Firms behind Zakir Naik’s Peace TV file for liquidation avoiding £300,000 hate speech fines

Club TV and Lord Productions both claim they have no assets to pay the media regulator

Two television stations behind Zakir Naik's Peace TV channels file for liquidation following £300,000 fines for hate speeches.
Powered by automated translation

The firms behind Zakir Naik’s Peace TV have both filed for liquidation.

Club TV and Lord Productions were fined £300,000 (Dh1.4 million) by the UK's media regulator Ofcom in May for airing hate speeches.

Now both have filed for liquidation with Companies House claiming they have no assets leaving the regulator £300,000 (Dh1.4 million) out of pocket.

Ofcom had found that four programmes on Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu breached broadcasting rules on incitement to commit crime, hate speech, abuse and offence after it aired diatribes that described people “worse than animals” and advocated the execution of magicians.

It ruled that the broadcasts were “very serious” and could encourage vulnerable viewers to commit killings.

Mr Naik ran both Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu and presented on both channels. Two of the complaints related to his broadcasts.

The TV personality, who is based in Malaysia, has been excluded from travel to the UK, India and Bangladesh and is accused by the Indian government of laundering £23m (Dh109.3m).

Britain barred him from entering the country in 2010, citing “unacceptable behaviour”, although officials have never spelled out the nature of the behaviour.

Club TV and Lord Productions Limited, which Mr Naik set up and was a director, are both owned by parent company Universal Broadcasting Corporation Limited which is still operating.

Mr Naik was also a director of Universal Broadcasting Corporation Limited.

Both the satellite stations are bankrolled by UK registered charity the Islamic Research Foundation International, which was founded by Mr Naik who is also its chairman.

It is now under investigation by the UK's Charity Commission.

Last year, Ofcom threatened to strip both the television stations, which claimed to reach two million viewers, of their licences but both voluntarily surrendered them last November.

“In this case, the potential for very serious harm if this material incited others was clear, “ Ofcom had said.

“Ofcom was concerned that the statements made by the scholar had the clear potential to influence impressionable viewers by encouraging serious crime, up to and including murder, and/or leading to disorder in relation to members of the public, in particular to Muslim people practicing magic as part of their faith.

“We also found that the scholar’s religious standing gave his statements greater weight and authority with the viewer, which compounded the seriousness of the breach. Ofcom considers the potential harm arising from such hate speech to be very serious.”

This week the charity watchdog barred Mr Naik from running charity Islamic Research Foundation International during its inquiry.

The Commission’s inquiry is focusing on why the charity has continued to fund Peace TV channels following repeated broadcasting breaches due to hate speeches and hosting radicals and extremist speakers in the past four years.

Mr Naik was barred from the UK in 2010 but continued to operate the channels until last year.

The licence for Peace TV was held by Lord Productions Limited, which was fined £100,000, and Club TV, which held the licence for Peace TV Urdu, was fined £200,000 over the broadcasting breaches.

“In reaching its decision on the imposition of a sanction in this case, Ofcom has taken full account of the need to ensure that any penalty acts as a deterrent, including to other broadcasters,” it added.

“In this case Ofcom believed that a financial penalty was necessary to reflect the serious nature of the Code breaches and to act as an effective incentive to comply with the Code, for other licensees.”

Ofcom previously fined Club TV £65,000 for hate speech violations in 2016.