Ofcom Watch

 2010: July-Sept

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30th September   

Update: Ofcom Arrogance...

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Ofcom whinge at lads joining the babes
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

club paradisoClub Paradiso, 24/25 June 2010, 00:15 to 00:45

Ofcom received a complaint which said that this broadcast was too explicit and included sexual activity between a male and female presenter including simulated or mimed oral sex, sexual intercourse and other sexually provocative acts.

Ofcom noted that between 00:15 and 00:45, the broadcast featured a male as well as a female presenter. The male was wearing underpants and the female fishnet stockings and a black thong. During the broadcast the female presenter adopted various sexual positions for relatively prolonged periods of time, including on her back with her legs apart, on all fours with buttocks to camera and sat on top of and astride the male presenter's chest. The male presenter also adopted various positions, which included kneeling with his crotch by the female presenter's mouth, kneeling behind the female presenter whilst she was on all fours and lying on his back while under the female presenter. While in these positions, the female and male mimed oral sex on each other, they both gyrated their hips miming sexual intercourse, the male squirted white lotion on the female's buttocks and rubbed it in, and the male licked the female's breasts and nipples. Furthermore the male stroked and gently spanked the female's body and buttocks. At times the squirted lotion was left on the female's buttocks for a period of time. While adopting these positions or engaging in these activities, neither presenter touched the other's genital area.

Ofcom considered the following Code rules:

  • Rule 1.18 ('Adult sex material' - material that contains images and/or language of a strong sexual nature which is broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation - must not be broadcast at any time other than between 2200 and 0530 on premium subscription services and pay per view/night services which operate with mandatory restricted access. In addition, measures must be in place to ensure that the subscriber is an adult)
  • Rule 2.1 (the broadcaster must apply generally accepted standards)
  • Rule 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by context).

Ofcom Decision: In Breach

In relation to Rule 1.18, Ofcom examined the content of the broadcast and considered that it contained material of a strong sexual nature, including scenes of simulated and mimed sexual activity. For example, during the broadcast the male presenter mimed sexual intercourse with the female and they both mimicked the performance of oral sex on each other, The female presenter adopted various sexual positions including astride the male presenter's chest near his face. In addition, the white lotion used as a prop in the performance was squirted onto and allowed to remain on the female presenter's buttocks, and the male licked the female presenter's breasts and nipples in sexual and intimate manner. Even though neither presenter directly touched the other's genital area, the performance and provocative actions of both presenters were clearly suggestive of various sexual acts.

In Ofcom's view, the primary purpose of broadcasting this material was clearly sexual arousal. Given the above, the material was, in Ofcom's view, of a strong sexual nature. Having assessed this programme's content and purpose, Ofcom considered that this content constituted adult-sex material. Its broadcast, without mandatory restricted access, was therefore in breach of Rule 1.18 of the Code.

Given the relatively prolonged and repeated scenes of intimacy and the strong sexual nature of the performance (for the purpose of sexual arousal), the time of broadcast and location of the channel were not sufficient to justify the broadcast of the material. The material shown was so strongly sexual that it would have exceeded the likely expectation of the vast majority of the audience [so Ofcom thinks the the vast majority of babe channel viewers don't want to see sexy programming?] . Ofcom concluded that the content was clearly not justified by the context and was in breach of generally accepted standards and in breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.3.

Ofcom welcomed the Licensee's apologies and confirmation it was keen to adhere to the Code and put in place new procedures if necessary. It also noted the broadcaster's statements that this was a trial broadcast piece which has not been repeated.

Ofcom has provided a considerable amount of guidance to adult sex chat broadcasters about what constitutes adult sex material and what is acceptable under the Code. These broadcasters need to take particular care when they feature more than one presenter on screen and the presenters are or appear to be intimate with each other in a sexual manner.

 

28th September   

Update: Ofcom a Bit Late...


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Ofcom clears abortion advert over claims that it was political
Link Here  full story: Marie Stopes Advert...Advert for abortion services winds up nutters

are you late? advertOfcom has cleared the UK's first television advert for advice on abortion services after rejecting complaints about its political nature.

Last month, the Advertising Standards Authority ASA dismissed over 4,000 complaints about an ad run for sexual health charity Marie Stopes International (MSI).

The ad featured three women who had missed their period, as a voiceover pointed them to MSI for pregnancy advice.

Separately, media regulator Ofcom received 270 complaints about the ad, with the majority claiming that its political nature was in breach of the broadcasting code.

However, the watchdog ruled that the ad was not in breach of its guidelines as MSI is a not-for-profit organisation and so is permitted to advertise on television: Ofcom does not consider that the content of the advertisement itself in any way sought to bring about changes in the law or influence the legislative proces.

The advertisement was the promotion of MSI as an organisation that gives post-conception advice and to encourage viewers who needed such advice to contact them.

 

25th September   

Substantial Reform...

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Ofcom on list of quangos targeted for government cost cutting
Link Here

Ofcom logoOfcom could be subjected to substantial reform as part of a series of mergers, cuts and overhauls to public sector quangos outlined by the coalition government.

Leaked documents obtained by the BBC show that the government is seeking to overhaul the role of the media watchdog, as well as merging it with postal services regulator Postcomm.

The decision to combine the two organisations has been on the cards for almost two years, after a review backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2008 and this month.

A spokesman for Ofcom said that he is unable to comment on the substantial reform aspect of the leaked documents, as he is unaware of what this may entail.

 

22nd September   

New Censors Now On Demand...

ATVOD now the point of contact for Video on Demand complaints
Link Here

ATVOD logo Ofcom has officially handed responsibility for overseeing all video on-demand complaints to its co-censor, the Association For Television On-Demand (ATVOD).

ATVOD, which took over promised light touch regulation duties from Ofcom in March, will now respond to any complaints relating to editorial content on UK-based VOD services.

Ofcom has tasked the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) with handling all advertising related issues, while ATVOD will deal with all matters pertaining to consumer protection standards and guidelines for taste, decency and sponsorship requirements.

Ruth Evans, former deputy chair of Ofcom's consumer panel, currently acts as ATVOD's independent chair on a five-strong board that includes former Channel 4 News editor Sara Nathan, Advertising Association chief executive Tim Lefroy, ASA Council member Nigel Walmsley and broadcasting censorship specialist Ian McBride.

Sky's Daniel Austin, BT's Simon Milner, Virgin Media's Simon Hunt and Five's Chris Loweth will provide the ATVOD board with an industry perspective.

The organisation has further hired Pete Johnson as its chief executive, after he previously managed VOD and censorship policy for the BBFC.

The material to be regulated, though, does not include all internet video. The rules apply only to television-like services delivered on demand, not to user-generated videos such as those that appear on YouTube.

Material qualifies for regulation if it is similar in form and content to television programmes; if it has a person who is editorially responsible for it; is based in the UK; and is available on an on-demand basis.

The material that does fall under ATVOD's regulation must conform to some of the standards expected of broadcast television. It must not incite racial hatred; harm under-18s; or break rules on sponsorship or product placement, ATVOD's rules say.

 

14th September   

Update: Banging On...

Bang Babes continue accumulating points towards their next TV censorship fine
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Bang BabesBang Babes Tease Me, 23 July 2010, 21:45 to 22:30
Bang Babes Tease Me, 31 July 2010, 01:40 to 02:15
Bang Babes Tease Me, 6 August 2010, 22:00 to 22:25 and 00:00 to 00:45

Early Bird Tease Me TV (Freeview) 25 July 2010, 07:25 to 07:45

The usual whinges about the babes of the various Tease Me channels, eg:

Bang Babes , Tease Me, 23 July 2010, 21:45 to 22:30

Ofcom received a complaint about the above broadcast. The complainant said that the content transmitted was too sexually explicit to be broadcast without mandatory restricted access.

Ofcom noted that between 21:45 and 22:00 the programme featured a female presenter wearing a black and white bra and thong. During the broadcast the presenter removed her bra to expose her breasts and was shown adopting various sexual positions such as sitting while facing the camera with her legs open, and bending over on all fours with her buttocks to camera. While in these positions the presenter: heavily thrust her body as though miming sexual intercourse; mimed performing oral sex on a man; repeatedly massaged her breasts; licked her breasts; and repeatedly rubbed her outer genital area.

As usual Ofcom found the channels to be in breach of rules:

  • Rule 1.18 ('Adult sex material' - material that contains images and/or language of a strong sexual nature which is broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation - must not be broadcast at any time other than between 2200 and 0530 on premium subscription services and pay per view/night services which operate with mandatory restricted access. In addition, measures must be in place to ensure that the subscriber is an adult)
  • Rule 2.1 (the broadcaster must apply generally accepted standards)
  • Rule 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by context).

And as usual Ofcom warn about the next fine:

On 29 July 2010 Ofcom fined Bang Media (London) Limited and Bang Channels Limited a total of £157,250 for serious and repeated breaches of the Code.

In addition, as a result of the serious and/or repeated nature of the breaches recorded in this current finding, and those recorded against Bang Channels Limited previously in Bulletins 157, 158 and 163 the Licensee is put on notice that these present contraventions of the Code are also being considered for further statutory sanction.

 

26th August   

Update: The Great British Sport of Prudery...

TV censors have a whinge at XXX Babes
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Sport XXX BabesLive XXX Babes, 31 March 2010, 22:00 to 23.00
Live XXX Babes, 1 April 2010, 22:00 to 22:24
Sport XXX Babes, 3 April 2010, 22:00 to 02:00
Northern Birds, 11 April 2010, 22:30 to 23:00
Sport XXX Babes, 16 May 2010, 21:00 to 21:30
Sport XXX Babes, 19 May 2010, 00:00 to 01:00 to 09:00

Live XXX Babes, Sports XXX Babes and Northern Birds are free to air Babe Channels. Each service has a separate licence but all three licences are owned and complied by Satellite Entertainment Limited.

As a result of its concerns about compliance in this sector, Ofcom conducts monitoring exercises of daytime and adult sex chat channels.

Ofcom noted the usual complaints about the Babe Channels eg:

Live XXX Babes,(Sky Channel 950) 31 March 2010, 22:00 to 23:00

During this programme, a female presenter was wearing a leather dress that exposed her breasts, a skimpy thong and fishnet stockings. She adopted various sexual positions. These included on all fours with her buttocks to camera and on her back with her legs wide open. While in these positions the presenter carried out a number of sexual acts including miming and simulating masturbation, by rubbing and touching her crotch and anus over her skimpy thong which at times revealed her labial contours. She also licked her fingers and touched around the edges of her labia and pulled on her thong to bunch it into her crotch and reveal her genital contours. At times the camera zoomed in between the presenter's wide open legs in intrusive detail.

Ofcom considered Code Rules:

  • 2.1 (the broadcaster must apply generally accepted standards)
  • 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by context) from SEL in relation to the following broadcasts:

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rules 2.1 & 2.3

In terms of the content of all these broadcasts, Ofcom considered the sexual images shown to be strong and capable of causing offence. During all six broadcasts detailed above, the presenters positioned themselves in front of the camera with legs wide apart and on all fours with buttocks in full view for prolonged periods of time. Given the fact that all presenters pulled their underwear tightly against their genital area so as to bunch the material, and the images were sometimes filmed close up, there were numerous occasions when outer labial and anal detail was shown in intrusive detail. In addition, during all broadcasts the presenters in each individual programme appeared to mime masturbation at various points in the broadcasts, by touching around their genital and anal areas and sometimes simulate masturbation by rubbing their underwear vigorously against their genitals and touching or stroking the crotch in a sexual manner.

Given the strength of the sexual nature of the content, available on a channel without mandatory restricted access, we considered that the broadcaster did not apply generally acceptable standards and the material was not contextually justified. These broadcasts therefore breached Rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

Ofcom is concerned in particular, that the broadcast on Sport XXX Babes on 16 May was transmitted from 21:00. This strong sexual content, of an equally similar nature to that shown after 22:00 on the other channels detailed, included the presenter revealing her breasts and genital and anal detail, simulating masturbation and inserting her fingers into her mouth to mime oral sex. Rule 1.6 makes clear that the strongest material should appear later in the schedule and that the transition to more adult material should not be unduly abrupt at the watershed of 21:00. The degree of offence likely to be caused by viewing this material was therefore considered greater than after 22:00 given the insufficient context. Ofcom concluded that this content was clearly not justified by the context and, in addition to breaching generally accepted standards also contravened Rule 1.6.

It is Ofcom's view that these breaches are serious. In particular, Ofcom is concerned by the apparent repeated nature of these breaches. Ofcom is therefore putting the Licensee on notice that further repeated contraventions of the Code of a similar nature will be considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

25th August   

Update: Banging On...

Bang Babes start accumulating points towards their next TV censorship fine
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Bang BabesEarly Bird
Tease Me TV (Freeview)
3 June 2010, 05:45 to 06.30 and 08:00 to 09:00

Ofcom received two complaints about the above broadcast. The complainants were concerned that the material was too sexual to be broadcast in the daytime and that the presenter's skimpy outfit and movements were inappropriate for a young audience who might be watching television on this free to air service on the Freeview platform.

The female presenter was wearing a very skimpy string/lace bra that barely covered her nipples, a thong with a string back and stockings and suspenders. During the broadcast the presenter adopted various sexual positions for periods of time including: on her side with her legs open; on her back with her legs open; and, on all fours with her hips raised. While in these positions she repeatedly stroked and touched her body, buttocks and breasts, wiggled and thrust her hips in a sexually provocative way. At one time she also stood up and danced briefly to the camera. On occasions the camera focused in on various parts of her body.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 (children must be protected from unsuitable material by appropriate scheduling).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3

In Ofcom's view the very skimpy clothing of the presenter combined with her repeated and sexualised actions and behaviour were intended to be sexually provocative in nature and the broadcast of such images was not suitable to promote daytime chat.

18 Keen
Tease Me
10 June 2010, 21:30 to 22:30

Ofcom received a complaint that the content was too sexually explicit to be broadcast at around 21:30. The complainant referred to the underwear the two presenters were wearing and that they were performing sex acts on each other.

Ofcom noted that the broadcast featured two female presenters on an unmade single bed in a bedroom setting. They were both initially wearing bras and knickers and one presenter's knickers were made of see through material. The presenters removed their bras during their act. At various times, the presenters adopted sexual positions including: on all fours with their bottoms close to camera; lying on their backs with legs open to camera; one presenter between the legs of the other; on their knees with one presenter behind the other one; and one presenter sat over the other presenter's breasts. While in these positions they rubbed each other's bare breasts and nipples, thrust and moved their hips in a sexualised manner as if miming intercourse, and spanked and stroked each other's buttocks. They also licked their fingers and rubbed the inside of their upper thighs in a sexualised way.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 2.1 (the broadcaster must apply generally accepted standards)
  • Rule 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by context).

Ofcom Decision

In this case, Ofcom considered that the material shown (including the presenters stroking and rubbing each other.s naked breasts) was provided for the purposes of sexual arousal in order to elicit PRS calls. For the reasons set out above, this material was too strong to be shown so soon after the watershed and was clearly not justified by the context.

This broadcast was therefore in breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

Further Sanctions

As a result of the serious and repeated nature of the breaches recorded previously, Bang Channels and Bang Media have already been put on notice that these contraventions of the Code are being considered for statutory sanction. Consideration of this statutory sanction is in addition to the sanction already imposed on Bang Media .

 

24th August   

Update: Playboy Babes...

Playboy take the heat for Tease Me TV 2
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

playboy tv logoBang Babes
Tease Me TV 2, 22 May 2010, 03:35 to 04:00

Bang Babes is a programme on the adult sex chat television service Tease Me TV 2. Tease Me TV 2 is broadcast under a licence held by Playboy TV UK/Benelux Limited. Playboy therefore has compliance responsibility for all programmes broadcast on that service, including Bang Babes .

The service is a free to air babe channel in which female presenters dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the PRS numbers.

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who said that the broadcast included prolonged and repeated close up graphic and intrusive images of vaginal and anal detail . The complainant also said the broadcast showed masturbation throughout .

Ofcom noted that between 03:30 and 04:00, the broadcast included a female presenter wearing a yellow bikini top (which was pulled to the side to reveal her breasts) and a matching thong. During the broadcast she adopted various sexual positions for relatively prolonged periods of time, including bending over on all fours with her buttocks to camera and lying on her back with her legs spread wide open to camera. While in these positions the presenter's anal and labial area was shown in close up and extensive detail. Throughout the broadcast the presenter repeatedly: rubbed her genital area with her fingers; rubbed her thong against her genitals; pulled her buttocks apart to reveal her anus; sucked her fingers to mimic performing oral sex on a man; and rubbed saliva over her breasts.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.18 ('Adult sex material' - material that contains images and/or language of a strong sexual nature which is broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation - must not be broadcast at any time other than between 2200 and 0530 on premium subscription services and pay per view/night services which operate with mandatory restricted access. In addition, measures must be in place to ensure that the subscriber is an adult
  • Rule 2.1 (the broadcaster must apply generally accepted standards)
  • Rule 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by context).

Playboy responded saying that having viewed the content, it appears that some of the content was in breach of the Code, for which we apologise . We have recently started taking content from an experienced provider [of adult sex chat material]…much of this content is delivered live, and we have had to install new systems, both technical and procedural, to cope with this product . It explained that there have been some teething troubles, which have led to one or two slipups .

Ofcom Decision

In relation to Rule 1.18, Ofcom examined the content of the broadcast and considered that it contained material of a very strong sexual nature, including graphic and intrusive images of genital and anal detail. For example, during the broadcast the presenter was shown apparently performing masturbation on herself by repeatedly touching her genital area and rubbing her thong against her genitals. In Ofcom's opinion, in this particular case, a viewer could reasonably have perceived the sexual acts as real. The presenter was also shown at various times bending over with her buttocks close up to camera and pulling her buttocks apart to reveal her anus and extensive labial detail. Further, Ofcom took account of the fact that the sequences were, in some cases, relatively prolonged and repeated throughout the 25 minute broadcast. In Ofcom's view, the primary purpose of broadcasting this material was clearly sexual arousal. Given the above, the material was, in Ofcom's view, of a very strong sexual nature. Having assessed these programme.s content and purpose, Ofcom considered that the material broadcast constituted 'adult-sex material. Its broadcast, without mandatory restricted access, was therefore in breach of Rule 1.18 of the Code.

Ofcom then went on to consider whether the broadcast was also in breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code. In light of Ofcom's view that the programme contained material that constituted adult sex material and was therefore unsuitable for broadcast without mandatory restricted access, the broadcast was clearly capable of causing considerable offence.

Given the relatively prolonged and repeated scenes of a very strong sexual nature and the inclusion of graphic images of genital and anal detail (provided for the purpose of sexual arousal), the time of broadcast and location of the channel was not sufficient to justify the broadcast of the material. The material shown was so strongly sexual that it would have exceeded the likely expectation of the vast majority of the nutters watching. Ofcom concluded that the content was clearly not justified by the context and was in breach of generally accepted nutter standards.

Breach of Rules 1.18, 2.1 and 2.3

 

19th August   

Repeat Whinges...

TV standards have been falling every year since broadcasting began
Link Here

Ofcom logoMore than half of older viewers believe television has deteriorated in the past year because of the soaring number of repeats, bad language and violence.

TV censor Ofcom found that 53% of over-65s believe standards have fallen and the quality and range of programmes have worsened.

Almost two thirds of those surveyed said part of their dissatisfaction was down to the increased number of repeats on screens, while a quarter were unhappy with the level of bad language and the variety of shows available.

Violence was another reported problem, with 15% saying programmes were using endless fight scenes in a gratuitous manner.

Last year, the five main channels broadcast 30,485 hours of original programming - down almost 8 per cent on 2008, and the lowest level for more than seven years.

For the BBC, EastEnders was one of the most complained about programmes in 2009. Hundreds whinged about its violence.

ITV has repeatedly come under fire for its reliance on big talent search reality shows such as Britain's Got Talent , The X Factor and Dancing on Ice at the expense of original drama and comedy.

Vivienne Pattison, director of nutter group MediaWatch-UK, said: There has been an erosion of the watershed in recent years, with people seeing more and more inappropriate scenes before 9pm.

 

3rd August   

Ofcom Not Impressed...

by programme on the Gaza aid convoy attack
Link Here

Press TV logoA current affairs programme presented by Lauren Booth has been rapped by the broadcasting watchdog for breaching impartiality rules.

Booth fronted a programme on Press TV, the Iranian international news network, about the events during and after the May interception by Israeli military forces of a pro-Palestinian aid convoy, which resulted in nine deaths.

The programme, broadcast in June, started with a pro-Palestinian song set to anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian imagery. Comments made by Booth, who is Cherie Blair's half-sister, included: Israeli commandoes ... committed a massacre of innocent civilians sailing aid ships to the besieged Gaza Strip and this was obviously a barbarous attack on civilians .

The broadcaster said it had complied with impartiality requirements and that the intensity of the descriptions in the programme merely reflected the general atmosphere around the world .

But Ofcom ruled that the programme did not contain any alternative views. It said: Presenters or interviewers must ensure they are articulating alternative views in a duly objective manner or putting them to interviewees in a manner that achieves due impartiality.

It said: In summary ... we considered the broadcaster did not provide sufficient evidence of alternative views within the programme. Overall the programme gave a one-sided view on this matter of political controversy. Furthermore and importantly, the broadcaster did not provide any evidence of alternative views on this issue in a series of programmes taken as a whole.

 

2nd August   

Censors on Demand...

ASA appointed to censor advertising on Video on Demand
Link Here

ASA logoFrom 1 September 2010, the way the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates advertising on TV-like video-on-demand (VOD) services will be changing. The ASA has been designated by Ofcom as the co-regulator for advertising appearing on VOD services.

A new Appendix has been included in the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code), which will apply to aspects of advertisements on VOD services that are subject to statutory regulation. This Appendix contains rules reflecting the new statutory requirements.

The Appendix doesn't introduce new requirements for VOD advertising: VOD providers are already required, under law, to comply with them and the Appendix doesn't go beyond the rules that are already in the CAP Code. Adding these requirements to an Appendix of the CAP Code means that the ASA can take action on suspected breaches against the VOD service provider and without the need to refer to Ofcom for legal action.

In practice, very little has changed: advertisements on ATVOD-regulated VOD services are already subject to these requirements under the law and the ASA already considers complaints about VOD advertisements under the CAP Code.

What has changed is that the ASA is now able to consider all aspects of VOD advertising, whether the relevant rules derive from the self-regulatory CAP Code or from the law. Previously, the ASA referred complaints that might fall under the law to Ofcom. This change will make it easier for viewers, who can be confident that the ASA is the right body to deal with complaints about advertising in all media, regardless of the underlying legal framework. [except babe channels with remain under the censorship of Ofcom!]

 

30th July   

Harmed by TV Censors...

Ofcom imposes enormous fine on Bang Babes
Link Here

bang babesThe TV censor Ofcom has fined Bang Channels Limited and Bang Media (London) Limited for the broadcast of free to air 'babe channel' programmes between June 2009 and November 2009,

Bang Channels Limited was fined for programmes on Tease Me, Tease Me 2, Tease Me 3. Bang Media (London) Limited  was fined for programmes on Tease Me TV For breaches of Ofcom's 2005 Broadcasting Code in respect of:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them
  • Rule 1.24: Premium subscription services and pay per view/night services may broadcast adult-sex. material between 2200 and 0530 provided that in addition to other protections mentioned above: . there is a mandatory PIN protected encryption system, or other equivalent protection, that seeks satisfactorily to restrict access solely to those authorised to view; and there are measures in place that ensure that the subscriber is an adult.
  • Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to, …sex… .

Having considered all facts and arguments put before it the Sanctions Committee deemed sanctions totalling £157,250 to be appropriate, the Committee wishes to emphasise that it views the broadcast of inappropriate explicit material – such as that forming the basis of this Decision – with the utmost seriousness. In this instance, the Committee concluded that the Licensees had been operating a wholly inadequate compliance system. The Committee considered this inadequate compliance to amount to manifest recklessness. This recklessness therefore informed the Committee's judgment of appropriate sanctions.

The Ofcom Executive investigated a number of programmes broadcast on the channels operated by the Licensees and found 13 programmes broadcast on channels operated by Bang Channels to have breached the Code and one programme broadcast on the channel operated by Bang Media to have breached the Code. The Ofcom Executive also found each of Bang Channels and Bang Media to have breached Licence Condition 11 of their respective licences by failing to provide forthwith full recordings of programmes upon request by Ofcom

In summary, the material found in breach related to unsuitable adult material, shown for the sole purpose of sexual stimulation. Some footage contained inappropriate explicit sexual imagery including intrusive images of, simulated masturbation and oral sex, genital and anal detail. In some cases, the material was considered to be of such strength that it was only suitable for transmission with mandatory restrictions (e.g. under PIN encryption). In one programme, in particular, the material was of such strength that it was considered to be equivalent of BBFC R18.7. 9.

There were further breaches relating to daytime chat. In these cases, the broadcaster transmitted material which was considered to be unsuitable for pre-watershed viewing in that the content was inappropriately and overtly sexual.

 

22nd July   

They Should Have Seen It Coming...

Ofcom fines TV channel advertising money grabbing psychic
Link Here
ouija-board

  Ofcom Sanctions Committee:
Shall we fine them?

Ofcom has fined DM Digital Television Limited £17,500 for seriously and repeatedly breaching advertising rules.

In February 2009 the digital station – which broadcasts mainly in Urdu to the UK Asian community – broadcast an advertisement for a spiritual healer called Professor Mohammed Zain.

The Advertising Standards Authority subsequently received a complaint from Manchester Trading Standards, which been contacted by the social worker of a viewer who had approached Professor Zain after seeing the advert.

The viewer had paid money to Professor Zain on two occasions for help in finding a partner. According to the viewer, Professor Zain told her to credit his account with £110 and to pray for one week and then to call him back. When she did this, he told her to credit his bank account with a further £1,400 and in return he would find her a partner. The viewer proceeded to transfer the requested money.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found the advertisement was in breach of the CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code because it was misleading and likely to exploit the vulnerable and that it represented advice to individuals, based on psychic or faith based practices for personal problems.

In serious cases the ASA can refer matters to Ofcom as the backstop regulator, which has the power to fine broadcasters for breaching advertising rules.

Ofcom considered that the breach was serious because it resulted in actual financial harm to a viewer.

Ofcom also concluded that the breach demonstrated a repeated failure on behalf of DM Digital to ensure that the material it broadcast met the requirements of the TV Advertising Code.

 

16th July   

Comment: Nazi Censors Win...

High Court finds that Ofcom were right to censure Jon Gaunt over 'nazi' jibe
Link Here  full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

Old BaileyThe radio host, Jon Gaunt, who called a councillor a Nazi live on air has lost a legal bid to challenge Ofcom's decision to uphold complaints against him.

Ofcom received 53 complaints over Gaunt's interview with Redbridge councillor Michael Stark, which took place in November 2008. The pair had been debating the council's decision to ban smokers from fostering children when Gaunt called Stark a Nazi , a health Nazi and an ignorant pig .

Gaunt apologised on-air following the exchange, but Talksport sacked the presenter after its own investigation.

The TV censor Ofcom noted the apology, but in June 2009 upheld the complaint under the rules regarding offensive material.

Gaunt's lawyers argued that Ofcom infringed Gaunt's right to free speech under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and won the right to take the case to judicial review.

But at London's High Court, Sir Anthony May and Mr Justice Blair dismissed the proceedings. May said Ofcom was justified in its conclusion: The broadcast was undoubtedly highly offensive to Mr Stark and was well capable of offending the broadcast audience. The essential point is that the offensive and abusive nature of the broadcast was gratuitous, having no factual content or justification.

Gaunt was refused permission to appeal although he can renew his application directly to the Court of Appeal. \

Human rights group Liberty, which intervened in the case because of its wider importance to free speech , said Gaunt and his legal team intended to challenge the ruling.

Comment: Court should consider the underpinning law rather than Ofcom's code

16th July 2010. Based on contribution from IanG on the Melon Farmers Forum

Sir Anthony appears to be quoting Ofcom's Code when offering his opinion. He's not applying or reading the law and assessing if Ofcom's Code does what Ofcom are required to do by law.

Section 319(2)(f) of the Comms Act 2003 requires Ofcom as part of their Standards Objectives to ensure generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of TV and radio services to provide adequate protection to members of the public from the inclusion in those services of offensive and harmful material .

Clearly, the host/presenter/guest is not responsible for what is broadcast by the licensee. The generally accepted standard means of preventing offensive and harmful material leaving a broadcaster's aerial during live transmissions is to employ a short delay such that an operator can bleep or silence any offensive material so that it is not included in their transmission and the the public are thus adequately protected from exposure to it...that is as per the requirements of section 319(2)(f) of the Comms Act and Ofcom's Standards Objectives as dictated by THE LAW.

As Ofcom's Code doesn't state what generally accepted standards are to be applied to adequately protect the public from inclusion of offensive and harmful material in programmes; and the Code fails to specify what is to be considered offensive and harmful material; and fining people after the fact or giving them a ticking off doesn't prevent the inclusion of such material then, IT IS ENTIRELY OFCOM'S FAULT for NOT ENSURING Talksport prevented the inclusion of Gaunt's comments in their broadcast.

Just to illustrate: If the Comms Act required Ofcom to ensure adequate protection against people being shot and then someone got shot, who could and should be held accountable?

Surely, Sir Anthony cannot believe the intent of Parliament was to allow Ofcom to prevent people expressing their thoughts and feelings on air? Such a notion is an absolute violation of Freedom Of Expression. Clearly, no matter how offensive 53 people found Gaunt's comments, his right to state his opinion in any terms he so chooses is sacrosanct - as is everyone's right to do the same.

Jon Gaunt needs to appeal on the grounds that Ofcom's Code doesn't do what is required by law and request or force a Judicial Review of Ofcom's pathetic excuse for a Code according to the letter of the law. The High Court is not there to enforce Ofcom's unenacted Code. They're there to uphold and enforce the LAW. 319(2)(F) certainly doesn't say Ofcom are supposed to hang around waiting for someone to complain about feeling offended and then fine the channel - but that's exactly the line they've chosen to adopt.

 

8th July   

Cruelty to Celebrities...

But Ofcom find that animals were treated well
Link Here

the door logoThe Door
ITV1, 2 April 2010 at 20:25 and 3 April 2010, 21:00

This Morning ITV1
31 March 2010, 10:30

Introduction The Door was a two-part special , broadcast on ITV1 and hosted by Chris Tarrant and Amanda Holden. During the programme six celebrities competed against one another in order to win money for their chosen charity. The celebrities competed in a set of challenges - found behind The Door - which were designed to test their bravery.

One of the challenges required the celebrities, covered in raw meat, to crawl past what the programme described as a pack of hungry dogs in cages, which were barking aggressively. Other challenges involved the celebrities putting their hands in glass jars that contained scorpions, spiders and other insects in order to retrieve a key, crawling through dark and claustrophobic tunnels filled with rats, and picking up snakes.

On 31 March 2010 (prior to the broadcast of The Door a couple of nights later) This Morning included an interview with Chris Tarrant, who discussed the upcoming programme. During the interview some short clips of the programme were broadcast, including the challenges involving the dogs in cages and various insects and animals in jars.

Ofcom received seven complaints about This Morning and 199 complaints about The Door, as broadcast on 2 and 3 April 2010. In summary, the complainants said they had been offended by the content of the programme, particularly in relation to the welfare of the dogs in cages. Complainants stated for example that the dogs appeared distressed and anxious and that the treatment of the dogs in the programme was completely inappropriate, unnecessary, and cruel .

Some complainants were also concerned about the way the other animals were handled by the celebrities in the programme, in particular the rats and snakes.

Ofcom considered

  • Rule 2.3 of the Code (material that may cause offence must be justified by the context).

Response The Licensee said that it takes seriously its responsibility for animal welfare. It said that the content and tone of the programme was made clear to the audience at the start and that the various games were designed to challenge and sometimes terrify the celebrities, but they were for the most part clearly artificial .

With regard to the challenge involving the dogs, the Licensee said that the welfare of all the animals was an overriding priority in the planning of this challenge . It explained that only specially-trained animals were used in the dog challenge , as provided by Animal Actors, a reputable company that the producers had worked with before, and which has been supplying animals to television programmes for 30 years . ITV said that the dogs were all specially trained to bark following hand signals and verbal commands and were not in their cages for more than half an hour at a time . The Licensee explained that at all times each dog was supervised by its handler to ensure that they were correctly and responsibly treated during the recording… and after filming the handlers were fully satisfied with the way the filming was conducted .

In relation to the other animals included in the programme, ITV said that similarly, professional animal handlers were employed to look after the other animals… and were on set throughout the filming of the challenges .

Ofcom Decision : Not in Breach

The Door

Ofcom has no legal powers or duties to consider complaints purely about the treatment of animals, complaints about animal welfare are considered in relation to the obligation to ensure that generally accepted standards are applied to content to provide adequate protection for members of the public from harmful and/or offensive material.

In Ofcom's view, while viewers were shown images of dogs in cages and animals being handled by celebrities, none of the animals appeared distressed during the programme and the images were appropriately limited.

Ofcom also took into account that the dogs were specially trained, all the animals were supervised by trained handlers at all times, and both programmes were shown after 20:25. In light of these points and the programme's editorial purpose, Ofcom considered that showing such activities was not likely to cause disproportionate offence to viewers and was editorially justified.

Ofcom considered this type of programme to be in keeping with ITV1's familiar style and format of programming and would not have exceeded the likely expectations of the majority of the audience. Given these factors, Ofcom concluded that the images broadcast were justified by context and were not in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

This Morning

Ofcom took into account that the images were broadcast as part of an interview with the host of The Door , Chris Tarrant, and that during the interview he clearly explained the nature of the programme and its similarities with I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here .

In Ofcom's view, the clips shown did not show the animals in distress and they were appropriately limited. In light of these factors, Ofcom considered that the images broadcast in this programme were editorially justified and would not have exceeded the likely expectation of the majority of the audience for this particular programme.

Ofcom therefore concluded that the images were justified by context and were not in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

 

6th July   

D'You Wanna Make Something of It?...

Aggressive Sky News presenters cleared by Ofcom
Link Here

Sky TVSky News has been cleared by Ofcom over its coverage of the general election after nearly 2,800 complaints about the conduct of two of the presenters.

The TV censor received 671 complaints from viewers about Boulton's behaviour towards Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg during the Sky News prime ministerial debate on April 22.

Nearly 700 viewers also objected to Boulton's interview with former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell on May 10, during which Sky's political editor appeared to lose his temper.

Another 1,800 people complained to Ofcom about Burley's interview with electoral reformist David Babbs on May 8, an exchange which led to a campaign on Twitter calling for her to resign.

But Ofcom has dismissed all the complaints and described the spat between Boulton and Campbell as a confrontation between two well-known figures, who would have been used to the cut and thrust of political debate . In its Broadcast Bulletin, the regulator said it was not unreasonable for Sky's political editor to defend his position as Campbell effectively accused Boulton of wanting David Cameron to be Prime Minister.

Ofcom said although Boulton became visibly angry, it does not in itself, impact on the due impartiality of the content . We considered that although the tone and content of this exchange was unusual, it would not have been beyond the likely expectations of the audience for this channel, said the regulator.

It should be noted that the discussion at no time resulted in any abusive language or gratuitous insults. Therefore to find that these heated exchanges could not be transmitted would be an unnecessary interference with the broadcaster's and the viewer's right of freedom of expression.

The viewers who complained about Burley's interview found she was rude, aggressive and repeatedly interrupted Babbs from campaign group 38 Degrees.

Ofcom acknowledged concerns about the presenter's interview style, but said Burley gave Babbs sufficient space to get his point across and did not show any bias against electoral reform.

We noted that even during the parts of the interview where Kay Burley was repeatedly interrupting David Babbs, the interviewee was still able to get some points across to a limited degree, whimpered Ofcom. As such, we considered that the subject matter at hand was treated with due impartiality in line with the requirements of the Code for major matters of political controversy.

Regarding the complaints about Boulton's comment about an article in The Daily Telegraph to Clegg during the election debate, Ofcom found the remark did not breach the Broadcasting Code for guaranteeing due impartiality. The regulator said his actions were understandable in the context of the programme.

 

6th July   

Playing Chicken with Ofcom...

ARY lose over a dare to slit a chicken's throat and drink the blood
Link Here

Another ARY Ofcom whingeDum Hai Tou Entertain Kar
ARY Digital, 31 March 2010, 19:30

ARY Digital is a general entertainment channel serving a UK Pakistani audience, and is broadcast on cable and satellite platforms.

Dum Hai Tou Entertain Kar ( Entertain, If You Dare ) is a Pakistani talent show.

Ofcom received two complaints that in this particular episode a contestant slit a chicken's throat on air and drank its blood while the chicken was still struggling. The complainants considered this content was inappropriate for broadcast at this time. They said that the programme was offensive, particularly given it was broadcast during school holidays when families might be watching together, and that there was no warning of the impending act of cruelty.

Ofcom considered Rules

  • 1.3 (children must be protected from unsuitable material by appropriate scheduling)
  • 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by the context).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 2.3 and 1.3

In this case, the contestant cut a chicken's throat live on air, held the dying bird above his head, and then drank the blood that dripped from its neck. The contestant took several tries to cut through the chicken's throat and appeared to be almost sawing using a blunt knife as the chicken was still moving and flapping. The whole sequence lasted several minutes and no measures appeared to have been taken to limit the suffering to the bird whilst it was inappropriately killed.

It was clear to Ofcom that this material was capable of causing a considerable degree of offence through its graphic nature and also by it being carried out live on air as an act in a game show format. The killing of the chicken was done for the purposes of entertainment rather than for any more serious editorial purpose. To this extent, in Ofcom's opinion, the killing of the chicken with the associated cruelty was gratuitous and increased the level of offence likely to be caused.

Ofcom employed the services of an independent translator who confirmed that no verbal warning was given, either in Urdu or English, at the start of the programme or during the programme so as to give a warning to viewers about the potentially offensive material included in this programme. In summary, this broadcast of the killing of the chicken in a gratuitously cruel way purely for the purposes of entertainment exceeded generally accepted standards and breached Rule 2.3.

In Ofcom's view this material was not appropriately scheduled so as to provide the necessary protection to child viewers, as has been acknowledged by ARY. This content was shown on a weekday early evening at a time when children may have been watching, some unaccompanied, and was broadcast during school holiday time when younger viewers may have been in the audience. ARY is a general entertainment channel and talent shows often attract young viewers. Ofcom therefore concluded that there was also a breach of Rule 1.3 in broadcasting this programme.

 

2nd July   

Hardcore Unemployment...

Ofcom preparing for job losses
Link Here

ofcom isnt workingOfcom has begun a review that will result in significant cuts to its £142m annual budget and staff, and its chief executive, Ed Richards, has decided to take a 10% pay cut.

Richards said today that the review would lead to a significant reduction in expenditure, with job losses likely .

The TV censor and telecoms regulator, which employs 873 staff and has a budget of £142m for the year to the end of March 2011, intends to complete the first phase of its review in late summer.

Speaking to staff, Richards said that the organisation would have to make some very tough decisions . This would ultimately see Ofcom do more for less , he added. We will redefine how we do things to deliver the same capability but spend less money doing so.

It is not known how deep the cuts to Ofcom's budget will be, or the number of jobs that will go. However, in the emergency budget on 22 June the government indicated that it was looking for cuts of around 25% from all departments.

Annual Report Published

Ofcom has now published its annual report for 2009/10 [pdf] .

The report has little of interest to Melon Farmers, the usual bollox about child protection justifying the censorship and more emphasis on demanding compliancy to their code rather than considering whether it is lawful, warranted or even wanted.

Ofcom present the usual meaningless statistics about numbers of complaints. They write:

Programme standards

Of the 10,679 closed cases (28,072 complaints) relating to programme standards:

  • 152 cases were found to be in breach either of the Broadcasting Code, other Ofcom codes or of licence conditions. Of these, six cases were subject to statutory sanctions (involving six separate broadcasters)
  • 13 cases were resolved
  • 10,514 cases were not in breach or out of remit.