Radio station fined for breaking politics rule

An East Lancashire radio station has been fined £3,000 by the Radio Authority for a “serious breach” of the rules on undue prominence and for political advertising.

Asian Sound Radio 963 and 1377 AM contravened the authority’s news and current affairs code in April when it broadcast an advertisement which identified the local Liberal Democrat candidate as “the first Asian from the North West in the MEP election”.

It also ran a message saying: “We congratulate him from North West and pray for his success.”

According to the Radio Authority, the politician was given undue prominence on the station.

The Broadcasting Act 1990 dictates: “Where the licensed service is a local, satellite or licensable sound programme service, that undue prominence is not given in its programmes to the views and opinions of particular persons or bodies on such [political or industrial controversy] matters.” The broadcast also breached the Radio Authority’s advertising code, which prohibits political advertising.

In the ruling, authority chairman Richard Hooper said: “The serious nature of the breaches and obvious failure of compliance by the licensee are of great concern.

“The rules on political advertising and undue prominence go to the heart of the regulatory process and must be adhered to at all times.”

By Wale Azeez

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