In a complaint brought about by the Quillam Foundation, Ofcom examined the evidence of infringements by Islam Channel and found that of the 100 case studies presented to Ofcom for investigation by the Quillam Foundation’s 106 page report, only three religious and six current affairs programmes were deemed to have “raised some potential issues under the code”. Whilst concluding that, of these, three religious and two current affairs programmes had in fact breached the codes, these breaches were determined “not so serious or repeated to merit being considered for imposition of a statutory sanction”.
Islam Channel presented its case to support the position that these programmes were not in fact in breach of Ofcom codes and in four out of six cases Islam Channel’s arguments have been fully accepted by Ofcom. Whilst forming the opinion that two of these programmes were in breach of Ofcom codes, these breaches were determined “not so serious or repeated to merit being considered for imposition of a statutory sanction.”
These findings in Islam Channel’s favour recognized and accepted a number of fundamental points. The findings by Ofcom are in many respects of huge historic importance, particularly in respect to their recognition of the importance of the consensus viewpoint of the vast majority of the channel’s viewers and the right to freedom of expression “which is fundamental to allow the channel to broadcast an alternative perspective on current affairs”.
Quillam’s press release stated that “there are encouraging signs that the channel is now making efforts to improve its output and to give greater airtime to a wider range of more mainstream Muslim voices”. The Ofcom findings have however vindicated the fact that Islam Channel’s programming does not promote intolerance and sectarianism and does not provide a platform to individuals with a track record of promoting hatred and violence.