Sheffield radio station shut down for good after broadcasting hate speech

Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki
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A community radio station in Sheffield has been forced off the air permanently after broadcasting 25 hours of lectures by an alleged senior al Qaida figure.

Iman FM was told by the regulator, Ofcom, that it was “unfit” to hold a licence after displaying “extremely reckless” conduct in putting out the series of readings by the radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, during Ramadan.

The station, which had been broadcasting since October 2014, had its licence suspended on July 4 and Ofcom has now said it will not be reinstated.

The station claimed it was unaware of the background of al-Awlaki, and that his readings, which Ofcom said “detailed the preparation and justification for taking military action”, were publicly available on YouTube.

In 2011, President Obama authorised the targeted killing of the cleric in a drone strike on Yemen.

Ofcom said the station had broadcast “material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder”.

It said the lectures included “a direct call to action to members of the Muslim community to prepare for and carry out violent action against non-Muslim people”, and “statements clearly condoning and encouraging acts of crime, terrorism or violent behaviour”.

The regulator ruled that the station had failed even to listen to the broadcasts in full before transmitting them, and had demonstrated “a fundamental lack of understanding” of broadcasting requirements.