show’s former host, Arnab Goswami, Times Now told Ofcom that the show has ensured that the debates had “a representative selection of guests who represent the varying key views, for and against, on the issue(s) being debated”.

We can understand some people’s views that the presenter’s (Arnab Goswami) role on these programmes seemed to be rather overwhelming and confrontational… He is no longer associated with the channel and has moved out of the organisation.

Times Now has been broadcasting in UK since November 2015 and therefore holds a broadcast license issued by Ofcom, which makes it mandatory for the channel to follow the regulator’s code of conduct, failing to do which the channel can be shutdown in UK.

Read the details of Ofcom’s investigation on Times Now here.

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