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Islam Channel Violated Broadcasting Code

10/11/2010

Islam Channel has violated broadcasting code by airing programs condoning marital rape, justifying violence against women and describing women who wore perfumes as ‘prostitutes’, it was ruled by Ofcom earlier this week.

The media watchdog launched an investigation following a report published in March this year by the Quilliam Foundation, an anti-extremism think-tank which analyzed the channel’s outputs over a number of months before submitting a complaint

‘The ruling by Ofcom is welcomed and richly deserved. There should be no place for intolerance and hate-preaching in our society. It is only right that Islam Channel has been held to account,” said Talal Rajab, an outreach officer at Quilliam.

In response to the ruling the London based broadcaster stated that it does not condone violence against women or marital rape and argued that presenters’ words were taken out of context.

The channel was also criticised for lack of impartiality with its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Islam Channel denied the allegation and states that it had invited numerous guests to provide an Israeli viewpoint, however “few are prepared to accept the channel’s invitation to participate in programme discussions. We have been successful in persuading more moderate Israeli supporters to participate in discussions – but rarely on issues relating directly to Israel”

Islam Channel also stressed the importance of its right to freedom of expression “which is fundamental to allow the channel to broadcast an alternative perspective on current affairs in comparison to other mainstream channels”

Ofcom ruled: “Just because a particular viewpoint on an issue of political or industrial controversy or matter relating to current public policy is likely to be supported by the overwhelming majority of a channel’s audience (or various international and political institutions) does not obviate the need for broadcasters to comply with section five of the code [impartiality].”

Ofcom remains concerned and has called for a meeting with senior level management from Islam Channel to discuss its compliance process further in relation to the code.

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