FAQ: UK Regulators

 Who are they?

MelonFarmers   BuyingHardcore   ImportingHardcore   Naturism   Dogging-Swinging   Regulators  


ASA logo

Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)

  • ASA
  • CAP
  • BCAP
The ASA write and enforce advertising rules across most of UK media (including websites as of 1st March 2011)
  • ASA, Advertising Standards Authority, administer the group, deal with complaints from members of the public and enforce the advertising rules
  • CAP, Committee of Advertising Practice,  write and advise about the non-broadcast advertising rules
  • BCAP, Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice,  write and advise about the broadcast advertising rules

ASA Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

ASA

Advertising Standards Authority
Mid City Place
71 High Holborn
London
WC1V 6QT

Tel: 020 7492 2222
E-mail: enquiries@asa.org.uk

www.asa.org.uk

CAP/BCAP

Tel: 020 7492 2100 for advertising advice
Email: advice@cap.org.uk

www.bcap.org.uk

Authority for Television on Demand (ATVOD)

 

ATVOD was the Internet TV censor until 1st January 2016. Now its duties have been taken over by Ofcom  

BBFC logo

British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)

Film Censor with the remit:
  • cinema film
  • video/DVD/Blu-ray
  • online film (a voluntary scheme)
  • computer games, role due to end in Autumn 2011
  • internet website and mobile content classification

The BBFC is an independent company tasked with UK film, video and games censorship. It is funded through classification fees.

For cinema the BBFC historically represented the interests of the film industry to ensure that film makers avoided legal issues from obscenity law etc. BBFC cinema ratings are advisory and the ultimate censorship responsibility lies with local authorities. In the vast majority of cases BBFC advice is accepted by councils. But advice has often been overruled to ban BBFC certificated films or to allow BBFC banned films.

For home video, DVD, Blu-ray and some video games, the BBFC acts as a government designated censor. BBFC decisions are enforced by law via the Video Recordings Act of 2010.

For online films the BBFC offers a voluntary scheme of reusing BBFC vide certificates for online works. The BBFC will also rate online  exclusive material if requested. Note that the Video Recordings Act does not apply online and content is only governed by the law of the land, particularly the Obscene Publications Act and Dangerous Pictures Act.

The BBFC is due to relinquish responsibility for video games in July 2012. The Video Standards Council will take over the role and ratings will be provided using Europe wide PEGI ratings and symbols.

Not that rejected home media is banned from sale. It is not generally illegal to possess. However criminal law makes it illegal to possess child & extreme porn.

BBFC Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

BBFC
3 Soho Square,
London,
W1V 6HD

Tel: 020 7440 1570
Email: contact_the_bbfc@bbfc.co.uk

www.bbfc.co.uk
Parent's BBFC
Student's BBFC
Children's BBFC

BBFC Directors:

  • John Trevelyan 1958-1971
  • Stephen Murphy 1971-1975
  • James Ferman 1975-1999
  • Robin Duval 1999-2004
  • David Cooke 2004-present

BBFC Ratings:

  • U: Universal: Suitable for all
     
  • PG: Parental Guidance: General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children
     
  • 12A: Suitable for 12 years and over. No-one younger than 12 may see a 12A film in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult. [cinema only]
     
  • 12: Suitable for 12 years and over. No-one younger than 12 may rent or buy a 12 rated video or DVD. Responsibility for allowing under-12s to view lies with the accompanying or supervising adult.. [home media only]
     
  • 15: No-one younger than 15 may see a 15 film in a cinema. No-one younger than 15 may rent or buy a 15 rated video or DVD.
     
  • 18: No-one younger than 18 may see an 18 film in a cinema. No-one younger than 18 may rent or buy an 18 rated video.
     
  • R18: To be supplied only in licensed sex shops to persons of not less than 18 years. Hardcore pornography is allowed in this category
     
  • Rejected. The BBFC has the power to ban the sale of home media. A rejected cinema film may be shown with permission of the local authority.

BBC logo

British Broadcasting Corporation
(BBC)

UK state Radio and TV broadcaster

The BBC has had a history of self regulation but now Ofcom has also been appointed to some aspects of TV censorship applied to the BBC. A memorandum of understanding between the 2 parties states:

Both the BBC and Ofcom have duties to consider standards complaints. The Trust is required to establish and maintain procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints about standards in the content of the BBC's services, including complaints regarding BBC editorial guidelines designed to secure appropriate standards, accuracy and impartiality, Ofcom's Fairness Code and the relevant programme standards as set out above. Ofcom is also required to consider and adjudicate on fairness complaints and to establish procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints about the observance by the BBC of standards referred to above.

BBC Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

BBC
Wood Lane
London
W12 7RJ

www.bbc.co.uk

Complaints:

BBC Complaints
PO Box 1922
Darlington
DL3 0UR

Tel: 03700 100 222
Online: www.bbc.co.uk

BBC Trust

BBC Trust

The BBC Trust is the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). It is operationally independent of BBC management and external bodies, and aims to act in the best interests of licence fee payers.

The Trust is supported by a team of 70 staff, known as the Trust Unit. These staff are independent from the BBC Executive and include specialists in audience research, performance analysis, and finance.

BBC Trust Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

BBC Trust Unit
180 Great Portland Street
London
W1W 5QZ

Email: trust.enquiries@bbc.co.uk

cinema advertising association logo
 

Cinema Advertising Association

The Cinema Advertising Association took over responsibility for pre-vetting cinema adverts in April 2016. The BBFC retains responsibility for trailers and public information films.

The primary function of the CAA is to promote, monitor and maintain standards of cinema advertising. This includes pre-vetting all cinema commercials to ensure conformity with relevant advertising codes.

The CAA Copy Panel clears commercials for exhibition in cinemas in the UK and Republic of Ireland. No commercial may be exhibited in a cinema unless it has been cleared. For exhibition in the UK, cinema commercials must comply with the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code). There will be a charge of 100 + vat per item for this service
 

Cinema Advertising Association
Corinthian House
279 Tottenham Court Road
London
W1T 7RJ

Tel: +44 20 7199 2433 Email: submissions@cinemaadvertisingassociation.com

Website: cinemaadvertisingassociation.co.uk

Complaints: Complaints page

channel 4 logo

Channel 4
 

Channel 4 is a UK commercial TV broadcaster

Melon Farmers Pages:

Channel 4 Enquiries
PO Box 1058
Belfast BT1 9DU

Tel: 0845 076 0191 Viewer enquiries

www.channel4.com

Channel 5 logo

Channel 5

Channel 5 is a UK commercial TV broadcaster

Channel 5 Pages

Melon Farmers Pages:

Customer Services
Five Television
22 Long Acre
London
WC2E 9LY

Tel: 08457 050505
Tel: 020 7421 7270

Email: customerservices@five.tv

www.channel5.com

Clearcast logo

Clearcast

Clearcast are not official regulators. They are a group funded by broadcasters. Clearcast maintain expertise about ASA/TV advertising rules for the benefit of broadcasters and advertisers.

Broadcast advertisers submit adverts to Clearcast for approval. Clearcast also assign child protection restrictions.

Clearcast decisions can be, and often are, challenged by the ultimate advertising censors of the ASA

Clearcast Pages

Melon Farmers Pages:

Note: Public complaints about broadcast advertising should be addressed to the ASA

Clearcast
4 Roger Street
2nd & 3rd Floor
London
WC1N 2JX

Tel: 020 7339 4700
Email: enquiries@clearcast.co.uk

www.clearcast.co.uk

Crown Prosecution Service

Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)

The Crown Prosecution Service is the Government Department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

It is responsible for:

  • advising the police on cases for possible prosecution;
  • reviewing cases submitted by the police;
  • determining any charges in all but minor cases;
  • preparing cases for court;
  • presenting cases at court.

The CPS define many of the archaic BBFC guidelines used for censoring R18 hardcore.

In general the CPS maintain their current interpretation of vague laws used to decide when prosecutions will take place.

CPS Pages

The Crown Prosecution Service
Rose Court
2 Southwark Bridge
London
SE1 9HS

Tel: 020 3357 0000

www.cps.gov.uk

DCMS logo

Department for Culture, Media and Sport
(DCMS)
 

Government department responsible for film and broadcasting.

Often the final responsibility for censorship reverts to the Home Office, especially when the censorial line is defined by legality.

DCMS Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

Department for Culture Media and Sport
2-4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH

Email: enquiries@culture.gov.uk
Tel: 020 7211 6000 for general enquiries

www.culture.gov.uk

rdi logo

Registered Digital Institute

The Registered Digital Institute (RDI) have coordinated the Friendly WiFi kitemark scheme for the censorship of public WiFi.

The RDI is a trade group which promotes digital installation and digital service providers directly to the consumer. The institutes explains its role in setting up a standard for internet website blocking for public WiFi:

During his 2013 NSPCC speech on online safety, David Cameron announced that an agreement was in place with the UK's main Wi-Fi providers to commit to applying a level of filtering across all of their standard public Wi-Fi services, which are easily accessed by children and young people. Mr Cameron also highlighted the need to develop an industry-recognised and trusted symbol, which businesses could display to show customers that their public Wi-Fi is properly filtered. Discussions around the development of such a scheme and symbol began 12 months ago, when the RDI were asked to work in collaboration with The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), the Government and the UK's main Wi-Fi Providers, to design, develop and launch the UK-wide Friendly WiFi scheme that we see today.

Consumer facing website:

Corporate website:

Registered Digital Institute Ltd
Murlain Business Centre
Murlain Hous
Union Street
Chester
CH1 1QP

General Enquiries E: info@rdi-online.co.uk

 

Home Offie logo

Home Office
 

Government department responsible for most law and order issues that underpin UK censorship

Home Office Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

Direct Communications Unit (public enquiries)
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Email: public.enquiries@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Tel: 020 7035 4848 for public enquiries

www.homeoffice.gov.uk

ICSTIS
 
Now Phone-Paid Services Authority  
impress 2016 logo

IMPRESS
 

Impress is a UK press regulator following the template suggested by the Leveson report on press regulation in the UK. It was launched in 2016 but has not achieved widespread support from the major newspapers who have elected for regulation by the rival organisation, IPSO.

IMPRESS 83 Victoria Street London SW1H 0HW T +44 (0)20 3585 4160 E info@impress.press

 

IMPRESS
83 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0HW

Tel: +44 (0)20 3585 4160
Email: info@impress.press

impress.press

ipso 2016 logo

Independent Press Standards Organisation (ipso)

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is the independent regulator for the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK. It holds newspapers and magazines to account for their actions, protect individual rights, uphold high standards of journalism and help to maintain freedom of expression for the press.

It was born in 2014 in the wake of the previous organisation, PCC failing to get a handle on the press phone hacking scandal, Lord Leveson was commissioned to lead a wide ranging inquiry into press and media regulation.

The result was that PCC gave way to IPSO which is an organisation supported by most of the British newspapers. A second rival organisation, Impress, was also created with a set up more like that preferred by the Government, however it enjoys less support from the major players of the UK press.

Ipso describes its work as follows:

  • We make sure that member newspapers and magazines follow the Editors' Code.
  • We investigate complaints about printed and online material that may breach the Editors' Code.
  • We can make newspapers and magazines publish corrections or adjudications if they breach the Editors' Code (including on their front page).
  • We monitor press standards and require member newspapers and magazines to submit an annual statement about how they follow the Editors' Code and handle any complaints.
  • We can investigate serious standards failings and can fine publishers up to 1 million in cases where they are particularly serious and systemic.
  • We operate a 24-hour anti-harassment advice line.
  • We provide advice for editors and journalists.
  • We provide training and guidance for journalists so they can uphold the highest possible standards.
  • We provide a Whistleblowing Hotline for journalists who feel they are being pressured to act in a way that is not in line with the Editors' Code.
  • We work with charities, NGOs and other organisations to support and improve press standards.

Melon Farmers Pages:

Independent Press Standards Organisation
Gate House
1 Farringdon Street
London
EC4M 7LG

Tel: 0300 123 22 20
Email: inquiries@ipso.co.uk Address

www.ipso.co.uk
 

ITV logo

Independent Television
(ITV)

Commercial TV network

The ITV Network is made up of 15 regional licences. 11 of the licences in England and Wales are owned by ITV Plc, formed in 2004 following the merger of Carlton and Granada. SMG owns the two Scottish licences, Scottish Television and Grampian; UTV and Channel Television own the licences for Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands respectively.

ITV Pages

Melon Farmers Pages:

Viewer Services
ITV Plc
Gas Street
Birmingham
B1 2JT

Tel: 0844 88 14150
Email: viewerservices@itv.com

www.itv.com

information commissioners office logo

Information Commissioner's Office

The Information Commissioner's Office is a non-departmental public body which reports directly to Parliament and is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.

It is the independent regulatory office dealing with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 across the UK; and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and, to a limited extent, in Scotland.

ICO Pages

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Helpline: 0303 123 1113 (Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm)

Tel: 01625 545 745

ico.org.uk

IWF logo

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF)

An organisation established and funded by the internet industry mainly targeted at removing or blocking child abuse material

The IWF coordinates take downs of illegal material reported or found on UK hosted websites. It maintains a list of blocked websites of foreign hosted material for UK ISPs to implement

Thankfully the IWF is keeping its focus on its role to remove child abuse images. It does also have a remit to take down other UK hosted material:

  • adult material if it is found to be 'criminally obscene'
  • non-photographic child porn images

IWF Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

The Internet Watch Foundation
East View
5 Coles Lane
Oakington
Cambridge
CB24 3BA

Tel: +44 (0) 1223 237 700
Email: information@iwf.org.uk

www.iwf.org.uk

Ministry of Justice logo

Ministry of Justice

UK Government department responsible for the law court service and hence the ultimate British censors.

Ministry of Justice Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
London
SW1H 9AJ
United Kingdom

Email: general.queries@justice.gsi.gov.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 3334 3555 for general enquiries

www.justice.gov.uk

Ofcom logo

Office of Communications
(Ofcom)

The Office of Communications.

A censor with multiple roles. Roles of Interest to Melon Farmers are:

  • TV censors for nearly all radio/TV/cable/satellite except for the BBC
  • Internet censors for Video on Demand. This task has been delegated to ATVOD  but Ofcom retain the ultimate authority *
  • Internet censors for copyright/file sharing issues
  • Advert Censors for the limited role of TV channels which exist mainly to advertise premium rate telephone services (such as babe channels)

* ATVOD have now been sacked by Ofcom and Ofcom will takeover Video on Demand censorship duties from January 1st 2016.

Ofcom Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

Ofcom
Riverside House
2a Southwark Bridge Road
London
SE1 9HA

Tel: 0300 123 3333 public complaints
Tel: 020 7981 3040 public complaints

Tel: 0300 123 3000 general switchboard
Tel: 020 7981 3000 general switchboard

www.ofcom.org.uk

Parent Port Logo

ParentPort

ParentPort is a website run jointly by the UK's media censors.

It is a central reporting point for parents to complain about anything they see on the media. Complaints to ParentPort will then be forwarded to the appropriate censor.

Parent Port Pages:

www.parentport.org.uk

phone paid services authority. logo

Phone-Paid Services Authority
 

The Phone-paid Services Authority is the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.

Phone-paid services are the goods and services that you can buy by charging the cost to your phone bill or pre-pay account. They include directory enquiries, voting on TV talent shows, donating to charity by text or downloading apps on your mobile phone. They are referred to as premium rate services in law.

The organisation wasp previously known as PhonepayPlus, and before that, ICSTIS.

Tel: 0300 30 300 20 General enquiries (standard rate)

See psauthority.org.uk

PhonepayPlus
 

Now Phone-paid Service Authority, see above  

Press Complaints Commission (PCC)
 

Superceded by ipso  

racc logo

Radio Advertising Clearance Centre

Radio Advertising Clearance Centre.

The RACC is not an official censor. It is funded by commercial radio stations to maintain expertise and provide advice about the current radio advertising rules.

Radio advertisers then pay copy clearance fees to the RACC.

Commercial radio stations have to ensure advertising compliance.

They must follow the rules of The BCAP UK Code of Broadcast Advertising.

RACC Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

Note: Public complaints about radio advertising should be addressed to the ASA

RadioCentre Ltd
4th Floor
5 Golden Square
London W1F 9BS

Tel: 020 3206 7808
adclear@racc.co.uk

www.racc.co.uk

Sky TV

Sky (BSkyB)
 

Sky satellite TV broadcaster.

Melon Farmers Pages:

6 Centaurs Business Park,
Grant Way
Isleworth
Middlesex
TW7 5QD

Tel: 08442 410 265 for programme comments

www.sky.com

vsc rating board logo

Video Standards Council
(VSC)

  • VSC Rating Board

  • Games Rating Authority

The Video Standards Council become the UK video game censors starting up in summer 2012. They oversee the application of pan-European PEGI ratings, but can override these with a UK ban if it is felt necessary. I haven't spotted this happening so far though (2017).

The VSC has introduced a couple of names to reflect this role. The organisation first renamed it self Games Rating Authority but has now settled on VSC Rating Board.

Video Standards Council Pages:

Melon Farmers Pages:

VSC
Kinetic Business Centre
Theobald Street
Borehamwood
WD6 4PJ

Tel: 0208 387 4020
Email: vsc@videostandards.org.uk

www.videostandards.org.uk

 

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