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London-based Tamil radio station 'Sangamam Radio' breached the regulator’s Programming Code and News & Current Affairs Code by broadcasting songs that supported the Tamil Tigers, a proscribed organisation in the UK. Twelve listeners to the satellite radio station objected to Ofcom in late 2004 about the lyrics of songs played on the station and that the output included programming relayed from the 'Voice of Tigers' station in Sri Lanka. Ofcom asked the station to provide transcripts and English translations of the relevant programmes, but the station said it could not comply because it had “lost” the relevant recordings. Ofcom decided that the offending songs applauded violence in support of a political cause and that a speech by a Tamil leader was not complemented by views from an alternative perspective. Ofcom said its requests for tapes and transcripts “were invariably met with delay and/or incomplete responses and that the station had failed to keep recordings of its output, as required by law. The regulator will meet with the station to explain “the seriousness of its compliance failures” and the fact that a repetition of such problems will result in statutory sanctions being taken.  In other findings, Ofcom said that trial broadcaster 'Sweet FM' in Belfast had breached its regulations because it was unable to provide recordings of its output, following three complaints from listeners alleging that sectarian comments had been made in its programming. The Wireless Company plc was found to be in breach because its trial station 'TWC FM' in Melton Mowbray in December 2003 also failed to keep recordings. This followed a complaint from Ian Perry that the presenters of the station’s final broadcast 'The Final Showdown' had abused and ridiculed him in a way that was unfair, and that information was broadcast to identify him and where he lived. Perry was a director of the earlier 'Pride FM' trial broadcasts in Derby.

[First published in 'The Radio Magazine' as 'Tamil Station Breached Codes', #710, 16 November 2005]

Grant Goddard is a media analyst / radio specialist / radio consultant with thirty years of experience in the broadcasting industry, having held senior management and consultancy roles within the commercial media sector in the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia. Details at

News: London Tamil Station 'Sangamam Radio' Breached Ofcom Codes By Broadcasting Tamil Tiger Songs ©2005 Grant Goddard

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