PETALING JAYA: Two TV stations owned by controversial preacher Zakir Naik have been fined £300,000 (RM1.5 million) in Britain for broadcasting hate speech and highly offensive content on the Peace TV network.
The 24-hour satellite network, based in Dubai, broadcasts free-to-air Islamic content in English and Urdu in Britain. Its broadcasts are also available via satellite and cable TV elsewhere.
UK media regulator Ofcom fined Peace TV Urdu £200,000 and the English-language Peace TV £100,000 for breaches of broadcasting rules.
The two channels were held to have broadcast programmes that “contained hate speech and highly offensive content, which in one instance was likely to incite crime”, Ofcom said.
“We concluded that the content represented serious failures of compliance with our broadcasting rules, which warranted fines,” it said in a statement dated May 5.
The fines were levied on Club TV and Lord Production, former holders of the stations’ broadcasting licences. Ofcom said Peace TV Urdu’s licence was suspended in November 2019, and both licences had been surrendered.
Naik, who was granted permanent residence in Malaysia, is wanted in India to face charges of money laundering. An Indian request for his extradition has been resisted by Putrajaya. The Prime Minister, then Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had questioned the likelihood of Naik receiving a fair trial.
India’s Enforcement Directorate has also accused Naik of making “inflammatory speeches and lectures” which incited a number of Muslim youths in India to commit terrorist acts.
Naik has strongly denied the accusations.
Peace TV is part of Naik’s business empire which has come under scrutiny in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
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