Ofcom: Islam Channel ‘broke rules’ in TV interview with Mayor Rahman

Mayor Lutfur Rahman

Mayor Lutfur Rahman - Credit: Archant

A television interview with the Mayor of Tower Hamlets has been censured by a government watchdog for breaching impartiality rules.

The Islam Channel’s programme In Conversation with Lutfur Rahman, broadcast on March 6, was found to have breached the Broadcasting Code by Ofcom.

The watchdog’s latest bulletin accused the programme of being “one-sided” and of providing the Mayor with a platform to “promote his policies and record”.

The Ofcom bulletin said: “Mr Rahman was given numerous opportunities to put forward his position on his policies and record, at length and largely uninterrupted and unchallenged.

“Overall the programme gave him a platform to promote himself as a local politician in Tower Hamlets.”

Ofcom also said the questions put to the Mayor “could not reasonably be described as challenging Mr Rahman, or as posing alternative viewpoints, on his policies and record”.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: “Ofcom found that the broadcaster did not adequately reflect a range of viewpoints when discussing the policies, actions and record of Mr Rahman, as Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

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“We expect the Islam Channel to take this decision fully into account when planning future programmes”.

The Islam Channel was not available for comment at time of press, but has defended its programme.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: “As the Ofcom ruling highlighted, the Mayor was asked a series of questions on key issues for the electorate, including querying his record on school places and crime figures.

“The Mayor answered all the questions put to him, but had no editorial input into the programme, and it is not the responsibility of the Mayor nor the council to ensure that broadcasters’ coverage is sufficiently balanced.”

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