Letters, Ofcom’s decision on UKIP: “if the official body can’t fulfil its statutory duty…we need to be worried”

Re: Ofcom deems UKIP’s anti-Turkey broadcast to be acceptable, 22. Feb 2016


Dear T-VINE,

Ofcom’s response to UKIP’s recent anti-Turkey broadcast was disappointing to say the least. Media regulating itself doesn’t work. Yet if the official body regulating the industry can’t fulfil its statutory duty and protect us “from harmful or offensive material”, we need to be worried.

As your article rightly points out, Ofcom’s decision on UKIP’s ad is highly flawed. Given their decisions on anti-semitic content, British Turks are right to ask whether the UK regulator truly cares about broadcasts which are harmful or offensive to other ethnic and religious groups.

A combination of vested interests and ignorance seems to be at play here, with Ofcom seemingly unable or unwilling to check prejudices that exist, let alone clamp down on broadcasts littered with racial and religious bigotry, as we saw in this nasty UKIP party political broadcast.

This type of content adds to the general negative climate we see daily in the British media, which continues to get away with vilifying refugees, migrants, Muslims, and many other weak and vulnerable members of our society.

It strikes me that only the best organised and well-funded sections of the community can receive full protection from the regulator. Sadly British Turks are a long way from that.


Dr. Turhan Özen
Chair, UETD UK


Dear T-VINE, 

I completely agree with the T-VINE article: it is difficult to understand how the regulator failed to find any breach given that UKIP also portrayed the entire Turkish nation “as a homogenous group and in overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical terms” and that its advert used “discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of…race, religion) against Turks and Muslims”.

The Ofcom regulator also failed to see the effect of this appalling party political broadcast on the Turkish community which is our main concern. Considering the rise of Islamophobic attacks, we are worried that the negative and stereotypical terms used in this video will have terrible repercussions for the Turkish community living in the UK. Those derogatory remarks used in the advert offended our community and puts our safety at risk.

One can only applaud the decision to investigate Peace TV for their anti-semitic programmes and we would expect the same criteria to be applied to other ethnic or religious groups. Unfortunately this is not the case and means that when it comes to the voiceless or minorities who don’t have powerful lobby groups, Ofcom can easily turn a blind eye. We are very disappointed with this hypocritical decision by Ofcom.

On another note, the picture painted by UKIP does not resemble the Turkey we know. Apart from the other selective facts and misleading figures given in the advert UKIP should be the last one to criticize Turkey on the treatment of minorities with their anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric.

Turkey embraces many different ethnicities and religions who have thrived on those lands for centuries; in fact it is one of the most welcoming countries for fleeing refugees. When Europeans were busy massacring or issuing decrees of expulsion against Jews or when Balkan Muslims were driven out from their lands or when various ethnic groups from Caucasia were fleeing from the slaughter by Armenians and Russians or when Iraqi Kurds sought refuge in Turkey and lately as in the case of the Syrian Muslims belonging to many different sects of Islam, Yazidis and Christians etc. from the war torn lands, they all found refuge in Turkey.


Servet Hassan
President of the Gallipoli Memorial Platform and the General Coordinator of the Turkish Solidarity Group in the UK


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