Ofcom assessing TalkSport ‘Jew’ comment as ‘matter of urgency’
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Ofcom assessing TalkSport ‘Jew’ comment as ‘matter of urgency’

EXCLUSIVE: Broadcasting regulator is looking into remarks made on the radio station about Tottenham's Jewish owner Daniel Levy which caused fury in the community

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

The broadcasting regulator Ofcom has confirmed it is “assessing as a matter of urgency” radio station TalkSport’s airing of an antisemitic slur against Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.

Jewish News contacted Ofcom after learning of complaints made to the regulator over a broadcast by TalkSport earlier this week in which a caller said of Levy: “He’s a Jew, he’s not going to let him go for nothing, is he?”

Footage aired on TalkSport’s own YouTube channel showed two presenters -Jordan Jarrett Bryan and Perry Groves -failing to challenge the openly racist comment made by the caller.

An Ofcom spokesperson confirmed on Thursday: “We are assessing this issue as a matter of urgency and establishing all the facts.”

Danny Stone, Chief Executive of the Antisemitism Policy Trust said of the regulator’s response; “This is a welcome development.

“I am pleased Ofcom is approaching this matter with the urgency and seriousness that it deserves.

“Given the regulator is to be charged with responsibility for overseeing online safety, it is critical that even if it cannot act in this particular case, it is building knowledge about the routinely poor enforcement of the rules we encounter from social media companies, when it comes to anti-Jewish and other forms of racism being shared or broadcast on their platforms. ”

Communal organisations along with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Antisemitism reacted furiously over the incident and the subsequent failure of two TalkSport presenters to challenge the remarks.

The MP Andrew Percy, who co-chairs the APPG, confirmed in a letter to TalkSport head Lee Clayton that he had lodged a complaint with Ofcom.

His letter highlighted both the broadcast of an antisemitic remark – and the failure of the presenters to condemn and tackle the issue as it happened.

TalkSport subsequently said the broadcast had not gone out on their radio channel, after it was “dumped” due to the seven second delay to live transmissions.

But it had been aired on You Tube for some time as criticism mounted.

Clayton said the channel had suspended their You Tube broadcasts while the matter was looked into.

Some media experts last night said they feared that Ofcom’s existing powers may not be extensive enough to act on this matter – because the Levy slur was broadcast on a socal media channel.

Ofcom’s powers include overseeing television, radio, telephone, and broadband services – but at present they do not have full powers to regulate the internet.

The government is to give Ofcom new powers to force social media companies to act over harmful content.

But Online Harms Bill legislation is still two years away from becoming law.

Reacting to the TalkSport broadcast Tottenham Hotspur said they are “appalled” by the incident

The club said in a statement: “We are under no doubt that if an equivalent comment had been made regarding an individual’s race or other protected characteristic, the response would have been immediate and far-reaching.

“It cannot be acceptable that antisemitism does not receive the same level of condemnation as other forms of discrimination and efforts to tackle it should be no less rigorous.”

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