Ofcom has imposed a statutory sanction of £75,000 on Al Ehya Digital Television Ltd (the Licensee) in respect of its service Noor TV.
Noor TV is a general entertainment and Islamic education channel broadcast on the Sky platform. The channel is aimed at Muslims living in Europe.
Saturday Night Special was a programme which mainly consisted of a presenter taking calls from viewers who donated money to the channel in return for prayers for themselves or for their relatives.
Ofcom had previously found the programme had breached the following Code rules:
- 2.1: (generally accepted standards)
- 2.2: (materially misleading)
- 4.6: (the exploitation of susceptibilities of the audience by religious programmes)
- 10.3: (promotion of products and services)
- 10.15: (appeals for funds)
Ofcom considered that the inducements which were made in this programme, i.e. the receipt of a special gift for a donation of £1,000, and the offer of a prayer that would improve the donor’s health, wealth, success or good fortune carried the risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been persuaded to donate money to Noor TV when they would not otherwise have done so. In particular, the appeal focused heavily on religious beliefs, which Ofcom considered had created an additional risk that susceptible viewers would have been more likely to make donations than they otherwise would have done.
Ofcom was also extremely concerned that although viewers were told that their donations were for the purpose of funding Noor TV’s programming, the funds donated via the Mohiuddin Trust website, were not in fact received by Noor TV and therefore were not used for their stated purpose.