Scottish BBC bosses are warning easily offended viewers that swearing may be heard during Gaelic football coverage. BBC Alba issued a new disclaimer because they claimed they don't have time to edit colourful language used by fans and footballers
during pre-watershed games.
The announcement comes after the Gaelic Beeb channel just last month secured a new broadcast deal for live match-coverage with the Scottish Premier League.
Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-UK, spouted:
You can see why BBC bosses are being careful and it's a wise move but I really wish they didn't have to do this.
It's sad when it becomes normal to hear swearing during a match on live TV.
Footballers should be aware this can be picked up by children in the ground and watching at home.
A spokesman for BBC Alba said:
It is required of the channel to warn viewers of the presence of offensive language within a broadcast which we do not have time to edit out before transmission.
The UK [website blocking] proposal involves an independent regulator which would be tasked with setting clear parameters of what would, and what would not be, acceptable on a clean feed . Websites which felt they were being unfairly
blocked would have a right to appeal any decision.
Earlier this year we found that our website and blog were being blocked by filters designed to offer a safe browsing experience for children on mobile devices. These filters are applied as a default on all mobile devices which access the
internet unless adult users choose to remove them. Although neither our blog nor our website include pornography such material is alluded to in the context of our campaign and our sites were being filtered out.
We contacted the Mobile Broadband Group and pointed out the misclassification and it was a simple matter to get the restrictions lifted.
In 1964, Mary Whitehouse launched a campaign to fight what she called the propaganda of disbelief, doubt and dirt being poured into homes through the nation's radio and television sets. Whitehouse, senior mistress at a Shropshire
secondary school, became the unlikely figurehead of a mass movement: the National Viewers' and Listeners' Association.
For almost forty years, she kept up the fight against the programme makers, politicians, pop stars and playwrights who she felt were dragging British culture into a sewer of blasphemy and obscenity.
From Dr Who ('Teatime brutality for tots') to Dennis Potter (whose mother sued her for libel and won) to the Beatles - (whose Magical Mystery Tour escaped her intervention by the skin of its psychedelic teeth) - the list of Mary Whitehouse's
targets will read to some like a nostalgic roll of honour.
Caricatured while she lived as a figure of middle-brow reaction, Mary Whitehouse was held in contempt by the country's intellectual elite. But were some of the dangers she warned of more real than they imagined?
Ben Thompson's selection of material from her extraordinary archive shows Mary Whitehouse's legacy in a startling new light.
From her exquisitely testy exchanges with successive BBC Directors General, to the anguished screeds penned by her television and radio vigilantes, these letters reveal a complex and combative individual, whose anxieties about culture and
morality are often eerily relevant to the age of the internet.
The Welsh branch of the Mother's Union is set to launch a campaign for further TV censorship targeting supposedly unsuitable pre-watershed programmes.
Parents are being asked to lobby TV censor Ofcom by sending bilingual postcards complaining about the sexualised content and swearing on television and radio programmes that young children watch or listen to.
The campaign, being launched at the Senedd, is part of the Mothers' Union's UK-wide campaign called Bye Buy Childhood . Sheila Jones, a social policy officer for the charity said:
Having gone around Wales talking to people about the Bye Buy Childhood campaign, we met lots of people who were appalled at the amount of material on television before 9pm which they felt was inappropriate for children.
They were unhappy with suggestive moves and songs in staged dances, for example, the dress code of some young presenters and the amount of bad language. Many of them were people who would not naturally go online to voice their concerns so we
thought that a bilingual postcard they could fill in would be the most effective way for them to protest.
Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch-UK, commended the campaign and said many of the sexualised messages sent to our children were very subtle:
I recently complained to Ofcom about the latest series of X Factor, which my primary school-aged daughter watches before the 9pm watershed. It had a stripper on there with a lime green thong and a fishnet bodystocking on top.
She did a very provocative dance and a lap-dance on Louis Walsh. This didn't need to be broadcast. I feel there is a really subtle effect teaching our children that trying to make it to be successful or famous is to take your clothes off.
There were similar issues with half naked performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera on the same show a few years ago. Ofcom didn't regulate and said it was 'right at the margins of acceptability.'
By failing to regulate that margin has become quite mainstream and the boundaries keep being pushed.
More than 10,000 postcards will be distributed to members of the Mothers' Union in Wales to start the campaign.
English National Opera is under fire from Mediawatch-UK and a few tweeters after using a double entendre to promote its new production of Don Giovanni . The poster depicts a used condom packet and the words: Don Giovanni. Coming soon.
A spokeswoman for ENO said:
Given the subject of the piece, the marketing campaign for Rufus Norris's production reflects the opera itself.
We wanted an eye-catching ad to promote the opera. We came up with this idea which we think is brilliant, funny and captures the idea of Don G in a witty way.
Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch-UK, said the ad was clever in itself but contributed to the hyper-sexualisation of society.
The Sun introduced a topless girl on page 3 in November 1970; it was the first time a British newspaper had run a nude photograph and, although controversial, it boosted circulation so from 1975 it became a daily feature.
From our perspective in 2012, with hard-core pornography available to all at the click of a mouse, it can seem so innocent. However page 3 lead the way and has contributed to the objectification and commodification of women and their
bodies in our society. It paved the way for much stronger images becoming mainstream in newspapers, magazines and on screen.
As such it has impacted all of us whether or not we buy or read the paper. Parents report that their children are being prematurely sexualised and forced to grow up too fast, cosmetic surgery rates have increased by nearly 20% in the last four
years and an unrealistic body ideal is damaging our society by wreaking havoc with self esteem and affecting health and relationships.
We are delighted that this issue is once again in the news and we hope the petition continues to grow and shows that the picture of women presented by The Sun is unacceptable. But let's not just tinker around the edges; there is an even greater
menace freely available to all.
It is to be hoped that all those who sign this petition also consider the effect that online pornography is having. It's effect on our society - not just those who use it but all of us -- is potentially even more devastating.
The nutter campaigners of Mediawatch-UK have slammed Big Brother bosses for airing footage of Ashleigh Hughes pleasuring Luke Scrase.
A clip of the 21-year-old housemate putting her hand up the 24 year old's shorts in front of the rest of the group aired on Tuesday's (10.07.12) spin-off show Big Brother's Bit On The Side , much to the anger of Mediawatch-UK.
In the footage, Ashleigh giggled and said: tickle, tickle, tickle , while Luke writhed on the bed, telling his housemates he was aroused .
Mediawatch-UK Director Vivienne Pattison whinged:
This is just TV titillation. How low does the show need to get to get ratings? It's a sorry state of affairs if this is entertainment.
The Merchant of Venice is a 2004 USA/Italy/Luxembourg/UK drama by Michael Radford. With Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes and Lynn Collins. See
The BBFC passed the film PG uncut for mild nudity and sex references.
But the Daily Mail ranted:
BBC viewers got a little more skin than they bargained for when they tuned into a lunchtime film of the Merchant Of Venice .
Some were taken aback by repeated scenes of topless women in the 2004 Hollywood version of the story starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons.
As well as around 15 shots of bare breasts there were scenes of a sexual nature. One viewer described it as Shakesperian porn while another suggested it was strange to have shown it at 1.45pm.
The film was just two minutes in before the first sign of nudity -- a woman walking down some steps with her breasts out over the top of her dress. Just a minute later another scene showed a woman on a boat with her breasts exposed as she
flirted with men. Then at about 45 minutes in there was a prolonged segment showing topless women, as well as sexual scenes which included a man groping a woman in a brothel. Just before this a group of topless women were shown on a balcony,
calling out to passing men: Come taste my Christian flesh.
Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch UK said: It is incumbent on broadcasters to check what the content is. This should not have been shown at this time of day.
The BBC was showing the film as part of its Shakespeare season. It defended its decision to air the film saying it had been rated PG. Yet on the BBC's iPlayer service the website warns: Contains adult themes. A BBC2 spokesman said it
didn't feel the content went beyond what was acceptable for a daytime audience, adding the film had been shown at a similar time of day before without viewer concerns.
The Daily Mail reported that the BBC had received four complaints about the broadcast.
Claims that Daniel Bartlam's horrific crime might have been inspired by a Coronation Street storyline has fuelled nutter calls for TV soap opera bosses to show more restraint.
The scene in which John Stape murders a colleague with a hammer was found on the teenager's computer along with a montage of violent scenes from other soap operas including Hollyoaks and Emmerdale , horror films and TV crime dramas.
Nutter group Mediawatch-UK has pleaded with producers to take greater responsibility , stressing the dangers sensational storylines pose to young impressionable fans.
In the past five years 18 murders have been committed in the UK's three main soaps and TV watchdog Ofcom is reported to be seeking assurances from broadcasters about the levels of violence being shown.
Ofcom have a regular whinge at strong language that slips out before the watershed. Broadcasters usually explain the accidental slip up. The latest examples are;
Pick TV, 11 January 2012, 18:00
Road Wars is a fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring the work of traffic police squads in the UK and USA. The licence for Pick TV is held by British Sky Broadcasting Ltd ( Sky or the Licensee ).
Ofcom was alerted to offensive language in this broadcast by two complainants. During this episode, a man was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs and taken to a police station. On the way to the station, the man became violent and
during an altercation that followed he used offensive language. The words fuck or fucking were broadcast five times.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.14 of the Code, which states:
The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed... .
Sky apologised for any offence caused to viewers by the broadcast of offensive language in this programme. The Licensee said that upon discovering the incident it launched an immediate investigation and concluded that the broadcast of this post-
watershed version of Road Wars resulted from human error.
Sony Entertainment Television, 29 January 2012, 20:00
Hanging Up is a comedy drama in which three dysfunctional sisters clash over who should take on the burden of looking after their ailing father. The film has been given a 15 certificate rating by the BBFC.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of the word fucking in this broadcast of the film. Approximately 40 minutes into the film there is the following interchange between sisters Maddy and Eve:
Maddy: I've told you a million times, stop talking to me as if I'm like you!
Eve: Oh, fuck you! [turns to another character] And fuck you!
Sony said that the unedited version of this film carried a restriction that should have automatically prevented it from being scheduled before 9pm, but that a software upgrade on 5 November had disabled a block
automatically preventing this post-watershed content from being scheduled before the watershed.
Ofcom concluded in both cases that the words 'fuck' and 'fucking' broadcast before the watershed were a clear breach of Rule 1.14.
Ofcom Warning to Broadcasters
Ofcom also found Swedish channel TV6 in breach of its rules for an episode of Vampire Diaries shown at 19:00. In this case it was violence that was considered too much for the pre-watershed hour.
Ofcom further decided to publish a general warning to broadcasters against 'fucking' accidents
Ofcom has recently noted a number of cases where material which was originally produced for a post-watershed timeslot has been transmitted unedited or inappropriately edited for transmission pre-watershed or when children are particularly likely
to be listening. This material often contains unsuitable language or violence. In such cases broadcasters frequently explain that such failures have occurred as a result of transmission and/or human errors.
All broadcasters are reminded that they are under a clear duty to ensure that robust procedures are in place, supported by a sufficient number of appropriately qualified and trained staff, to ensure full compliance with the Code.
All broadcasters must check their compliance procedures regularly to confirm they are effective enough to fulfil this requirement. Failure to have adequate procedures in place to ensure compliance with Ofcom's codes is a serious matter.
Ofcom recently made clear that it expects broadcasters to exercise particular care in relation to the protection of children and the compliance of material broadcast before the watershed on television, and on radio when children are particularly
likely to be listening.
Broadcasters are put on notice that any serious or repeated failings in this area are likely to result in Ofcom taking further regulatory action, for example, the consideration of the imposition of statutory sanctions
The Daily Mail prodded Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-uk for a sound bite:
I'm really glad that Ofcom is taking it seriously because it is something we have brought up with them.
What I would really like to see is for them to show teeth and rather than a rap on the knuckles I would like to see some serious censure. We need real and meaningful sanctions.
I think what people want is a regulator with teeth that can show some leadership and be taken seriously.'
6 million people tuned in to BBC1 to watch Birdsong , a raunchy adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's First World War novel.
And an hour into the love story, audiences were given lashings of simulated sex as the two main characters got down to it. Well after the TV watershed though.
Clean-up telly campaigners claim that although the hot scenes were screened after the watershed, they will still be available for young people to access.
Vivienne Pattison, of pressure group Mediawatch UK, said:
It is all too easy for them to get hold of it on BBC iPlayer if they want to.
All they have to do is tick a box to say they're 16 and they're away. We are concerned about children's access to TV programmes on the internet. It's not enough to just put a warning at the start of a programme and make sure it is after the
A spokesman for Ofcom said they had received just a handful of complaints about the sex scenes but the BBC had not received any.
The International Union of Sex Workers is delighted by the unanimous verdicts of not guilty on all counts in the trial of Michael Peacock that concluded at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 6th January.
Michael's courage and determination in pursuing this case was the first challenge to the Obscene Publications Act 1959 for many years. Understandably, most people charged with offences under this Act plead guilty as an innocent plea followed by a
court case that returns a guilty verdict will result in a harsher sentence. This has the effect of leaving police and CPS opinion of what is obscene untested.
The DVDs that were the subject of this prosecution were sold through Michael's website, sleazymichael.com, and on Craigslist. They contained scenes of male fisting, urination and BDSM. Michael was charged with six counts of publishing obscene
articles likely to deprave and corrupt . The jury saw a substantial amount of the content which the police and CPS deemed illegal and required less than two hours deliberation to return unanimous not guilty verdicts on all counts.
Therefore material showing the activities depicted is no longer defined as obscene in law.
It's time to decriminalise sex between consenting adults. Lady Chatterley trial of 1960 (R v Penguin Books) is still quoted as precedent in obscenity trials; the jury's response in R v Peacock shows public opinion has clearly moved on
Catherine Stephens, activist with the International Union of Sex Workers, says:
In a week that has also seen the collapse of the Sheila Farmer trial for brothel keeping, it is time to decriminalise the sexual activities of consenting adults, whether or not they are in front of a camera. These two trials were an appalling
waste of public resources: the law as it stands does nothing to enhance the safety either of the general public or those who work in the adult industry and often actively increases the dangers we face.
Michael Peacock says:
Responsible treatment of pornography would allow adults who want to access sexually explicit materials freedom to do so and protect those who are underage or do not wish to view such content. The current legal framework fails to do either of
these things. I give my thanks to my legal team at Hodge Jones Allen, the judge who heard my case and the twelve people who served on the jury whose maturity and commonsense has changed the law.
Hazel Eracleous, Chair of Backlash comments:
Backlash is delighted that a jury decided it is no longer appropriate to prosecute people based on consensual adult sexual activity. We support the rights of adults to participate in all consensual sexual activities and to watch, read and create
any fictional interpretation of such in any media. We will continue to raise awareness of the unseen consequences of these draconian laws, provide legal advice and defend those same consenting adults caught up in the Extreme Pornography and
Obscene Publication laws.
Myles Jackman, solicitor at Hodge Jones Allen with a specialist interest in obscenity cases states:
This case shows the Obscene Publications Act is no longer effective in the age of the internet.
Jerry Barnett, Chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA), says:
We congratulate Michael Peacock on his victory. The idea that depictions of consenting adult sexual activity can be deemed obscene is a throwback to an earlier age. The adult industry continues to develop and adopt technologies that prevent
children from accessing sexual content. We see no need for adults to be protected from it -- a free society should protect the rights of adults to participate in any consenting sexual act they choose.
In the Press
The judgement seems to have captured little attention from the newspapers with the exception of the Guardian/Observer which has published several items about the news.
Feona Attwood of Sheffield Hallam University, who lectures in sex, communication and culture, and who attended the trial, said:
I think the law does not make sense. All the evidence that was heard was about whether the material had the ability to harm and corrupt. The question now is, what does that actually mean? What is significant is that the jury understood [the
issues at stake].
Attwood, like others experts in the field, believes that the law has been overtaken by new understandings of the way in which people think about sexuality and the depiction of sex including whether a process actually exits that leads to moral
Others who have been deeply critical of the attempted prosecution include solicitor and New Statesman legal blogger David Allen Green. Writing during the case he said:
Obscenity is a curious criminal offence, and many would say that it now has no place in a modern liberal society, especially when all that is being portrayed in any obscene material are the consensual (if unusual) sexual acts between adults.
Cherry Healey: Like A Virgin will air on BBC 3 on Thursday 12th January at 9pm.
The BBC publicity material reads:
Losing one's virginity is one of those life-defining moments that can be intimate, exciting and nerve-wracking all rolled into one. But good or bad, Cherry Healey wants to find out if that one simple little act really does have a lasting impact.
From a girl's first time in the back of a Fiat Panda to a guy who has popped his cherry three...
The Daily Express claims that the BBC is under 'pressure' to axe the documentary about teenage sex that the corporation accepts is not educational. The programme includes the word 'fuck' and discussions about oral sex & sex aids.
Vivienne Pattison, of the nutter campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said:
The show is terrible, almost a freak show. It's also irresponsible, inappropriate, disturbing and even exploitative towards some of those featured in it.
For a programme clearly aimed at a teenage audience it is extremely irresponsible not to include any discussion of safe sex.
Pattison plans to lodge an official complaint with the BBC and Ofcom. She is scathing about the lack of sex education in the show:
If this programme is designed to be educational it clearly fails. If however it is designed as entertainment then it is prurient and exploitative.
It is extraordinary that in following a teenager getting ready to lose her virginity, a bikini wax is filmed as an essential part of her preparation but condoms are not even mentioned.
The programme promises 'essential truths amongst the tales of sex and debauchery, to see if losing your virginity is about more than just 'having sex for the first time'.
However, it delivers an inconclusive mix of titillating detail and voyeuristic confessional. This represents a real missed opportunity for discussion on an important subject and information to help viewers make informed choices.
Ex government minister Ann Widdecombe chipped in:
The BBC should not screen this programme. It seems to me that they are just trying to set new boundaries and to do this at 9pm when a lot of young people will still be up is horrendous.
It is difficult to see how parents and teachers have any chance at all of getting young people to behave responsibly if this is the sort of stuff the BBC is promoting.
It will not help with efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy rates in Britain, which are the highest in Europe.
However, Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley and a member of the Commons Culture Select Committee, said:
If people have a problem with it they can switch their TV off.