Islamic TV channel fined £85,000 for inciting violence

Image caption,
Ofcom ordered Noor TV to broadcast its findings

The broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has fined an Islamic TV channel £85,000, for inciting violence.

It ruled in December that Noor TV had breached broadcasting codes after a host said it was acceptable or even the duty of a Muslim to murder anyone who disrespected the Prophet Mohammed.

Ofcom said the fine imposed today was so large due to the serious nature of the breaches.

But it stopped short of revoking the channel's licence.

Noor TV, which is owned by Al Ehya Digital Television, broadcasts both in the UK and internationally on Sky.

The programme in question, Paigham-e-Mustafa, was broadcast on 3 May 2012.

Presenter Allama Muhammad Farooq Nizami answered questions from viewers around the world about a wide range of issues relating to Islam.

One caller asked what the punishment was for anyone showing disrespect for Prophet Muhammad.

Nizami answered that "there is no disagreement about this. There is absolutely no doubt about it that the punishment for the person who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death."

He also justified the actions of Mumtaz Qadri - the bodyguard who assassinated the Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer in 2011, on the grounds that he objected to Mr Taseer's calls to amend the country's controversial blasphemy law.

As well as the fine, the channel was ordered to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings and must not repeat the programme.

In its defence, the channel had said rather than inciting viewers to commit murder, the presenter was asking them "to take responsibility to become involved where they see disrespect to the Prophet".

They said, after five years of presenting on Noor TV, the presenter's comments were "totally unforeseen and could not be anticipated"

They also explained that the channel as a whole follows Sufism and aimed to promote peace and understanding around the world.

Al Ehya dismissed Nizami in May for promoting personal political opinion and supporting a violent act during the programme.

In July, Ofcom fined the TV channel DM Digital £85,000, after it broadcast a speech by an Islamic scholar who said Muslims had "a duty to kill" anyone who insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

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