Sheffield-based radio station Iman FM loses licence

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Anwar al-AwlakiImage source, PA
Image caption,
Iman FM broadcast a series of lectures by radical American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki

A community radio station has had its licence revoked for broadcasting more than 25 hours of lectures by an alleged al-Qaeda leader.

Sheffield-based Iman FM's licence had already been suspended by Ofcom for playing the lectures by radical American Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

An Ofcom spokesperson said: "We take robust action when broadcasters break the rules."

Iman FM previously told Ofcom it was not aware of Awlaki's background.

The station has not yet responded to a BBC request for a comment.

"We have strict rules prohibiting harmful content in programmes likely to incite crime," the Ofcom spokesperson added.

Ofcom said revoking the Broadcasting Act licence was in "the public interest" and Iman Media UK Limited was "unfit to hold a licence".

'Material likely to incite'

The station was awarded a licence in October 2014 and broadcasted over a three-mile (5km) radius in Sheffield but it was suspended on 4 July.

It followed "extremely serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code, after it aired material likely to incite or encourage the commission of crime or to lead to disorder", said Ofcom.

During an investigation, prompted by a complaint from a member of the public, the station gave written and oral evidence.

The radio station's service has been off-air since 4 July and will not be reinstated.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in 2011

In 2011 the United Nations Security Council described Awlaki as a "leader, recruiter and trainer for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula".

His sermons are thought to have inspired terrorist attacks including the attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in 2015 in which 12 people died and the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, in which 13 US soldiers were killed.

Awlaki was killed in a US drone strike in 2011.

The station previously said it had not listened to all of the lectures because of time constraints, it being a small radio station and the broadcasts happening during Ramadan.

Iman FM broadcast a show on 23 June that condemned the lectures and apologised to listeners.

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