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  In for a long hunt...

A spat between the Countryside Alliance and the BBC reveals that there could be a lengthy BBC complaints process before complaints reach Ofcom for final arbitration


Link Here 13th August 2017

BBC logoThe 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.

 

 Update: Bad Iman...

Ofcom closes Iman FM for condoning, promoting and encouraging violent behaviour towards non-Muslim people


Link Here 10th August 2017  full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

imam fm logoNotice of Licence Revocation
Iman Media UK Limited

Iman FM is a community radio station broadcasting to the Muslim community in Sheffield and the surrounding areas. The licence for this service is held by Iman Media UK Limited.

This revocation concerns the broadcast of a number of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki throughout the holy month of Ramadan. In breach decisions published on 5 July 2017 and 27 July 20174, Ofcom found that the broadcast of the lectures breached a number of rules including Rule 3.1 of the Code:

Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

Ofcom considered the breaches of Rule 3.1 to be extremely serious.  Ofcom wrote in the Complaints Bulletin:

In  Ofcom's view the cumulative effect was to condone, promote and encourage violent behaviour towards non-Muslim people. Further, the lectures appeared to link violent acts of the past with actions that might potentially be taken today. Ofcom took the view that the content therefore amounted to a call to action which was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder.

It is also our view the material amounted to hate speech, as it was both abusive and derogatory towards non-Muslim people, and in particular, Jewish people. In our view, this content had clear potential to be highly offensive

Under section 111B of the Broadcasting Act 1990, in certain circumstances Ofcom may suspend a licence if the licence holder has broadcast material likely to encourage or incite the commission of a crime or lead to disorder. After considering the Licensee’s representations, Ofcom may then revoke the licence if it is satisfied it is necessary in the public interest to do so.

Ofcom served a suspension notice on the Licensee on 4 July 2017.

In Ofcom’s view the contraventions of the Code and the Licensee’s compliance failures were so extremely serious, and the Licensee’s conduct was so extremely reckless, that we had no confidence that the Licensee would be capable of complying with its licence conditions or that similar breaches would be prevented in the future. On this basis, in Ofcom’s view it was necessary in the public interest to revoke the licence and proportionate to decide that these breaches and failures justified the revocation.

Ofcom also considered that the Licensee’s failures rendered it unfit to hold a broadcast licence.

 

  Declining complaints about taste and decency on TV...

Ofcom reports on UK audience attitudes to the broadcast media


Link Here 7th July 2017

Ofcom logoOfcom has published an annual report exploring UK adults' attitudes and opinions towards television and radio broadcasting, and related areas such as programme standards, advertising and regulation. It summarises the findings set out in a series of charts.

The research findings from Ofcom's Media Tracker study provide a valuable source of information on consumers' attitudes, and help inform Ofcom's work on broadcasting standards.

Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has a duty to draw up, and from time to time revise, a Code for television and radio services, covering programme standards. This includes the protection of under-18s, the application of generally accepted standards to provide adequate protection from the inclusion of harmful or offensive material, sponsorship, product placement in television programmes, and fairness and privacy.

Ofcom recognises that people's views on what are generally accepted standards are subject to change over time, and so should be explored by ongoing consumer research. This report is one of a range of sources that Ofcom uses in undertaking its broadcasting standards duties.