Ofcom Watch

 2010: Oct-Dec

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25th December   

Update: Same Old...

  Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

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Video Universe
 

Ofcom whinges at The Pad on Tease Me TV 2
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

the pad The Pad
Tease Me TV 2, 19 October 2010, 17:00 to 18:00

The Pad is a televised daytime interactive chat advertisement broadcast on the service Tease Me TV 2 (Sky channel number 902) under a licence held by Playboy TV UK/Benelux Limited. Playboy has compliance responsibility for all programmes broadcast on Tease Me TV 2 service, including The Pad.

Ofcom received a complaint about the above broadcast. The complainant was concerned that the female presenter.s breasts were exposed and she was adopting various sexual positions and behaving in a clearly overtly sexual manner . The complainant also said that the presenter was on all fours clearly simulating sexual intercourse and this content is clearly inappropriate for the time of day .

Ofcom noted that the female presenter was wearing a revealing pink dress, which at times exposed a considerable amount of her breasts, and which was cut down at the back to reveal her buttocks. Underneath she was not wearing a bra but did was wearing a pink thong. During the broadcast the presenter positioned her buttocks to camera, bent over on all fours with her legs wide open and lay on her side with her legs open. While in these positions she repeatedly gyrated and thrust her hips. The presenter also walked up to the camera to show her breasts in close up, repeatedly touched and stroked her breasts and buttocks, and jiggled her breasts.

Ofcom investigated under the BCAP advertising Code:

  • Rule 4.2: Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.
  • Rule 32.3: Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements  that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 4.2 and 32.3

In Ofcom's view, the revealing clothing, and repeated actions and sexual positions of the presenter were intended to be sexually provocative in nature and the broadcast of such images was not suitable to advertise daytime chat and could not be justified by the context in which it was presented.

In light of this behaviour and imagery, Ofcom concluded that under BCAP Code Rule 32.3 the material during this daytime broadcast was clearly unsuitable for children.

We also concluded under BCAP Code Rule 4.2 that, given the nature and scheduling of the material, it would cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Recently in August 2010 Ofcom recorded a breach of the Broadcasting Code against Playboy for content broadcast on the service Tease Me TV 2. This finding stated that we will expect, in future, Playboy to have in place adequate compliance arrangements . Ofcom is therefore concerned that despite this previous guidance Playboy did not have adequate compliance arrangements and staff in place on this occasion to ensure that the material acquired from the third party producer was compliant with the relevant Code. Ofcom considers this breach of the BCAP Code a serious matter and should there be any similar contraventions, Ofcom will consider further regulatory action. 

Those services operating in the sector of daytime and adult chat should be aware that Ofcom will not tolerate repeated breaches of the Code in this area. Ofcom has serious concerns about industry compliance in this area and we will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action where necessary (which may include fines and revocation of licences).

 

22nd December   

Update: Ofcom to Investigate X Factor...

CD Universe - Buy Music CDs, TV on DVD, DVDs, Video Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

Under rule 1.3a: Nutters must be protected from material that is unsuitable for them
Link Here  full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

Ofcom logo Ofcom has launched an investigation into the X Factor final after thousands of viewers whinged about sexy performances from Rihanna and Christina Aguilera

Ofcom has received 2,750 complaints with an additional 1,500 being registered directly with ITV.

The TV censor will look at whether the show broke the broadcasting code which seeks to protect children. In particular it will look at rule 1.3 of the broadcasting code: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

The ITV show aired between 7pm and 9pm and the producers have said that they were confident the performances given by our guest artistes ... were appropriate for the show .

 

21st December   

Update: Smokin' Hot...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

Ofcom whinges at LivexxxBabes for eroticised smoking
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

lauren bacall smoking Bluebird
LivexxxBabes, 5 October 2010, 13:20

LivexxxBabes is a free to air babe channel where sexy presenters try and entice viewers into premium rate phone chats.

In this particular broadcast on 5 October 2010 the female presenter smoked a cigarette heavily for a period of around three minutes, direct to camera and in close up.

Ofcom now censors babe channels according to advertising rules and in particular the Broadcast Code of Advertising Practice.

And in this case Ofcom considered:

  • Rule: 10.3 (Advertisements must not promote smoking or the use of tobacco products.).

LivexxxBabes is run by SEL who said that the BCAP Code was an industry code of practice and not set in law and it questioned Ofcom's power to enforce the advertising industry's own voluntary code of self-regulation.

In response Ofcom explained that: under the Communications Act 2003 Ofcom is required to set advertising standards for the content of television programmes and that had Ofcom contracted out this function to BCAP, who in turn fulfilled this function in setting the BCAP Code; under a condition of their licences, licensees are required to observe the BCAP Code; and that Ofcom has powers to establish procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints about the observance of these standards.

Ofcom Decision: In breach

The Principle at the start of Section 10 of the BCAP Code (Prohibited categories) sets out that: Broadcast advertisements for some products…are not permitted either because those products may not be legally advertised or because of a clear potential for harm…to the audience or to society . BCAP Rule 10.3 states that advertisements must not promote smoking or the use of tobacco products.

Ofcom noted that this PRS-based daytime chat teleshopping programming featured a female presenter wearing skimpy lingerie and smoking heavily. The presenter was shown inhaling a cigarette and blowing smoke to the camera over a period of around three minutes. Ofcom noted that the smoking featured heavily in the broadcast at this time. The camera closed in on the presenter's face and showed her enjoyment of the inhalation and exhalation of the cigarette. However, in Ofcom's view: the advertisement's focus was clearly on the act of smoking and the female presenter's evident enjoyment of it; the prolonged and drawn out nature of the sequence promoted this activity as something desirable; and, the smoking was clearly intended to be an additional enticement to viewers to call in to this teleshopping channel.

In Ofcom's opinion this promoted smoking or the use of tobacco products in breach of Rule 10.3 of the BCAP Code.

 

7th December   

Update: Doing the Dirty...

Ofcom make it up as they go along judging babe channel against advertising rules
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

dirty talk logo Dirty Talk Live
Dirty Talk, 2 September 2010, 21:00 to 22:00

Dirty Talk Live is a free to air babe channel.

Ofcom received a complaint about alleged inappropriate adult content broadcast at various times between 21:00 and 22:00 on 2 September 2010. The complainant considered the presenter continually simulated both sexual intercourse and oral sex too soon after the watershed.

From 1 September 2010, daytime chat and adult sex chat broadcast services were no longer regulated under the Ofcom Broadcasting Code as editorial content but as long form advertising (teleshopping). However Ofcom has retained responsibility for regulation of daytime chat and adult sex chat services but under the Advertising Standards Authority BCAP Code.

Ofcom noted the presenter was wearing a basque, fishnet stockings, and a thong. On several occasions between 21:00 and 21:30 and throughout the remainder of the broadcast the presenter knelt on all fours with her buttocks pointing upwards and lay on her back with her legs open to camera. While in both of these positions she thrust her hips powerfully in a sexual manner so as to mimic sexual intercourse. Although fully clothed, she also stroked her breasts, lightly spanked her buttocks, opened her mouth in a sexual rather than flirtatious manner and mimed oral sex. Ofcom noted the images described above were shown very shortly after the 21:00 watershed, starting at 21:03.

Ofcom considered BCAP Code Rule:

  • Rule 32.3 Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of BCAP Code Rule 32.3

In applying BCAP Code Rule 32.3 Ofcom had first to decide if the broadcast material was unsuitable for children. With regards to this broadcast, Ofcom noted that on a number of occasions between 21:00 and 21:30 (and as early as 21:03) the female presenter adopted sexually provocative positions - for example, kneeling on all fours with her buttocks in the air and thrusting heavily and gyrating her hips. She was also seen lying on her back for prolonged periods with her legs open to camera and thrusting her hips. Ofcom noted that whilst in this position the on-screen graphics obscured the presenter's genital area to some extent. In adopting these positions, in Ofcom's view, the presenter was mimicking sexual intercourse. In Ofcom's opinion, this material was clearly unsuitable for children.

Ofcom then went on to consider whether relevant timing restrictions had been applied to the material in question. Ofcom noted that this programme was broadcast on a channel without mandatory restricted access in the period immediately after the 21:00 watershed, which is in place to protect minors.

Ofcom then considered the likely expectations of the audience for programmes broadcast at this time of day on a channel without mandatory restricted access. In its opinion, viewers (and in particular parents) would not expect such material to be broadcast so soon after 21:00.

As regards timing restrictions for scheduling, Ofcom has made clear in numerous previous published findings that stronger material should appear later in the schedule and that the transition to more adult material should not be unduly abrupt at the 21:00 watershed. Ofcom therefore considered that the time of broadcast and the location of the channel were not sufficient to justify the broadcast of sexually provocative behaviour such as that included in this broadcast so soon after the 21:00 watershed.

Given the images described above were broadcast between 21:00 and 21:30, Ofcom considered relevant timing restrictions were not applied on this occasion to broadcast content which was unsuitable for children. This broadcast was therefore in breach of BCAP Code Rule 32.3.

Bluebird On Essex Birds

Essex Babes has again failed to provide programme recordings for Ofcom.

Ofcom has again found them in Breach of Licence Condition 11 (retention and production of recordings).

And Ofcom upped the ante on their warning:

As a result of the [previous] breach of licences recorded on 22 November 2010, the Licensee was put on notice that those contraventions of its licences were being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction. These two further breaches of one of its licences will be added to the Licensee's compliance record and will be considered for sanction in addition to the breaches previously recorded.

 

27th November   

Update: Enough Teasing...

TV censor Ofcom bans Tease Me babe channels
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

tease me tv logo Ofcom has banned four TV channels owned by Bang Channels and Bang Media following serious and repeated breaches of Ofcom's censorship rules in its Broadcasting Code.

The licensees have been revoked for the following services:

  • Tease Me on Sky satellite
  • Tease Me TV on Freeview digital TV
  • Tease Me 2 on Sky satellite
  • Tease Me 3 on Sky satellite

The channels which promote adult chat are broadcast free to air. Viewers are encouraged to contact the onscreen female presenters via premium rate telephony services ( PRS ). During the daytime, the channels are not permitted to promote adult chat services and the material must be suitable for a pre-watershed audience.

Both companies, under common ownership, have repeatedly breached rules which protect children from any sexual material and easily offended viewers from supposedly harmful and offensive material.

Over a sustained period of time the licensees have transmitted content that was too sexual for the time of day or being broadcast unencrypted. A minute amount of the material broadcast was so strong that it would be considered equivalent to BBFC R18 rated material. This is not permitted on British TV – either free-to-air or under encryption. Ofcom has decided that the companies are no longer fit and proper to hold broadcast licences.

In July 2010 Ofcom fined the two companies a total of £157,250 for serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code and other licence conditions. At the time Ofcom warned of a wholly inadequate compliance system that amounted to manifest recklessness and warned that such repeated compliance failures would not be tolerated.

The licencees have repeatedly failed to comply with Ofcom's rules in the last 18 months and over 60 breaches have been recorded.

On 19 November 2010, Ofcom directed the broadcaster to suspend transmission and today the licenses have been revoked.

Ofcom plans to meet all our licensees in this part of the broadcasting sector to ensure that they are quite clear how seriously Ofcom takes its duties in relation to the protection of easily offended television audiences and in particular children.

Ofcom's Director of Standards, Chris Banatvala, said: We want to be very clear that Ofcom are required by Parliament to protect audiences through the Broadcasting Code. We simply will not tolerate serious and repeated breaches of the Code and have therefore decided to revoke these licences. Audiences should be assured that we will continue to take action to stop broadcasters breaching the rules in this area .

 

24th November   

Update: Ofcom Sexually Frustrated...

They just can't seem to see enough of the Bluebird Babes
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

essexbabes Ofcom's ongoing rant against the babe channels was set to continue with whinges at the following Babe Channel programmes:

Bluebird on

  • Northern Birds, daytime 8 September 2010
  • Northern Birds, nighttime 26/27 September 2010
  • Essex Babes, nighttime21 September 2010
  • Live 960, nighttime 22 September 2010

The channels Northern Birds and Essex Babes are owned and operated by the licensee Satellite Entertainment Limited (SEL).

The channel Live 960 is owned and operated by the licensee Hoppr Entertainment (Hoppr)

Ofcom received 'complaints' about alleged inappropriate content broadcast during the above programmes and so requested recordings.

But Ofcom did not receive the recordings despite repeated requests.

Ofcom recorded a Breach of Licence Condition 11 (retention and production of recordings) for each programme.

In each case this was also noted as a repeat offence and Ofcom concluded for both SEL & Hoppr: As a result the Licensee is put on notice that this present contravention of its licence is being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

23rd November   

Fair Comment...

Ofcom finds a lack of due impartiality in George Galloway's Comment programme
Link Here  full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship

press tv comment logo Ofcom has ruled that George Galloway repeatedly breached broadcasting standards on impartiality during a series of Press TV programmes on which he described Israel as a terrorist gangster state and a miscreant, law breaking rogue, war launching, occupying state.

The media watchdog also found that Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn did not show due impartiality when he appeared on the Iranian-backed channel as a guest on Galloway's weekly Comment show.

An initial complaint against the former Respect MP and pro-Palestinian campaigner was made last February following a segment on the death of a Hamas operative in a Dubai hotel.

An Ofcom investigation found that the piece was in breach of standards for inequitably representing alternative viewpoints .

The regulator also found examples of breaches of impartiality in other episodes of Comment in May and June 2010, involving comments which could be interpreted as being pro-Palestinian and highly critical of the actions of the Israeli government and its military forces.

Under Section 5 of the Ofcom code, broadcasters must ensure that on such programmes neither side of the debate is unduly favoured.

However the report said Galloway's show did not adequately provide the Israeli viewpoint on a programme about the flotilla incident. Investigators found that when opposing views were included the material was used only to give the opportunity for the programme to further criticise the Israeli government.

In addition, it was demonstrated that Galloway treated pro-Israel viewer contributions, in a very different way to how he treated the pro-Palestinian perspective: [He] used the alternative opinions made by the viewers, which were contrary to his own, only as vehicles to punctuate what could be classed as a form of ongoing political polemic, delivered by the presenter directly to camera and unchallenged.

Ofcom said it would arrange a meeting for Press TV to discuss its impartiality procedure.

 

20th November   

Ofcom Should be Abolished...

President of the Society of Editors finds Ofcom a waste of £143 million
Link Here

society of editors logo The TV censor Ofcom should be abolished and replaced with a system of self-regulation paid for by the TV industry, the new president of the Society of Editors has said.

Daily Mail executive managing editor Robin Esser also told the society's annual conference that democracy itself is in danger on a local, regional and national level in Britain because new legislation, as well as increasingly draconian and expensive laws of libel and privacy (were] eroding freedom of the press to an alarming extent.

On Ofcom, he said: The case for official regulation of TV in this country has long since gone with the multiplicity of channels now available. The UK government could save a lot of taxpayers' money by abolishing the broadcast regulator Ofcom altogether and encouraging a system of self-regulation which the industry itself should pay for.

He said: Matters of cross ownership, plurality and media domination - such as the Murdoch bid to take total control of Sky - can and should be dealt with by the Competition Commission, which was created to investigate just this sort of problem. There is even a European competition commission. How many more bodies do we need at our expense to sort this important matter out?

Statutory regulation of TV was based on the limited availability of bandwidth which created the need for licences. Today licences for journalism should have no place in a modern democratic society.

Esser compared Ofcom's annual budget, which he said was £143 million, much of it coming from taxpayers, with the Press Complaints Commission's annual budget, which is under £2m, with no taxpayers' contribution.

 

16th November   

Update: Islam Channel Appeal...

Islam channel to defend its wife beating advice against censure from Ofcom
Link Here

The Islam Channel logo The Islam Channel is planning to appeal against Ofcom's ruling that the satellite TV network breached the regulator's broadcasting code for advocating marital rape and violence against women.

Five programmes were judged in breach of Ofcom's broadcasting code.

Islam Channel was censured for breaching impartiality rules in programmes on the Middle East conflict and for programmes appearing to advocate marital rape, violence against women and describing women who wore perfume outside of the home as prostitutes .

Ofcom launched its investigation into Islam Channel programmes in March, following a report by the Quilliam Foundation thinktank accusing the broadcaster of regularly promoting extremist views and regressive attitudes towards women.

The Islam Channel today said it will request a review of all five Ofcom rulings, claiming it must have been particularly difficult for the TV censor to make an objective judgment about the broadcaster's output given the media frenzy and sensationalist headlines that surrounded the Quilliam report earlier this year.

Ofcom has called in Islam Channel management for a top-level meeting to explain its compliance processes in relation to the broadcasting code.

 

10th November   

Update: Ofcom Babe Rants Bulletin...

Ofcom whinges at Elite Nights, Bluebird, Freeblue and Early Bird
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Elite Days ad E lite Nights
Elite TV, 8 August 2010, 00:00 to 00:30
Elite TV & Elite TV 2, 14 August 2010 22:00 to 22:14

Ofcom received one complaint about the content. The complainant was concerned about the strong language used during the times highlighted above.

Ofcom viewed the material and noted there were two presenters. Presenter One was wearing a black thong, a strip of black material across her breasts and fishnet stockings. Presenter two was wearing a black leather bodice and leather, thigh-high boots.

During the broadcast the presenters adopted various sexual positions for prolonged periods of time, including: lying on their backs with their legs wide open to camera and kneeling with their buttocks to camera and licking and stroking each other's inner thigh, anal and genital area; mimicking oral sex with a whip; and thrusting their bodies as though miming sexual intercourse.

We noted in particular that during this output a explicit sexual discussion took place:

Presenter One: Well guys we're feeling so fucking dirty now.

Presenter Two: I absolutely love playing with your pussy.

Presenter One: I love the way you do it. You.re the only woman that gets my cunt that wet.

Presenter Two: Do you like me touching your clit like that. [Presenter Two.s hand is out of frame].

Presenter One: Yes. Feel like I need to repay the favour though. [Presenter One's hand is out of frame].

Presenter Two: [Presenter One kissing Presenter Two's breasts] I love it when you just suck my tits like that. Oh yes, fucking suck my tits. Oh your tongue all over my tits. Imagine you're cock rubbing over my tits and her licking your cock. Whilst your cock is rubbing on my tits at the same time. I love the thought of that. And then watching a cock sliding up inside your pussy. [Presenter Two stroking thigh, breasts, genital area and stomach of Presenter One for remainder of conversation].

Presenter One: Coming all over us. I love it in my arse. Presenter Two: Taste it after it's been in up your arse.

Presenter One: All that shit covered cock in my mouth... Presenter Two: ...I want them to fuck your arse until its gaping sore.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3 - (children must be protected from unsuitable material by appropriate scheduling)
  • Rule 2.1 - the broadcaster must apply generally accepted standards
  • Rule 2.3 - offensive material must be justified by context.
  • 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 22:00 and 05:30 on premium subscription services and pay per view/night services which operate with mandatory restricted access)

Ofcom Decision:

In Ofcom's opinion, in this particular case, a viewer could reasonably have perceived the actions of the presenters during the conversation as real e.g. When Presenter Two asked Do you like me touching your clit like that? She moved her hand towards the genital area of Presenter One.. Furthermore the language used, was of a very strong sexual nature and in Ofcom's view, combined with the imagery, was clearly adult-sex. material. Ofcom considers the primary purpose of broadcasting this material was sexual arousal. Given the programme.s content and purpose, and the conclusion the content constituted adult-sex material, its broadcast, without mandatory restricted access, was therefore in breach of Rule 1.18 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.

In this case, given the relatively prolonged and repeated scenes of a strong sexual nature; the inclusion of language that was provided for the purpose of sexual arousal; the time of broadcast and location of the channel, Ofcom considers it was not sufficient to justify the broadcast of the material. The language in combination with the actions of the presenters was so strongly sexual that it would have exceeded the likely expectation of the vast majority of the audience for a service without mandatory restriction. Ofcom concluded that the content was clearly not justified by the context and was in breach of generally accepted standards.

The broadcast was therefore in breach of Rules 1.18, 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

Bluebird
Sport xxx Girls, 10 September 2010, 00:00 to 00:30

Ofcom received a complaint about alleged inappropriate adult content broadcast at around 00:00 on 10 September 2010.

Ofcom requested a recording of material from the Licensee for that time and date in order to assess the complaint.

Response Between 10 September and 17 September 2010 Ofcom formally asked SEL on several occasions, and set various deadlines, to provide a recording of its output on the 10 September 2010 at 00:00. The Licensee failed to provide this recording.

Ofcom Decision

Breach of Licence Condition 11 (retention and production of recordings)

Freeblue
Live 960, 3 August 2010, 23:00 to 01:00
4 August 23:00 to 01:00

Ofcom received a complaint about alleged inappropriate adult content broadcast at around 00:00 on 4 August 2010.

The Licensee provided a recording of material from 4 August 2010 from 00:00 to 01:00. However, this recording was not of broadcast quality, had no sound and did not match the description of the complaint. The Licensee failed to provide recordings of the programmes requested.

Ofcom Decision

Breach of Licence Condition 11 (retention and production of recordings)

Early Bird
Tease Me TV (Freeview), 30 July 2010, 08:30 to 09:00;
Tease Me TV (Freeview), 11 August 2010, 08:45 to 09:00;
Tease Me TV (Freeview), 15 August 2010, 07:38 to 07:50;
Tease Me TV (Freeview), 20 August 2010, 07:00 to 07:30;
Tease Me TV (Freeview), 23 August 2010, 08:00 to 08:20;
Tease Me TV (Freeview), 29 August 2010, 08:10 to 08:30

tease me tv logo Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer about the above broadcast.

The complainant was concerned that the programme included a presenter writhing around, simulating sex to entice phone calls at breakfast time. Ofcom noted that the female presenter was wearing a pink material band partially covering her breasts, a pink pair of knickers with call me printed on them and one fishnet stocking. During the broadcast, the presenter adopted certain positions kneeling with her legs wide open; sitting with one leg beneath her; and lying on her front with her breasts to camera. While in these positions the presenter repeatedly moved and gyrated her hips in a sexually provocative way and bounced up and down mimicking sexual intercourse. The presenter was also shown jiggling her breasts, lightly spanking her buttocks and opening her mouth in a sexualised rather than flirtatious way.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom concluded that the content of the six broadcasts was clearly unsuitable for children and not appropriately scheduled so as to offer protection from it. Therefore the content breached Rule 1.3 of the Code

 

9th November   

The Islam Channel takes a Caning...

Ofcom unimpressed by wife beating advice
Link Here

The Islam Channel logo IslamiQa
The Islam Channel, 18 May 2008
Muslimah Dilemma
The Islam Channel, 12 April 2009
IslamiQa
The Islam Channel, 30 October 2009

The Islam Channel is a specialist religious channel that broadcasts on the Sky digital satellite platform and is directed at a largely Muslim audience in the UK. Its output ranges from religious instruction programmes to current affairs and documentary programmes.

In March 2010, the Quilliam Foundation, which describes itself as a “counter-extremism” think-tank, published a report De-programming British Muslims – (the Quilliam Report).

The Quilliam Report was an analysis of the output of a range of the Islam Channel's output over a number of months, looking in particular at various religious and political programmes broadcast in 2008 and 2009.

The Quilliam Report made a number of allegations about compliance of the Islam Channel with the Code. In Ofcom's view, some of these allegations raised potential issues under the Code as regards harm and offence. Ofcom therefore requested recordings of the relevant material relating to a small number of programmes. Having watched the output, Ofcom decided to investigate the three programmes in relation to harm and offence issues .

In these programmes the presenters and their guests all spoke in English.

IslamiQa is a phone-in programme where viewers pose the presenter questions, by telephone, asking for religious-based advice on a range of issues. In this particular programme, we noted a telephone call from a female caller asking:

If your husband is hitting you, do you have the right to hit him back?

As part of his response back to this caller, the presenter, Sheikh Abdul Majid Ali, gave the following advice:

And as far as the hitting is concerned, in Islam we have no right to hit the woman in a way that damages her eye or damages her tooth or damages her face or makes her ugly. Maximum what you can do, you can see the pen over here, in my hand, this kind of a stick can be used just to make her feel that you are not happy with her. That's the only maximum that you can do, just to make her understand. Otherwise your husband has no right to hit you that way and at the same time even if he has done that, may Allah forgive him.

Muslimah Dilemma is a discussion programme considering issues from an Islamic perspective. We noted that in this programme, the issue of sexual relations within marriage was discussed. We noted that during the programme, a guest, Nazreen Nawaz, who was being interviewed, made the following statements:

And really the idea that a woman cannot refuse her husband's [sexual] relations – this is not strange to a Muslim because it is part of maintaining that strong marriage. In fact it is a bit strange, the converse is strange. To refuse relations would harm a marriage.

But it shouldn't be such a big problem where the man feels he has to force himself upon the woman because the understanding should be created within the system through the implementation of all the laws of Islam, that…marriage is about seeking tranquillity, it's about harmony that should be in the mind of the man and the woman alike.

In another edition of IslamiQa the issue of women wearing perfume was discussed. We noted that during this programme, the presenter, Sheikh Abdul Majid Ali, received a telephone call from a female caller asking:

You know when you buy perfume, some have alcohol in it. Is it OK…when you pray while you have the cream on?

As part of his response back to this caller, the presenter gave the following advice:

But, when it comes to the woman using the perfume, then we have to be very, very careful. A woman is allowed to use perfume only for her husband. Woman – if she goes out, from her house – applying – wearing perfume. And even if she goes to the Masjid [mosque] to pray, and her smell of the perfume is smelt by the strangers. Non-Mahram. Opposite sex people. Then she is declared as a prostitute by Rasool Allah [the Prophet Mohammed].

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code, which states: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

Ofcom Decision: In breach of the code

IslamiQa re wife beating

Ofcom notes that at no point did the presenter clearly state on air that he did not condone or encourage violence towards women under any circumstances – which Islam Channel has informed Ofcom is its formal stance on this issue. Ofcom considered that the presenter did therefore give advice to viewers that it was permissible for a husband to physically punish his wife, even though according to the broadcaster it was to be only in certain circumstances, and undertaken with restraint, Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 169 8 November 2010 14 and even if the language used by the presenter could be perceived by some as relatively mild. In Ofcom.s opinion, the advocacy of any form of violence (however limited), as happened in this particular case, is not acceptable and would be offensive to many in the audience.

Ofcom considered that it was highly likely that any advocacy and support of any form of domestic violence would be offensive. This was particularly the case given that domestic violence is potentially criminal under UK law.9

The programme was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3.

Muslimah Dilemma re marital rape

We considered that the views expressed in the programme concerning marital relations might have suggested to many in the audience that it would be permissible for a husband to oblige his wife to have sexual relations against her will, whether or not he used some form of threat of violence. This would have had the potential to cause offence.

Further Ofcom considered that this offensive material could not be justified by the context. This was due the lack of any mediating or counteracting views within the programme to Nazreen Nawaz.s opinions on marital relations, and in particular the lack of any unequivocal condemnation of the view that a husband has the right to force a wife to have sexual relations against her will.

Ofcom was of the view that the broadcaster failed to apply generally accepted standards and that the offensive content referred to above could not be justified by the context. Ofcom considered that it was highly likely that any advocacy and support at all of forced sexual relations would be offensive. This was particularly the case given that forced sexual relations within marriage is potentially criminal under UK law.

The programme was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3.

IslamiQa re perfume

Ofcom remained of the view that the broadcaster failed to apply generally accepted standards and the offensive content referred to above could not be justified by the context. Ofcom considered that it would be likely that the labelling of a woman as a prostitute for the act of the wearing of perfume in various public places would be highly offensive.

Further Ofcom considered that this offensive material could not be justified by the context, because for example: of the lack of any mediating or counteracting views or comments to the presenter's remarks; and the fact that there was the potential for the term prostitute to be considered pejorative abuse rather than a comment grounded in religious teaching, given the lack of what appears to be clear theological backing for the remark from Islamic sacred texts.

We therefore considered that the programme was in breach of Rule 2.3.

 

6th November   

Consumed into the Fiery Pits of Redundancy...

Ofcom costs cuts its Consumer Panel
Link Here

dole queue Ofcom is planning to close its consumer panel as part of the TV censor's cost-cutting measures.

The Communications Consumer Panel (formerly the Ofcom Consumer Panel) could be closed as soon as January, with its five remaining panel members and four members of staff set to lose their jobs.

The panel was set up in 2003 as an independent body to represent the interests of the public. However, the panel's independence was at best questionable, given that it was funded by Ofcom and all its staff were Ofcom employees. It was recently labelled the Industry Backside Protection Unit by Des Hughes, a researcher for Lord Corbett.

The closure will certainly save a significant sum. The Communications Consumer Panel had a budget of £712,300 for the 2008/9 financial year, while the chair Anna Bradley received a salary of £30,900 a year for a commitment of only six days a month - a pro-rata salary that was only marginally shy of the the Prime Minister's.

 

29th October   

Update: Ofcom Babe Rants Bulletin...

Ofcom whinges at Freeblue 1, Elite Days, Early Bird and Bang Babes
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

freeblueFreeblue 1
Babeworld.tv, 9 July 2010, 21:00 to 21:30

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer about the conduct of the female presenters.

Ofcom noted that the programme featured up to eleven women on screen at the same time. All of the women were wearing skimpy underwear including thongs and bras. At various times the women were shown adopting sexual positions, including: lying on their backs with their legs open to camera; bending over with their buttocks to camera; and presenters between the legs of other presenters. While in these positions the female presenters carried out a number of sexually provocative acts. Some were shown rubbing their breasts and buttocks, and touching around their genital area and upper thighs. Some presenters were shown kissing each other and touching each other's breasts, buttocks, genital area and upper thighs. They were also shown lightly spanking each other's buttocks. The broadcast also included images of a presenter placing her head between the legs of another presenter, mimicking oral sex. In addition, a female presenter removed another presenter's bra and was shown licking and sucking her nipples. Certain presenters licked their fingers to mimic the performance of oral sex on a man.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.6 - the transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed
  • Rule 2.1 - the broadcaster must apply generally accepted standards
  • Rule 2.3 - offensive material must be justified by context.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom was concerned that the sexualised images described above were shown directly after the watershed from 21:00. Ofcom took into account the likely expectation of the audience. Here Ofcom believes that viewers of a channel freely available without mandatory restricted access would not expect to see material of such strength broadcast directly after the watershed between 21:00 and 21:30. [I somehow think Babe channel viewers certainly would expect to be able to watch adult entertainment after the watershed]

Breach of Rules 1.6, 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

Elite Days adElite Days
Elite TV 2, 6 August 2010, 12:24

As a result of Ofcom's concerns about compliance in this sector, Ofcom conducts occasional monitoring of daytime chat channels.

In this case, Ofcom noted that the female presenter was wearing a very skimpy mesh and string vest showing her naked breasts beneath with only plasters over her nipples, and a see through lace thong. During the broadcast the presenter adopted various sexual positions for periods of time, including on her front with her bottom in the air, and on her side with her legs apart. While in these positions she repeatedly stroked and touched her body, buttocks and breasts, and wiggled and thrust her hips in the air in a sexually provocative way. She also pulled her mesh vest over her buttocks while pushing her hips in the air.

Ofcom considered

  • Rule 1.3 ( Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them. )

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom concluded that the content of this broadcast was clearly unsuitable for children and not appropriately scheduled. Therefore the content breached Rule 1.3 of the Code.

tease me tv logoEarly Bird
Tease Me TV (Freeview), 27 July 2010, 07:30 to 07:50

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer about this broadcast. The complainant was concerned that the content was unsuitable for broadcast at this time of day.

Ofcom noted that the female presenter was wearing a pink bra and thong over which was a skimpy mesh all-in-one vest and thong. During the broadcast the presenter adopted certain positions including lying on her side with her legs wide open; on her front with her bottom raised sometimes turning to reveal her bottom to camera; and, on her back with her hips raised in the air. While in these positions the presenter repeatedly: stroked and touched her body including her crotch area, legs, buttocks and breasts; moved and gyrated her hips sometimes high in the air in a sexually provocative way; pulled sexualised facial expressions and lightly spanked her buttocks.

Ofcom formally requested comments from Bang Media on several occasions. Bang Media did not provide any comments. In the absence of any response from the Licensee, Ofcom proceeded to reach a decision on this material against the Code.

Ofcom Decision

We concluded that the content included in the broadcast as described above had no editorial justification since its sole purpose was to elicit PRS calls. In Ofcom's view, the revealing and sexual clothing, and repeated actions and sexual positions of the presenter were intended to be sexually provocative in nature and the broadcast of such images was not suitable to promote daytime chat. In light of this clothing and behaviour, together with its lack of editorial justification, in Ofcom's view the material was clearly unsuitable for children.

Breach of Rule 1.3

Bang BabesBang Babes
Tease Me, 28 July 2010, 23:40 to 00:00

Ofcom received a complaint about alleged inappropriate adult content broadcast between 23:40 and midnight. Ofcom requested a recording of the material from Bang Media.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom formally asked Bang Media on several occasions to provide a recording of the output which was complained of so that Ofcom could view it and decide whether it raised any potential issues under the Code. Bang Media failed to provide any recording. This was therefore a clear breach of Condition 11 (Retention and production of recordings) of Bang Media's licence to broadcast.

Breach of Condition 11 (retention and production of recordings)

 

28th October   

Updated: The Speciale Needs of the Easily Offended...

More whinges at Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Crying Out Loud According Clarkson Top Gear
BBC2, 1 August 2010, 21:30

Top Gear is a long-running light entertainment series presented by Jeremy Clarkson based on a motoring magazine format.

Programmes are generally broadcast later in the evening schedule and typically include quirky and humorous banter between the presenters.

In this particular programme, Jeremy Clarkson was presenting his views about a new Ferrari car and he compared it to older versions, one of which was owned by co-presenter James May.

His commentary included the following opinion about the appearance of Ferraris in general: Striking - yes, but pretty - no. This one for example is just vulgar, and even James' Ferrari (the 430) was a bit wrong - that smiling front end - it looked like a simpleton - should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs .

Ofcom received two complaints. In summary, the complainants were offended by Clarkson's use of speciale needs .

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code (material which may cause offence must be justified by the context).

In response, the BBC said it regretted that the comments made by Jeremy Clarkson in the programme caused offence to some viewers. The BBC said that it was the car itself that was the subject of the fun being poked at and its owner, co-presenter James May.

The BBC recognised, however, following complaints received, that the comment had the potential to cause offence so it was removed from the repeat version of the programme and the version available on BBC iPlayer. It assured Ofcom that the original version of the programme would not be repeated again. The BBC offered its apologies for any offence caused by the comments.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom recognises that discriminatory language of this nature has the potential to be very offensive to some viewers, as it could be seen to single out certain sections of society in a derogatory way because of their disability.

In Ofcom's view, the comments made by Jeremy Clarkson in this instance were capable of causing offence. In particular, on this occasion he was clearly criticising the car's physical appearance by directly comparing it to a simpleton and saying it should have been called 430 Speciale Needs .

In Ofcom's opinion, while obviously intended as a joke and not aimed directly at an individual with learning difficulties, the comment could easily be understood as ridiculing people in society with a particular physical disability or learning difficulty.

Ofcom acknowledged that the BBC took immediate steps in response to complaints it received about the programme. In particular the BBC had voluntarily removed the comments from the iPlayer version of the programme and the repeat version broadcast several days later, and made the decision not to repeat the programme in its original format. It had also apologised for any offence caused by the comments, underlining that there was no intent to make fun of those with special needs.

Ofcom therefore considered this case resolved.

Comment: The BBC needs Jeremy Clarkson to be offensive

28th October 2010. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by David Quantick

Telegraph logoI like Jeremy Clarkson because beneath all the bluster and provocation, he seems to be more bluster and provocation. In the weird Top Gear family – where James May is the posh mum and Richard Hammond the cheeky kid – Clarkson is the dad who says silly things and of whom nobody takes any notice.

This, surely, is the point about the latest controversy – in which Clarkson said a Ferrari looked like a simpleton and should have been called special needs , for which the BBC apologised. On Top Gear, Clarkson is expected to make outrageous remarks, and we are expected to ignore them.

...Read the full article

 

28th October   

Complaints Dispatched...

Ofcom finds Dispatches investigation of the Islamic Forum of Europe to be well within the rules
Link Here

dispatches logoDispatches: Britains Islamic Republic
Channel 4, 1 March 2010, 20:00

This edition of Dispatches was presented by investigative journalist Andrew Gilligan and reported on the Islamic Forum of Europe ( the IFE ). The programme sought to investigate how the IFE - described as a fundamentalist Muslim group in the programme - had allegedly infiltrated a number of British political parties and was exerting influence over Tower Hamlets Council in London. The programme included secretly filmed footage taken in the East London Mosque, the London Muslim Centre and the studios of the IFE's weekly radio show, Easy Talk.

The presenter introduced the programme by saying:

Tonight on Dispatches, how a fundamentalist Muslim group has secretly infiltrated the Labour party and the broader political system... How it wants an Islamic State, or caliphate. And how it wants to live by Sharia Law in the UK... And how it is already exerting influence over a London borough council with a billion pound budget.

The programme reported that the East London Mosque in Whitechapel is linked to the IFE and that, through government grants paid to support the Mosque or associated organisations, British tax payers are unwittingly helping to finance its [the IFE's] planned and co-ordinated bid to infiltrate British politics . The programme alsoexamined the IFE's allegedly wider channels of influence, such as, for example, its radio programmes on Muslim Community Radio ( MCR ) and by representing Muslim community organisations.

Ofcom received 205 complaints about the programme. The complaints expressed a number of concerns about the broadcast. In summary, the complainants said that the programme:

  • was biased against Islam, the IFE, the East London Mosque and the Muslim community
  • contained inaccurate and defamatory accusations about the IFE and wrongly referred to the IFE as a fundamentalist and extremist organisation
  • was politically motivated and broadcast too close to general and local elections
  • was a misleading and dishonest portrayal of the Muslim community
  • was offensive to Muslims
  • contributed to Islamophobia by portraying Muslims as terrorists and will add to racial tension by promoting hatred.

Ofcom viewed the programme in light of these complaints. We examined the material under the following rules of the Broadcasting Code:

  • Rule 2.2: Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matter must not materially mislead the audience.
  • 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…discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of…religion).
  • Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.
  • Rule 5.5: Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved on the part of any person providing a service.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

Some complainants believed the programme was broadcast too close to the general and local elections. In this case, the programme was broadcast on 1 March 2010, outside the election period (i.e. before the announcement of the dissolution of Parliament). Therefore the stricter rules in Section Six of the Code relating to elections did not apply to this programme.

Rule 5.5 (Due impartiality) A number of complainants said that this programme was politically motivated and, as noted above, was broadcast too close to the general and local elections.

Section Five of the Code states that due impartiality must be preserved by the broadcaster on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy. The Code explains in summary that these are political or industrial issues on which politicians, industry and/or the media are in debate… .

Did the programme include matters of political controversy?

In Ofcom's view parts of the programme did discuss issues of political controversy. We considered in this case that the issue of political controversy was the extent to which a certain Islamic group had allegedly influenced certain local political parties, institutions and policies. Therefore in this case, taking into account all the circumstances, and bearing in mind the context of the programme described in the Introduction above, Ofcom concluded that the elements of this investigative programme dealing with these issues were subject to the due impartiality rules.

Was due impartiality preserved in the programme?

Ofcom noted that during the programme, where allegations were made against the IFE, alternative viewpoints were expressed. In particular, certain contributors in the programme were able to put their viewpoint across (as well as deny allegations). Therefore the programme transmited other opinions, and in particualr, those who believed that the IFE was not an extremist Muslim organisation and that it was not targetting political parties to infiltrate. For example, the programme carried views of the IFE and stated:

The IFE said: There is no IFE policy … or strategy which directs its members to join [Tower Hamlets Labour Party] … or that is has influenced or sought to influence key funding decisions. Given the above, we considered that the programme included views to both support and reject the allegations made about the IFE in the programme, and any response or opposing views to the evidence gathered was appropriately presented during the course of the programme. Given this, Ofcom considered that the programme was a legitimate investigation into the activities of the IFE and due impartiality was preserved as required by Rule 5.5.

Rule 2.2 (Factual programmes must not materially mislead the audience)

A number of complainants also suggested that the programme: contained inaccurate and misleading accusations about Islam, the East London Mosque, the Muslim community and the IFE e.g. wrongly referring to the IFE as a fundamentalist and extremist organisation.

This programme was an investigative documentary into the activities, views and policies of particular organisations and individuals. As a piece of considered television journalism it was legitimately entitled to adopt a position on those activities, views and policies – provided the audience was not materially misled. This programme did make some controversial allegations. These were supported by recorded clips, or actual quotes, as appropriate; and the programme also included on screen statements from many of the people and organisations who featured in the investigation in response to allegations made in the programme. There is no evidence that viewers were materially misled therefore in terms of Rule 2.2 as to the allegations against particular individuals or organisations. Nor did the programme suggest at any point that all or many Muslims or Muslim organisations or their members were in general extremist or fundamentalist. The audience was therefore not materially misled in this respect either. As a consequence, Ofcom did not consider the programme to be in breach of Rule 2.2.

Rule 2.3 (generally accepted standards) Some complainants considered that the allegations made in the programme were offensive to Muslims.

Ofcom considered that the broadcast of this programme was clearly justified by context and in accordance with the Code. This was an in-depth investigative documentary exploring the extent to which the IFE had allegedly infiltrated certain British political parties and social organisations. The nature of the programme was a serious documentary focusing on an important issue of public interest. The editorial purpose and the issues it sought to expose were clearly positioned to viewers at the start of the programme. The programme was clearly part of Channel 4's distinct public service remit. Also in Ofcom's opinion most of the channel's likely audience would have expected such a provocative documentary from the Dispatches strand. Within the programme, it was made clear that the allegations made related to the IFE only and were not representative of all Muslims.

In addition, as noted above, the programme also represented the views of the IFE in response to the allegations. Therefore in accordance with generally accepted standards, the allegations made about the IFE were put within the context of views from the wider Muslim community. Given the above reasons, Ofcom believed that the programme was not in breach of Rule 2.3.

Rule 3.1 (Incitement of crime): Some of the complainants believed that the programme contributed to Islamophobia by portraying Muslims as terrorists and would add to racial tension by promoting hatred. While the programme certainly contained strong allegations about the IFE and their beliefs, in Ofcom's opinion these views would not, on a reasonable view, encourage or incite the commission of a crime (such as racial hatred), contextualised with commentary as they were within a serious documentary. The allegations were justified by the narrative of the programme and put fully in context. Accordingly, Ofcom did not consider that the programme was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder. Therefore Ofcom did not consider the programme to be in breach of Rule 3.1.

Not in breach of Rules 2.2, 2.3, 3.1 and 5.5

 

27th October   

Dildos at Ofcom...

Ofcom whinge at pre-watershed scene in sex shop on Danish TV reality show
Link Here

baronessenBaronessen flytter ind
Kanal 4 Denmark, 1 August 2010, 19:00 (UK) 20:00 (Denmark)

Baronessen flytter ind is a series broadcast on Kanal 4 Denmark, a television channel that operates under an Ofcom licence and transmits to audiences in Denmark.

This is a lifestyle swap programme which features a celebrity Baroness going to live with an ordinary. Danish family.

The wife of the family then spends time in the Baroness. castle. The Baroness for her part aims to change the attitudes of the male members of the family, rethink their approach towards helping out around the family home and improve their overall family life. The husband of the family, Jonny, works in a sex shop. In this episode the Baroness visits him at his place of work and discusses the nature of the business in a bid to understand him and what motivates him.

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who objected to the sexual content of the broadcast. Ofcom noted that, during the broadcast, footage from within the sex shop showed adult DVDs, the covers of which showed images of naked and scantily clad women. There was also some discussion about the sex toys on sale and the camera focussed on several dildos. At one point the Duchess removed a large fist shaped dildo from the shelf and asked Jonny: Can you explain this? Jonny answered: Yes it's for both vaginal and anal use, you use it as your hand. Jonny then briefly made a fist and demonstrated a thrusting motion.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3 ( Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them )
  • Rule 1.20 ( …Any discussion on, or portrayal of, sexual behaviour must be editorially justified if included before the watershed…and must be appropriately limited ).

SBS The Licensee explained that the channel appeals to a female adult audience and the programme attracts only a small percentage of children. It said that the channel is seen only by a Danish audience, who generally have a more liberal attitude towards sexual matters than UK viewers.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.3 and 1.20

Ofcom's concern in this instance was the time at which this programme was broadcast. We do not believe that the footage from a sex shop featured in this particular programme was suitable for pre-watershed broadcast.

While many of the camera shots within the sex shop did not focus on nudity and the shots of the DVD covers were not especially graphic, we were concerned by the discussion on, and shots of, sex aids set out above.

We accept that this programme was broadcast at 20:00 local time in Denmark. However this is still well before the 21:00 watershed. It was broadcast at a time when we would expect broadcasters to be mindful of the sexual content of programming in order to protect children who may be in the audience.

Ofcom considers that the series is a light-hearted entertainment programme which viewers would not normally expect to feature material of an overtly sexual nature. Ofcom.s view was that the sex aids part of the interview was unnecessarily detailed and not sufficiently editorially justified.

We do not consider that this content was appropriate for a pre-watershed programme of this kind which is available to a general audience including some children. The programme therefore breached Rules 1.3 and 1.20.

 

22nd October   

Redundancies at Ofcom...

A few pre-watershed expletives heard at Ofcom
Link Here

dole queueOfcom is to cut 170 jobs, almost one in five of its workforce, and reduce its £143m budget by 28.2% in real terms over the next four years to meet the government's comprehensive spending review costing savings targets.

The media and telecoms regulator will see its budget fall by £30m in nominal terms to £112.7m in 2014/15. Ofcom's staff will be cut by 170, or about 19%, from the current level of about 873 employees.

Ofcom's cuts, announced to staff earlier today, follow a wide-ranging review of the regulator's structure kicked off by chief executive Ed Richards back in July.

These are difficult times for everyone in the public sector and it is right that Ofcom plays its part meeting the challenge facing the public finances, Richards told staff. We also need to re-focus Ofcom in the light of changing markets and technological developments, and of course in respect of the budgetary constraints. This is why we have taken the initiative and today set out detailed proposals for both reducing expenditure and achieving greater strategic focus and organisational effectiveness.

 

20th October   

YouView, WeControl...

YouView get the go-ahead from Ofcom
Link Here

youview 1 logoOfcom has effectively given the green light to a controversial video-on-demand service backed by the BBC after declining to launch a competition investigation.

The YouView service – previously codenamed Project Canvas – is now due to launch by March next year.

The platform will allow users to stream on demand content from a number of providers from a single set-top box. It is backed by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk, Orange and Arqiva and will allow providers to stream pay-as-you-go as well as free to air content.

However, competitors including Virgin Media and BSkyB have raised concerns it could distort competition in the increasingly important content on demand market.

Ofcom acknowledged there could be competition concerns in the future but said it was unable to launch an investigation until it had time to assess the impact YouView has on the emerging sector. Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards, said: An investigation would be premature at the current stage of YouView's development given the absence of a clear risk of consumer harm. But if evidence does emerge in the future that YouView causes harm to the interests of viewers and consumers we may reconsider whether to investigate.

Virgin Media branded the decision perplexing and may appeal.

YouView is a joint venture between media giants including BT, TalkTalk and ITV. It will offer video streamed over users' broadband connections through a set-top box. Broadcasters will be able to offer pay per view.

Update: Delayed

13th February 2011. See  article from  pocket-lint.com

New video-on-demand platform YouView has been delayed until next year, according to one of Pocket-lint's trusted sources. It was previously reported that the service, formerly called Project Canvas, had been pushed back to summertime, but we now understand that it is unlikely to surface until at least February 2012.

 

15th October   

Censor On...

Ofcom gets an easy ride in government quango review
Link Here

Ofcom logoOfcom is to have a number of its powers curtailed including its responsibility for running regular reviews of public service broadcasting and media ownership rules.

The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, made the announcements today as part of changes that will see 19 of the 55 public bodies for which the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible either abolished or significantly reformed.

The DCMS also confirmed rumours that Postcomm, the postal services regulator, will be merged into Ofcom.

Hunt also announced eight key changes to how Ofcom's duties will be changed. The DCMS said that the restructure was designed to return the policy-setting role to the secretary of state, reduce unnecessary expense and to avoid duplication .

Hunt will decide when to conduct the time-consuming PSB reviews, currently run once every five years, and determine the scope. The same will apply to the statutory media ownership rules review, which currently takes place every three years.

 

14th October   

Update: Drowning in Propaganda...

Ofcom finds that climate change advert wasn't political
Link Here  full story: Climate Change Advert...Drowning in a sea of complaints

Act on C02 advert Bedtime stories advertisement for Act on CO2 Various broadcasters
October 2009, various dates and times

Ofcom received 537 complaints about a television advertisement for Act on CO2 . The complainants raised objections that the advertising was of a 'political' nature.

The majority of the complaints were referred to Ofcom by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Political advertising is prohibited on television and radio under the terms of section 321 of the Communications Act 2003 and, for television, by Rule 4 of the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Television Advertising Standards Code.

Act on CO2 is a joint initiative of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the Department for Transport (DfT), the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The scheme co-ordinates government efforts to reduce businesses' and individuals' carbon footprints, in other words to reduce the amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) produced through work and daily life.

The advertisement showed a father reading his young daughter a bedtime story from an illustrated children's book. The audio was as follows: Father:

There was once a land where the weather was very, very strange. There were awful heatwaves in some parts, and in others terrible storms and floods. Scientists said it was being caused by too much CO2 which went up into the sky when the grown-ups used energy. They said the CO2 was getting dangerous; its effects were happening faster than they had thought. Some places could even disappear under the sea and it was the children of the land who'd have to live with the horrible consequences. The grown-ups realised they had to do something. They discovered that over 40% of the CO2 was coming from ordinary everyday things like keeping houses warm and driving cars, which meant if they made less CO2 maybe they could save the land for the children.

Child: Is there a happy ending?.

Voiceover: It's up to us how the story ends. See what you can do. Search online for Act on CO2..

During the advertisement pictures from the storybook were shown, with simple animation, to illustrate the effects described: a rabbit weeping during a drought, a 'sky monster' representing accumulated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a flooded town with a dog disappearing beneath rising waters, a small girl turning off a light.

These images were intercut with close-ups of the daughter's face as she listened to her father.

Complainants used various descriptions of the advertisement that related, to one degree or another, to its having a 'political' purpose. Typical phrases included: government propaganda, Orwellian, brain-washing, cynical political manipulation, alarmist propaganda, theocratic propaganda, political message targeted at minors, softening the public up for tax increases, one-sided political propaganda, social engineering, and indoctrination.

Ofcom Decison: Not in Breach

Ofcom considered that the advertisement differed from previous Act on CO2 campaigns which suggested specifically, for example, that viewers drive less, improve loft insulation, turn off lights and not leave electrical appliances on stand-by. In this case, the focus of the advertisement's contents appeared to fall more on the wider context of why the audience should consider energy conservation to be important and relevant to them (It's up to us how the story ends), as opposed to the provision of specific information about what actions viewers could take, or changes they could make to their behaviour in this regard.

Ofcom considered that the nature and extent of the information imparted by the advertisement itself was relatively limited - for example about actions viewers themselves could take or consider. It was Ofcom's view that, for this reason, the advertisement came close to the limits of acceptability as an advertisement of a public service nature.

On balance, Ofcom decided that the inclusion of the image of the young girl turning off a light switch, and the message at the end of the advertisement providing viewers with a further source of information about specific actions they could take was adequate to merit the advertisement being classed as of a public service nature.

Ofcom concluded that the purpose of the advertisement was to raise viewers' awareness of the issues of climate change, in the context of energy conservation and its relevance to viewers.

This was achieved by means of some information provided within the advertisement, in combination with specific information provided by the Act on CO2 website, to which the advertisement referred. The advertisement was therefore of a public service nature and, as such, it fell within the exception at section 321(7)(a) of the Act. Therefore, the advertisement was not in breach of the prohibition on political advertising.

Not in breach

 

13th October   

Unbalanced...

Unacceptably biased reporting of troubled Kashmir
Link Here

dm digital logoAssan Na Kashmir
DM Digital, 20 July 2010, 15:30 to 16:30

Assan na Kashmir was a one hour programme which discussed the actions and policy of the State of India in the disputed region of Kashmir.

It was broadcast on DM Digital, a free-to-air general entertainment channel which broadcasts mainly in Urdu to the UK Asian Muslim community.

The programme opened with a single presenter speaking in Urdu about the current international political situation with regard to the disputed territory of Kashmir (which is administered by three states: India, Pakistan and the People's Republic of China).

For example, the presenter commented (in translation from the original Urdu):

India is not prepared to talk on the issue of Kashmir. The Americans want Pakistan to enter into dialogue with India but India is adamant not to talk having killed 500,000 Kashmiris.... .

...India has 800,000 troops in occupied Kashmir committing atrocities. Kashmiri nation's women, children, windows who lost husbands, mothers who lost their son, and you saw in the last two months young men – 12 year olds and 15 year old – Indian forces shot them in broad daylight….

During the course of the programme, two guest contributors joined the presenter to express their opinions on events, policies and issues relating to Kashmir. The first guest, from the Kashmir National Arts Council, presented his views direct to camera in the style of a dramatic performance (in translation from the original Urdu:

O people of the world! Listen to me…Come and see the atrocities being committed upon Kashmiri mothers, children and sisters..

The second presenter was described as belonging to the organisation Reformation of Muslims and also presented a pro-Pakistan viewpoint. For example (in translation from the original Urdu):

India is implicated in the terrorism that is happening in Pakistan; Mossad [Israeli secret service] and Ra [Indian secret service] agents are involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who said the programme included .very strong anti-Indian. content with no alternative view presented.

Ofcom noted that the subject matter focused on the ongoing dispute over Kashmir between India and Pakistan and the policies and actions of the State of India in the region. Therefore  it was Ofcom's view that these issues were matters of political controversy on which politicians and the media are in debate and subject to Section 5 1 which requires broadcasters to ensure due impartiality on matters of political controversy.

Ofcom considered Rule: Rule 5.5:

  • Due impartiality on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy must be preserved….

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 5.5

Ofcom considered that the programme included only one viewpoint. This viewpoint was overtly and consistently critical of the policies of the State of India in the disputed region of Kashmir. Throughout the whole programme, no alternative opinion (which could be adequately considered to be supportive of, or which sought to explain, the actions and policies of the State of India in relation to Kashmir) was included.

Indeed, Ofcom noted with some concern that, in its response DM Digital argued that the programme as it was broadcast was legitimate because the discussion was about bringing attention to the world about a series of real happenings. The broadcasters appeared to have little understanding of the requirement to apply Rule 5.5: firstly, in terms of identifying the material as concerning a matter of political or industrial controversy or matter relating to current public policy; and secondly, ensuring that the programme adequately represented the State of India's position regarding Kashmir.

Nor did the broadcaster provide any evidence of alternative views across a series of programmes taken as a whole (i.e more than one programme on the same service, dealing with the same issue which are editorially linked and aimed at a like audience).

Ofcom therefore considered that the programme was in breach of Rule 5.5.

We consider that the breach in this case is not so serious or repeated to merit being considered for imposition of a statutory sanction. However, Ofcom remains concerned about DM Digital Television Limited's understanding and compliance processes in relation to Secton Five of the Code. Therefore, DM Digital Television Limited will be required to attend a meeting with the regulator to explain and discuss its compliance processes further in this area.

 

12th October   

Koran in Breach of Ofcom Rule 4.2...

Or at least its interpretation on Ummah Channel
Link Here

ummah channel logoKhatm-e-Nubuwwat (The Seal of Prophethood) Ummah Channel, 21 May 2010, 22:00
Seal of the Prophets Ummah Channel, 30 May 2010, 14:00
Bahaar-e-Shariat (an encyclopaedia of Islamic jurisprudence) Ummah Channel, 8 June 2010, 22:00

The Ummah Channel is a satellite television service which aims .to promote knowledge of Islam through educating viewers to fulfil their spiritual and religious development..

The three programmes complained of followed a similar format: presenters moderating a phone-in where viewers put questions seeking guidance and instruction in the Islamic religion to a small group of scholars.

Ofcom received 1,026 complaints from members of the Ahmadiyya religious community. This is a comparatively small Islamic movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qaadyani that grew out of mainstream Islam in the nineteenth century, whose followers believe themselves to be true Muslims. Followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are known as Ahmadis or Qaadyanis or Ahmadiyya.

The complainants expressed serious concerns about the programmes Khatm-e-Nubuwwat (571 complaints received); Seal of the Prophets (173 complaints received); and Bahaar-e-Shariat (282 complaints received) broadcast on the Ummah Channel. There was evidence that the complaints were part of an orchestrated campaign.

The theme of the three programmes was the Islamic theological belief that Prophet Muhammad was the last of the prophets and, thereafter, all others claiming to be prophets are false (including, according to a number of mainstream Muslims, the founder of the Ahmadiyya, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qaadyani).

All of the complainants from the Ahmadiyya community expressed significant concern that, in effect, the content of the programmes amounted to a hate campaign against them and that it would lead to the incitement of violence, given that it was, according to some complainants, .declared on-air that killing Ahmadi Muslims is legal in Islamic jurisprudence and also a duty for any Muslim..

We cite a selection of the translated comments made during the broadcasts to illustrate the tone and content of the programmes complained of

[Guest Scholar:] We are the guardians of the faith of the companions of Prophet Muhammad who beheaded false prophets. Allah willing as long as there are Muslims, and the spark of faith is inside them, they will continue to conduct jihad against false prophets.

[Guest Scholar]: .…it is the unanimous decision of the confirmed Paradise dwellers that the one who claims to be a prophet after Prophet Muhammad is a kafir [unbeliever], apostate and must be killed.

[Guest Scholar]: After he (Muhammad) disappeared from this world, many liars falsely claimed prophethood; one of these men was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qaadyani…If one belongs to this group…then we advise him to seek repentance from the core of his heart.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 3.1 (material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television and radio services)
  • Rule 4.2 (the religious beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment in religious programmes).

Ofcom Decision:

On reviewing the content it was Ofcom's overall view that whilst the particular selection of the texts, and language, used by the scholars could be perceived at times as abusive and aggressive, it did not amount to incitement to commission crime or an attempt to lead viewers to disorder. The statements stopped short of encouraging violence against any existing specified or named group and did not clearly advocate any potentially criminal action. Therefore, Ofcom did not consider that the broadcaster breached Rule 3.1.

However, whilst Ofcom did not consider that the material was likely to result in the incitement of a crime, given that there was no direct or indirect call to action, we were extremely concerned about the potential for viewers to interpret the comments, particularly given the context of the ongoing tensions between the Ahmadiyya community and mainstream Islam. Ofcom would therefore urge broadcasters to apply extreme caution when complying such material, especially where there is an context of tension, to ensure that the potential for interpretation does not increase the likelihood of the commission of a crime.

Taking the three programmes together, Ofcom noted references such as: filth or filthy to describe the Ahmadiyya, comments by the scholars that Muslims should shun contact with this group and that Ahamdis were hellbound ; and derogatory insults about the Ahmadi founder referring to him as a liar and a cheat .

Ofcom also noted the various other comments set out in the Introduction to this finding. It was Ofcom's view that the use of such terms and references when taken together amounted to abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of members of the Ahmadiyya community.

Further, it is Ofcom's opinion that it was a serious compliance failing that the broadcaster was not aware of its responsibilities in terms of Rule 4.2 of the Code. Consequently the broadcaster did not identify nor take action during the live broadcasts to curtail the abusive nature of the comments about Ahmadis being made by a number of the contributors.

In addition, it is Ofcom's view that neither of the two presenters featured on the three programmes exercised a proper degree of moderation or fairness, when handling the telephone calls from individuals and the responses from the scholars contributing. Ofcom noted that viewers could have perceived the conduct of the presenters as condoning towards the abusive references about the Ahmadi and dismissive towards the Ahmadi callers who contacted the programmes.

Given the points set out above Ofcom considers that the broadcaster was in breach of Rule 4.2. We advise all broadcasters producing religious programmes to ensure that, when discussing the views and beliefs of either followers of the same religion or followers of other religions, they ensure those views and beliefs are not subject to abusive treatment.

Breach of Rule 4.2

 

1st October   

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tease me tv logoEarly Bird Tease Me TV (Freeview),
3 August 2010, 08:00 to 09:00

Earlybird is a televised daytime babe channel programme broadcast on Tease Me TV on  Freeview. The licence for the service is held by Bang Media.

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer about this broadcast. The complainant was a parent of young children and was concerned that during the morning until 9am the Early Bird digital channel is broadcasting sexually explicit television . The complainant said that the material was broadcast at a time when many young children watch television, before school and in the holidays and the channel is easily accessible .

The Licensee provided a recording. Ofcom noted that the female presenter was wearing a revealing red lace bra and thong, red fish net stocking and suspenders, and red stilettos. During the broadcast the presenter adopted certain positions including lying on her side, back and front with her legs wide open, lying on her side with one leg raised in the air, and on all fours with her hips and buttocks raised. While in these positions the presenter repeatedly: stroked and touched her body including her crotch area, legs and breasts; moved and gyrated her hips in a sexually provocative way; and lightly jiggled her breasts. The presenter was also shown licking her lips and showing her tongue to reveal a tongue stud. A number of times during the broadcast the camera moved up and down the presenter's body so that her covered breasts were shown in close up.

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

Ofcom formally requested comments from Bang Media on a number of occasions. Bang Media did not provide any comments. In the absence of any response from the Licensee, Ofcom proceeded to reach a decision on this material against the Code.

Ofcom concluded that the content of the broadcast was clearly unsuitable for children and not appropriately scheduled so as to protect them from it. Therefore the content breached Rule 1.3 of the Code.

As a result of the serious and repeated nature of breaches recorded previously against Bang Channels Limited and Bang Media (London) Ltd in Bulletins 157, 158, 163 and 165, Bang Media has already been put on notice that these contraventions of the Code are being considered for further statutory sanction.

Early Bird Tease Me TV (Freeview), 15 July 2010, 08:30 to 09:00

Condition 11 of Bang Media's licence states that the Licensee must make and retain a recording of all its programmes for a period of 60 days from broadcast, and at Ofcom's request must produce a recording forthwith . Ofcom has made clear that recordings must be of a standard and in a format which allows Ofcom to view the material as broadcast.

Ofcom received one complaint about alleged inappropriate adult content between 08:30 and 09:00. Ofcom requested a recording of that material from Bang Media.

Between 20 July and 25 August 2010 Ofcom asked Bang Media on several occasions and set various deadlines to provide a recording of the programme. In correspondence Bang Media stated that it was having difficulty in retrieving the material Ofcom had requested. The Licensee did not provide a recording. Ofcom therefore asked the Licensee for formal comments on its compliance with Condition 11 of its licence, and in particular the obligation to provide Ofcom with a copy of its output forthwith on request. Bang Media did not provide any comments in response.

Ofcom recorded a Breach of Licence Condition 11 (retention and production of recordings)

 

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