Ofcom rules Busta’s Koran quote “Not in breach”
Mixed news from Ofcom’s monthly report. The good is that Steve Sutherland and the radio station Galaxy Birmingham were judged “not in breach” for broadcasting the Busta Rhymes track Arab Money.
They had received 229 complaints (evidence suggests there was an orchestrated campaign) because the track samples a couple of verses of drivel from the Koran:
In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful: All Praise is due to God, Lord of the Universe.
Ofcom’s judgement was sensible:
Just because a quotation from a sacred text is included within a song does not in itself constitute a breach of generally accepted standards. Ofcom considered that the large majority of the audience would, in general, have not considered the material to be beyond what would normally be expected in a programme of this type, on this particular station. Given this, the time of broadcast, and the likelihood that the degree of offence from these comments to the audience overall would be limited, Ofcom considered that the broadcast of this offensive material was, on balance, justified by the context.
Which doesn’t quite make up for the craven way the Global Radio reacted when they received complaints:
14 Global said that in the days following the broadcast, it took a number of steps: the station broadcast an on-air apology nine times; Global contacted the Muslim Council of Britain to seek advice on this matter; it suspended the presenter and producer pending an internal investigation; and it put in place measures to ensure that no presenter on the Galaxy Network would play tracks in future, without a full understanding of the content.