Explained: How Khalistani propaganda cost a channel its licence in the UK

Khalsa Television Limited relinquished its license to broadcast in the UK earlier this week on June 21 after an investigation by the country’s media regulator found that its channel, Khalsa Television (KTV), had violated broadcasting rules with Khalistani propaganda. The channel, which has also been heavily fined in the past for violating broadcasting rules, has been off air in the UK since March 31. What led to the revocation of the license?

What is Khalsa TV?

Khalsa TV or KTV is a television channel broadcasting largely to the Sikh community in the United Kingdom under a license from Khalsa Television Limited. The tagline is ‘Nidar, nidharak, hak at sach di awaaz (Fearless, determined, voice of your rights and truth)’. It claims to broadcast in 136 countries.

KTV was officially launched in the UK with a ceremony at Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Birmingham on January 22, 2017.

The card read: “Our brand new purpose-built facilities will bring you new programs, concepts and personalities for the Punjabi community.”

On its website, Khalsa TV, also known as KTV Global, describes itself as the UK’s newest and most exciting Panjabi channel targeting the Sikh diaspora, broadcasting a range of cultural, religious, educational and entertaining programs to audiences from all over the world. all ages and backgrounds.

“We strive to deliver only the best in programming using the latest broadcast technology from our purpose-built studio environment in West Bromwich,” the channel claims.

It also says it actively supports the NHS and local charities in the UK, in addition to Pingalwara in India.

Why has KTV’s licensee Khalsa Television Limited relinquished its license to broadcast in the UK?

Khalsa Television Limited relinquished its license to broadcast in the UK on June 21 after an investigation by the country’s media watchdog, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), found that the KTV had broken broadcasting rules through incendiary and separatist propaganda. on a program called Prime Time, which aired on December 30 last year. An investigation by Ofcom found that the show “promoted violence, including murder, as an acceptable and necessary form of action to further the Khalistani case”.

Ofcom raised the red flag early this year over three complaints about Prime Time, a 95-minute live discussion on December 30. The complainants alleged that the program’s host Jagjit Singh Jeeta – a social media post describes him as the channel’s CEO – made a number of statements which, read together, incite violence in Khalistan’s cause.

Ofcom said in its report: “The presenter, Jagjit Singh Jeeta, opened the program with a monologue on the progress of the Sikh separatist movement towards the establishment of an independent state of Khalistan since Operation Bluestar in 1984, setting out his views that the current leadership of the Sikh community lacked the courage or drive to take the necessary action to achieve this goal.”

The regulator noted how he repeatedly ridiculed the “Khalistanis” who lived abroad for doing nothing and urged them to accompany him to Punjab to achieve their goal.

Ofcom sent its “Preliminary View” message to the station in February. The latter objected to the translation and analysis of the programme. KTV claimed the program contained no inflammatory statements and gave an example of how words used by the presenter could have been misunderstood. But Ofcom claimed that KTV couldn’t prove its point.

KTV went off air on March 31, when Ofcom license suspended held by Khalsa Television Limited.

Ofcom then sent a draft revocation notice to the channel on May 26, after which it surrendered its license on June 21.

Is it the first time the UK media regulator has taken action against KTV?

This isn’t the first time KTV has broken Ofcom regulations. A statement from Ofcom said this is the third time in four years that programs broadcast by the station have violated the rules on incitement to violence.

Last February, the regulator fined KTV £50,000 for broadcasting hateful content and a discussion program asking British Sikhs to commit violence, which also included a reference to terror.

An Ofcom statement said the music video aired by the channel featured a man wearing a hoodie with two AK-47 rifles and an inscription that read: “Peace will come through the bullet”. It contained slogans glorifying Khalistan, and inscriptions promising a bloody battle for it. One drawing showed General Vaidya’s assassination, while a caricature of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi captioned her, calling her a “bad woman.” Ofcom objected to the “story of the video advocating violent action against the Indian state”.

KTV was also fined £30,000 for broadcasting a discussion in 2019 in which participants made implicit threats to a Sikh radio host in New Zealand. Ofcom also found that the program had the potential to “legitimize the goals and actions of a banned terrorist organization”.

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