The BBC is to publish detailed information about the complaints it receives from viewers after Ofcom , the TV censor, demanded that the corporation become
Under new rules the BBC will have to reveal the number of complaints it receives every fortnight, identify the shows that received more than 100 complaints, and explain the editorial issues raised by the complaints and whether they were upheld.
Ofcom's demand has prompted an angry response from the BBC, which initially fought against publishing the figures amid concerns that it would be expensive and time-consuming.
The BBC is expected to publish the first wave of information about complaints under the new system within the next few days.
We received complaints from some viewers about the programme's coverage of recent allegations of sexual harassment at Westminster.
Have I Got News For You is a long-running panel show that takes a satirical approach to covering the latest news stories and events. It has built a reputation for irreverent satire and, as such, contains jokes and provocative comment rather than
genuine political reporting or debate.
The programme has dealt with many subjects over the last 27 years, and this show reflected the speculation around the biggest news story at the time of record. Given the extensive coverage that arose from allegations of sexual misconduct in
Westminster it would have been odd for Have I Got News For You to ignore this story.
Guests are booked in advance, rather than for particular topics, and we try very hard to book guests from all areas of the political spectrum. This means there will sometimes be panel members with views that the audience and others on the show may
disagree with. We do not necessarily share or endorse the views of the panellists and their material doesn't reflect the opinions of the BBC. The host is also there to chair the show and to add perspective and balance when needs be 203 as we saw
when Jo Brand made her points so eloquently in taking panel members to task in this edition.
While most viewers know what to expect from the programme, it doesn't set out to deliberately offend viewers. Its purpose is to be entertaining and to maintain the standards the show has set over the last 27 years. That said, we accept that tastes
vary enormously and that some viewers might have a different point of view.
The BBC is facing a court battle after it defied Ofcom orders to publish figures on complaints about its shows.
Channel 4 and ITV already disclose the numbers, and release detailed information about objections to their programmes every two weeks. But the BBC nsists on keeping that information a secret. Perhaps this more about revealing political accusations
of bias rather than trivial whinges by the 'easily offended.
Now TV censor Ofcom has waded in and told the BBC it has no choice but to become more transparent. Ofcom insiders have also made it clear that they are prepared to go to court over the matter if the BBC digs its heels in. Sharon White, Ofcom's
chief executive, regards it as an important point of principle.
Kevin Bakhurst, an Ofcom director and a former BBC news boss, has told Corporation executives they need to comply. In a strongly worded letter, seen by the Mail, he said:
The greater transparency we propose is necessary to build and maintain public confidence in the operation of the BBC... and to provide public accountability.
Ofcom has given the BBC until the November 19 to comply with orders and publish fortnightly complaints bulletins that go into the same level of detail as Ofcom's reports about Channel 4, ITV, Five, Sky and other broadcasters.
BBC bosses will then have to publish the exact number of complaints the Corporation receives about every programme that registers 100 or more objections. Every time a complaint sparks an investigation, it will also be forced to disclose full
details of the complaints, the points of principles at stake and the outcome of its probe.
A BBC spokesman has responded:
The BBC is already the most transparent broadcaster on complaints, including publishing data every month and responding on our website, and numbers are often influenced by orchestrated political campaigns but of course we are considering Ofcom's
The BBC is currently overhauling its complaints system after Ofcom took over censorship duties in April, replacing the BBC Trust. However there is still a
part of the process where viewers have to complain to the BBC first before seeking recourse with Ofcom.
The Countryside Alliance has clashed with BBC bosses over the new framework which the group believes does not improve the process and only allows viewers to go to Ofcom after a three stage process. In a letter to the corporation, Tim Bonner, the
alliance's chief executive, said this process could take several months and urged a rethink. He wrote:
Given the timescales for responding, it is likely that it could take several months before a complaint could be seen by Ofcom if the complainant were unhappy with the responses received from the BBC. We are not satisfied that this provides the
expected level of oversight which Ofcom was intended to have in the new Charter.
The Countryside Alliance, a group lobbying for hunting and shooting, previously came off worse when complaining that Springwatch presenter Chris Packham referred to them as the 'Nasty Brigade' in a BBC magazine article. Presumably they feel
that when they did not get what they wanted from the BBC Trust then they would like to give Ofcom a shot.
Bonner said that the alliance had submitted a number of complaints to the BBC and BBC Trust over the past 18 months which have not been upheld. He added:
We would have welcomed the opportunity to pursue our complaints with Ofcom at the earliest possible opportunity in order for an external regulator to review the complaints independently.
The BBC's royal charter specifically allows the BBC to try to try to resolve complaints in the first instance before they are passed to Ofcom.
Effective from 3 April 2017, Ofcom has become the BBC's first external TV censor.
The BBC Trust has therefore ceased to be. The remaining governance functions carried out by the BBC Trust will move to the new BBC unitary board.
Programmes made for UK audiences: The BBC's spending on brand new UK commissioned programmes fell 30% in real-terms between 2004 and 2015. Therefore, we are proposing quotas for first-run UK originations programmes to be shown on BBC One, BBC Two,
CBeebies and CBBC.
Under our plans, three quarters of all programme hours on the BBC's most popular TV channels should be original productions, commissioned for UK audiences. During peak viewing time 203 from 6pm to 10.30pm 203 at least 90% of programmes on BBC Two
should be original, matching the current requirement for BBC One (see table below).
News and current affairs: We plan to increase the previous requirements for news and current affairs 203 including for BBC One and BBC Two 203 where they have been exceeded, to safeguard this important genre. During peak listening periods, Radio 2 would
be required, for the first time, to air at least three hours of news and current affairs per week, and Radio 1 to broadcast an extended news bulletin in peak-time listening each weekday. Neither station currently has these obligations during peak
Music: The BBC plays a unique role in showcasing musical talent and genres to people across the country. Our rules would mean a significant proportion of the new music played by Radio 1 and Radio 2 should be from new and emerging UK artists. Radio 3
should continue to play a central role in supporting the UK's classical music scene, commissioning at least 25 new musical works each year, and developing relationships with non-BBC UK orchestras, opera companies and festivals.
Arts and learning: Our plans would mean that BBC One and BBC Two would have tougher requirements for showing arts, music and religious programmes, including new requirements to show some during peak viewing times.
Children: New rules would require CBBC to show at least 400 hours 203 and CBeebies at least 100 hours 203 of brand new UK commissioned programming each year. CBeebies would have to provide content in a number of genres that support pre-school children's
Sport: The BBC should provide distinctive sports coverage for fans in all the UK's nations. Ofcom's research found that people want the BBC to cover a wide range of sports. So we will require Radio 5 Live to provide live commentary, news and programmes
covering at least 20 sports, to help support those that are not getting the attention they deserve.
Reflecting the whole UK: Ofcom wants all parts of the UK to be reflected, and invested in, by the BBC. So we are introducing minimum quotas for each UK nation. This means the BBC must spend the same on programmes, per head, in England, Northern Ireland,
Scotland and Wales, as well as ensuring that at least half of all programmes shown nationally and produced in the UK are made outside of London.
Also, we will soon review our guidance on programmes made outside London, to ensure these productions make a genuine contribution to the creative economies of the UK's nations and regions, which could include greater programme making or investment in
There would be a new Diversity Code of Practice to set how the BBC will commission programmes that authentically portray the whole UK population. And the BBC will have to report annually on how it has reflected, represented and served the diverse
communities of the whole UK 203 focusing on age, gender, disability and race, among other characteristics.
High programme standards: To hold the BBC's programmes to the highest standards, Ofcom has today published updates to the Broadcasting Code 203 the rulebook for UK broadcasters which sets standards for the content of programmes. Today's changes will see
that, for the first time, the Code applies in full to BBC broadcasting services and the iPlayer.
The BBC is refusing an order to pay £9 million a year to the TV censor Ofcom, in a behind-the-scenes row over the cost of the corporation's new
Ofcom, which will take on responsibility for censoring the BBC in April, is locked in a private battle after warning BBC executives that it wants to appoint double the number of staff the BBC Trust, the broadcaster's current ruling body, currently
employs to censor the broadcaster.
The move will add more than £5 million to the regulatory bill currently footed by the licence fee payer, roughly equivalent to what the BBC spends on a six-part drama series .
The corporation is understood to have appealed to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, to force Ofcom to reduce its fees. Sue Owen, permanent secretary at the DCMS, is understood to have written to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, calling on
her to cut the planned fees, but White is said to have argued that the proposed charges are 'reasonable'.
The corporation is said to be particularly annoyed that Ofcom has demanded £6.5 million for the past financial year, which covers a period before the broadcaster assumes its full regulatory duties.
Ofcom insists that it will have a more wide-ranging role than the Trust, and will have to hold the BBC to account on new political correctness issues such as diversity targets.
The BBC have responded to complaints about a Robbie Williams concert playing before and after the New Year countdown.
It is now a characteristic of the BBC News to desperately avoid mentioning anything that may not be politically correct even if t leaves readers totally baffled. Here is what the BBC said about the complaints:
We received complaints from some viewers unhappy with elements of the Robbie Williams concert broadcast in the build-up to and after the fireworks.
BBC One has a long-standing history of ringing in the New Year with our audience. In recent years we have sought to enhance this special night by showcasing special live performances by some of the most successful artists/entertainers around.
Robbie Williams is no exception to this; he is one of the UK's most successful solo male artists with an incredibly successful songbook of popular hits and millions tuned in to watch his live performance. Robbie's on-stage persona is now very well known,
intended as tongue-in-cheek and that is very much part of his appeal. However, we do appreciate that it may not be to everyone's taste.
Although the live concert started nearly two and a half hours after the 9pm watershed, and followed a late evening of adult-skewed programming, namely Mrs Brown's Boys and The Graham Norton Show , we were mindful of the wider audience who
might join BBC One to watch the fireworks. Robbie Williams was aware of this, and we placed particular emphasis on the part of his concert running up to the fireworks.
This was not a BBC event and whilst it was unfortunate that some of the staging, Robbie's stage antics, and the language upset some viewers, we hoped it was at least clear from watching it that Robbie had been clearly briefed about any use of strong
language beforehand by BBC Management.
We hope that for the majority of viewers watching BBC One, the tone of the overall concert remained within general audience expectations for what was billed as a unique late-night Robbie Williams live performance.
It's a good job other news sources can actually say what was actually going on. The Metro revealed:
Robbie Williams will have royally pissed off the BBC after getting his live audience to swear on TV.
The notoriously naughty singer was live from Central Hall in Westminster on December 31 building up to Big Ben's momentous chimes with a New Year's Eve concert and after two songs, he was quick to tell everyone that Beeb bosses had banned him from saying
the F word, the C word, and the S word .
But that wasn't going to stop Robbie, who instead realised that he was never told he couldn't get his fans to swear for him. What followed a rendition of his hit Come Undone with the crowd singing the words he was not allowed to sing -- and fans
at home were loving it.
Update: Ofcom uninterested
24th January 2017
Ofcom have dismissed 14 complaints about the Robbie Williams televised concert without a formal investgation.
Australian advert censors of the Advertising Standards Board have upheld complaints about an unofficial tourism advert promoting holidays in the New Territories (NT). The advert read 'CU' (see you) 'in the' (smaller letters) 'NT'.
The censors ruled that the language was obscene and not appropriate in advertising in any form .
Many believed it was an official tourism campaign after it went viral in November , but the territory's tourism authority said it was not involved. The creators of the ad, NTOfficial.com, describe themselves as a brand that aims to represent the true
spirit of the Northern Territory .
The BBC were a bit cryptic about describing the advert and only included half the picture. The BBC described the advert as follows:
An unofficial slogan for Australia's Northern Territory has been declared obscene by a standards watchdog, two months after it swept the internet. The advert used an acronym for See You in the Northern Territory to effectively spell a