Ofcom slaps £300,000 fine on Zakir Naik’s Peace TV network for airing “highly offensive content”


File photo: Controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik at the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images)
File photo: Controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik at the opening ceremony of the Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019 in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images)

OFCOM has fined controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Peace TV network £300,000 for broadcasting “hate speech” and “highly offensive” content in the UK.

The London-based regulator for the communications services has penalised Peace TV Urdu (£200,000) and Peace TV (£100,000) for breaking its broadcasting rules.

“Our investigations found that programmes broadcast on Peace TV Urdu and Peace TV contained hate speech and highly offensive content, which in one instance was likely to incite crime,” Ofcom said in a statement.

“We concluded that the content represented serious failures of compliance with our broadcasting rules, which warranted fines.”

Peace TV is owned by Lord Productions Limited, and Club TV holds the licence of Peace TV Urdu. Both have the Universal Broadcasting Corporation Limited as their parent company which is owned by Naik, a 54-year-old televangelist and Islamic preacher from Mumbai.

“The former licence holders, Club TV and Lord Production must now pay £200,000 and £100,000, respectively, to HM Paymaster General,” said the statement issued early this month.

Peace TV is a nonprofit satellite television network broadcasting free-to-air programs in English, Bengali and Urdu languages from Dubai. The founder and president of Peace TV is Naik.

The controversial preacher has been wanted in India for money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches. He left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency.

Last week, India made a formal request to the Malaysian government for his extradition.

He was banned from entering into the UK in 2010 due to his “unacceptable behaviour”.