Ofcom Watch

 2011: April-June

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30th June   

Update: One Stop Complaints Shop...

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Lords committee reports that the relationship between the BBC Trust and Ofcom is too convoluted
Link Here

House of Lords logoThe BBC's complaints process is convoluted and overly complicated , a group of peers has said. The Lords communications committee said it was hard for viewers, listeners and web users to know whom to contact. and proposed a complaints one-stop shop .

Part of the problem was that the roles of the BBC Trust and watchdog Ofcom overlapped, the report added. And despite Ofcom having the final say in all other areas, the BBC Trust has responsibility for matters of impartiality and accuracy.

Peers said the BBC should set out a clear explanation of its complaints process on its website, so that licence fee payers knew what they could expect. There should also be a single point of contact for all complaints, regardless of whether they applied to television, radio or online material..

This situation - in which the BBC was judge and jury in its own case - was undesirable and should not continue, the peers said.

The committee called for all complaints to be made to the BBC in the first instance, followed by a right of appeal to the BBC Trust and a subsequent final appeal to Ofcom if the complainant was not happy with the trust's decision.

 

25th June   

Update: Off the Record...

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Ofcom fines babe channel operator over lack of recordings of Essex Babes, Northern Birds and Live XXX Babes
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Essex babesOfcom have fined Satellite Entertainment Limited (SEL) £ 90,000. SEL hold the licences for 3 babe channels that have 'offended' the TV censor.

The fines were for censorship breaches by Essex Babes, Northern Birds and Live XXX Babes

Ofcom found that on nine occasions the SEL had failed to provide recordings of programmes to Ofcom (in breach of licensing condition 11).

informationoverlord.co.uk report that during this period SEL had rented the channel to a 3rd party who then dealt directly with Ofcom.

When SEL became aware of compliance problems by the company it terminated its agreement with the company.

Ofcom's sanctions Committee were said to be very concerned that SEL had lost control of its services to a third party, but said that ultimately SEL as the licensee is still the party that has responsibility for compliance.

 

23rd June   

Offsite: Nutters vs Censors...

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Why the Daily Mail has it in for Ofcom
Link Here

daily mail watershed Had you read the Daily Mail, however, you might have seen this rather stark headline: Mail WAS right and Ofcom was wrong over X factor 'soft porn' . It referred to an ongoing spat between the newspaper and the regulator sparked by Christina Aguilera and Rihanna's burlesque-style dancing in last December's X Factor final. The raunchy performances drew complaints from some viewers and interest from the Daily Mail, which published a story demanding action with stills of the dancers -- supplied by ITV -- prompting many more complaints to the regulator.

Ofcom investigated and in April cleared the show -- just. The routines as broadcast came very close, Ofcom said, to the line of acceptability given the early evening scheduling and the large number of children and families watching. But the Ofcom ruling contained something else -- unprecedented criticism of the way a national newspaper (ie the Mail) handled the story.

Ofcom pointed out that the pictures used in the newspaper's original article were far more explicit -- featuring big close-ups etc -- than anything actually broadcast in the programme.

...Read the full article

If the Daily Mail is so worried about the sexualisation of children, all they have to do is hit delete'

See article from guardian.co.uk by Charlie Brooker

Re the same Daily Mail article:

The thrust of the Mail's article was that Ofcom is toothless and pre-watershed TV should be less sexy. That's its opinion, and it's got every right to hold it.

But as I was reading the article on their website, my eye was drawn to a variety of other raunchy images running down the righthand side: Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe shows off her fuller figure in a bikini as she films Hollyoaks in Ibiza ; The Saturdays hog the limelight in hotpants ; Lady Gaga parades down a runway in see-through dress ; Katy Perry spoofs Janet Jackson's boob-baring 'wardrobe malfunction' in new video . . . and so on, and so on. Starlets and sex, sex and starlets -- all of it in plain view on the Daily Mail website which, to the best of my knowledge, has no age restrictions in place: nothing even approaching a watershed. A child as young as four could be exposed to Katy Perry's breasts over breakfast. I bet even Russell Brand thinks that's going a bit far.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Snouts in the Trough. Daily Mail takes a pop at the TV censors

23rd June 2011. See article from dailymail.co.uk

The Daily Mail writes:

Daily Mail logoTalk to anyone in the insular, self-regarding, oh-so-liberal London media world about Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards and they will say he's brainy, self-assured and carries a vast amount of information around in his head.

True, he is slick, articulate and plausible, dressed in dark, well-cut suits with fashionable narrow lapels.

But more than anything, Ed Richards is a leading member of the New Labour political establishment, an interconnected, back-scratching mafia that, while bankrupting Britain, made its own members seriously rich.

For Richards has done extremely well for himself --- the total amount of his salary and pension benefits since he took the helm of Ofcom in 2006 is heading towards the £ 2 million mark.

When asked to justify his own captain-of-industry salary or his watchdog's £ 115 million budget, he does not talk of anything so vulgar as value for taxpayers money'. Rather, he speaks of delivering objectives for the least possible resource .

...Read the full article

 

21st June   

Update: Inciting a Final Warning...

Ofcom censures Takbeer TV for abusive comments about Ahmadis
Link Here

takbeer tvTafheem Al Masyal
Takbeer TV, 17 October 2010 to 26 March 2011

Takbeer TV broadcasts religious and general entertainment content mainly in Urdu (as spoken by South Asian Muslims), and is available on cable and satellite platforms.

Tafheem al Masyal is a religious discussion programme, during which viewers are invited to call in and put their questions on Islamic religious matters, to a presenter and guest presenter in the studio.

Ofcom received 267 complaints about five editions of Tafheem Al Masyal. We noted that complainants were from the Ahmadiyya religious community. This is a comparatively small Islamic movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani 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 Qadianis or Ahmadiyya. Complainants considered that the programmes variously: consisted of abusive content about Ahmadis and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad; or incited hatred and violence towards the Ahmadiyya community.

Ofcom highlighted many examples of abusive comments including:

A presenter: In our last programme, a Qadiani friend had asked some questions. Though these questions were not related to the nonsense spoken by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, his lies, his cunning and deceit, and his false claim to prophet hood, still I would like to answer these questions ;

A presenter: We have been telling about [Mirza Ghulam Ahmad?s] lies in the past but today we will focus specially on these. We will tell you about his lies .

A presenter: As to what is the punishment of apostasy in Ahmadis, we can discuss it with them only if we have a link with them. Among Muslims, the penalty for apostasy is death. An apostate deserves to be killed but the right to implement this penalty is the prerogative of an Islamic government. An individual or a party does not have this prerogative. An Islamic court, Islamic government, a Qazi 6 can implement this penalty or make a decision about it .

Ofcom considered rules of their programme code:

  • 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 .
  • 4.2: The religious beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment .

Takbeer TV said that We deeply regret any offence caused to any of our viewers and unreservedly apologise for the same . It also outlined a number of steps it had taken in response to the complaints: relevant channel staff had been severely reprimanded and formally disciplined and given updated training on the Code; additional training was being given to all presenters and producers on the Code and their obligations under it; and the channel had appointed a bi-lingual Quality Controller…who will take responsibility to oversee programme quality and output to prevent any such incidences occurring again .

Takbeer TV added: Tafheem Al Masyal had been discontinued indefinitely since early April 2011 ; the lead presenter of the programme had been suspended and is no longer appearing on our Channel ; and We do not intend to deal with any of the specific issues raised [i.e. relating to the Ahmadiyya community] that have caused controversy in respect of these complaints in any future programmes and have advised our presenters to avoid the same. The broadcaster added that through the various steps it had taken, it was confident that we will not receive any future complaints of this nature .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 4.2

In considering Rule 3.1 we are required to address the likelihood of the commission of a crime, in this case a hate crime, against an Ahmadi follower. We recognised that overarching tone of almost all of the various comments identified above were clearly critical of the Ahmadiyya community, its beliefs and its founder. However, Ofcom believed that these criticisms, in themselves would not, on a reasonable view, have been likely to: encourage or incite the commission of a crime against any existing or named group (e.g. harm or prejudice against members of the Ahmadiyya community) or an attempt to lead viewers to disorder; or clearly advocate any potentially criminal action.

Notwithstanding the above, we did consider whether the following statement by a presenter during the 29 January programme, could be construed as a form of incitement:

As to what is the punishment of apostasy in Ahmadis, we can discuss it with them only if we have a link with them. Among Muslims, the penalty for apostasy is death. An apostate deserves to be killed but the right to implement this penalty is the prerogative of an Islamic government. An individual or a party does not have this prerogative. An Islamic court, Islamic government, a Qazi can implement this penalty or make a decision about it.

We considered this statement to have been potentially offensive. However, we considered that the speaker in this case made clear his belief that only an Islamic court, Islamic Government or Islamic judge ( Qazi ) would have the ability to determine whether someone was an apostate, and not individuals. He also did not openly say that members of the Ahmadiyya community should be subject to the death penalty, but rather was setting out his view about the potential treatment of apostates by the appropriate Islamic authorities. Given this context, we considered that this particular individual was not advocating that, or inciting, private individuals to kill apostates, but rather was expressing his view that the death penalty could be an appropriate sanction for apostasy to be carried out by the appropriate governmental or judicial institutions.

Given the above, we considered the programmes were not in breach of Rule 3.1 of the Code.

When considering abusive treatment in religious programmes under Rule 4.2, we considered that during the programmes, there were a number of statements made by the presenters and by members of the audience that could be classed as being derogatory and abusive references specifically about the Ahmadiyya community and its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Examples of these references are laid out in the Introduction.

In particular, Ofcom noted that during the programmes, members of the Ahmadiyya community were variously labelled as: stupid ; non-believers ; illiterate ; and accursed liars . We also noted that many statements were made that were highly critical and derogatory of the Ahmadi founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Given the above, 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.

Ofcom considers that the broadcaster was clearly and seriously in breach of Rule 4.2.

Ofcom therefore assessed whether to consider the Licensee for a statutory sanction but we decided on balance not to do so. This decision had regard to all the relevant circumstances of this case, but principally the immediate acknowledgement that the complaints were justified and the various measures the Licensee took to further improve compliance. The Licensee is put on notice however that any further breaches of the Code in this area will lead to Ofcom considering a statutory sanction.

 

19th June   

Update: Pandering to Nutters...

Ofcom to produce more censorial rules for pre-watershed TV
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Ofcom logoSexy performances on shows such as The X Factor will be outlawed by further restrictions to pre-watershed TV.

The TV censor Ofcom will issue new censorship rule to apply to autumn schedules.

The move follows a Government report on the sexualisation of children and nutter protests.

An Ofcom spokesman said: The guidelines will be there to make sure that broadcasters like ITV don't hover near the boundaries of harmful content to children. This is what happened with Rihanna's performance on the show last year, where the broadcasting code was almost breached.

 

17th June   

Update: The People's Court Judgement...

High Court upholds Ofcom's censure of Jon Gaunt's health nazi jibe
Link Here

Old BaileyJon Gaunt has lost his appeal against a high court ruling that media watchdog Ofcom was justified in upholding complaints about a TalkSport interview in which he called a local councillor a Nazi .

Gaunt appealed after last year losing a high court freedom of expression challenge against Ofcom's ruling that the interview breached its broadcasting code. However, three court of appeal judges have now rejected his appeal against the high court's July 2010 decision.

Lord Neuberger said it was important to observe that the broadcasting code recognised that offensive material or language will often be justifiable, but justifiability must be assessed by reference to the context .

In summary, when one combines the extremely aggressive tone of the interview, the constant interruptions, the insults, the ranting, the consequent lack of any substantive content, and the time which the interview was allowed to run on, it seems to me clear that Ofcom was right to conclude that there had been a breach of ... the code .

It had been suggested that Ofcom attached too much weight and too much offensiveness to the Nazi , health Nazi and ignorant pig insults levied at Stark. But Neuberger said: In my view, however, Ofcom quite correctly took those insults into account, but only as a factor among others which, when taken together, rendered the interview in breach of ... the code.

An Ofcom spokesman said: The court of appeal agreed that the interview had an extremely aggressive tone combined with constant interruptions, was full of insults, ranting, and lacked any substantive content and that it was a breach of generally accepted standards.

 

14th June   

Unlevelling the Playing Field...

Updated guidelines for financial penalties imposed by UK's TV censor prudes
Link Here

Ofcom logoOfcom have published an update to their penalty guidelines to replace the previous guidelines that have been in place since December 2003.

The new guidelines read:

How Ofcom will determine the amount of a penalty

3. Ofcom will consider all the circumstances of the case in the round in order to determine the appropriate and proportionate amount of any penalty. The central objective of imposing a penalty is deterrence. The amount of any penalty must be sufficient to ensure that it will act as an effective incentive to compliance, having regard to the seriousness of the infringement.

4. The factors taken into account in each case will vary, depending on what is relevant. Some examples of potentially relevant factors are:

  • The degree of harm, whether actual or potential, caused by the contravention, including any increased cost incurred by consumers or other market participants
  •  The duration of the contravention
  • Any gain (financial or otherwise) made by the regulated body in breach (or any connected body) as a result of the contravention
  • Any steps taken for remedying the consequences of the contravention
  • Whether the regulated body in breach has a history of contraventions (repeated contraventions may lead to significantly increased penalties)
  • Whether in all the circumstances appropriate steps had been taken by the regulated body to prevent the contravention
  • The extent to which the contravention occurred intentionally or recklessly, including the extent to which senior management knew, or ought to have known, that a contravention was occurring or would occur
  • Whether the contravention in question continued, or timely and effective steps were taken to end it, once the regulated body became aware of it
  • The extent to which the level of penalty is proportionate, taking into account the size and turnover of the regulated body.

Strangely Ofcom does not seem to consider any mitigation that the offending company may have been forced into their action due to Ofcom's own repressive rules applying to them but not their competition. Eg Ofcom's near total prohibition on sexual content when both European channels and other competing mediums are allowed full hardcore content. Hardly surprising that UK adult broadcasters have to push the boundaries a bit.

 

12th June   

Ofcom PIN Pricks...

Government wisely decided not to act on Ofcom call for PIN number age verification for internet video on demand
Link Here

Ofcom logoIt has emerged that the government has not acted on a recommendation from the TV and internet  censor Ofcom, which said last year that the law should be changed so that sexually explicit content on video-on-demand websites could not be seen by children.

The government asked Ofcom last year to examine whether the law should be changed to protect children from pornographic material that was easily available on some adult sites, including Playboy.tv, which allowed paying members to download a wide range of pornographic material.

Many of them also offer some sexual material as try before you buy content that can be easily viewed without a credit card or account number.

Ofcom recommended in a report passed to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) nine months ago that the government should pass legislation forcing those sites to protect their free trial content with a pin number. But the coalition has not published Ofcom's report or acted on its recommendations.

Predictably Labour has tried to claim a few morality votes from this technically infeasible Ofcom suggestion.

Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, said: David Cameron's commitment to act on Bailey's recommendations rings hollow now we know his government has suppressed this important report. It is either incompetence or a deliberate attempt to keep the public and parliament in the dark. Ofcom's report should be published without delay so we can consider its findings and take the necessary action.

The DCMS said the report was still being considered by ministers. It said: The government is committed to protecting children from accessing harmful material and DCMS has requested advice from Ofcom and others regarding regulation of video-on-demand services. There is a range of views on whether new measures are required and we are currently considering options.

The proposals would only affect UK websites that are monitored by ATVOD, the internet video on demand censor.

 

10th June   

Dame Censors...

Patricia Hodgson moves from BBC censor to Ofcom censor
Link Here
patricia hodgsonOfcom has announced the appointment of Dame Patricia Hodgson and Dame Lynne Brindley as Non-Executive Members of Ofcom's Board.

Dame Patricia Hodgson will join the Ofcom Board on 1 July 2011 and will become Deputy Chairman for a three year term, on the retirement of Philip Graf, on 1 January 2012.

Dame Lynne Brindley begins her three year term on 1 September 2011.

Millie Banerjee retires from the Ofcom Board on 30 June 2011.

Patricia Hodgson is Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge, a Non-Executive Director of the Competition Commission and Member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England. She was Chief Executive of the Independent Television Commission. She is also currently a Member of the BBC Trust from which she will step down with immediate effect to take up her role at Ofcom.

Lynne Brindley has been Chief Executive Officer of The British Library since 2000. She is a Member of the Arts & Humanities Research Council and a Board Member of the Creative Industries Knowledge Transfer Network. She is also a Member of the Strategic Management Board for super-fast broadband for Cornwall & the Scilly Isles from which she will resign on her appointment to Ofcom. She was formerly Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, Director of Information Services at the London School of Economics and senior management consultant at KPMG.

The appointments were made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

 

25th May   

Offsite: Ofcom Get Political...

Ofcom censure Iranian Press TV for interview with arrested journalist
Link Here

Green protestOfcom has ruled that Iran's state-run Press TV is responsible for a serious breach of UK broadcasting rules and could face a fine for airing an interview with Maziar Bahari, the Newsweek journalist arrested covering the Iranian presidential election in 2009, that was obtained by force while he was held in a Tehran jail.

...Read the full article

 

24th May   

Update: Ofcom See Red...

Ofcom whinge at Red Light Central babe channel
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

red light central logoRed Light Central
Extreme,
23 February 2011, 21:00 to 21:50

Red Light Central is televised interactive adult sex chat programme broadcast on the service Extreme, which is available free to air on Sky channel number 916. The licence for this service is owned and operated by Playboy UK TV Limited

Ofcom received a complaint about alleged inappropriate adult content broadcast at various times between 21:00 and 21:50 on 23 February 2011. The complainant considered the content was highly sexualised and that the presenter was miming sexual intercourse and oral sex and considered such material was more appropriate after 22:00.

Ofcom noted the female presenter was wearing red fishnet stockings, red bra and thong, black knee high leather boots, a short black leather skirt hitched up around her waist and a denim waistcoat. 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 towards the camera but at an angle, and lay on her back with her legs open to camera. While in these positions she gyrated her hips in a sexual manner so as to mimic sexual intercourse and at times her genital area was not adequately covered. She also stroked her thighs and breasts, opened her mouth in a sexual rather than flirtatious manner, and briefly mimed oral sex.

Ofcom therefore considered whether this material raised issues under Rule 32.3 of the BCAP Code:

  • 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 the context of broadcasts on television of material soon after the 21:00 watershed, Rule 32.3 of the BCAP Code is substantially equivalent to Rule 1.6 of the Broadcasting Code. Rule 1.6 provides that:

The transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed (in the case of television)… For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.

In Ofcom's view, the revealing clothing and repeated actions and sexual positions and actions of the presenter were intended to be sexually provocative in nature. In light of this behaviour and imagery, Ofcom concluded that under BCAP Code Rule 32.3, this material was clearly unsuitable for children.

Ofcom then considered under BCAP Code Rule 32.3 whether relevant timing or scheduling restrictions had been applied by Playboy TV to this broadcast. Ofcom took account of the fact that the Extreme channel is in the adult section of the Sky EPG.  In Ofcom's opinion, viewers (and in particular parents) would not expect such material to be broadcast so soon after 21:00. Further, the broadcast of such relatively strong sexualised content was inappropriate to advertise adult sex chat so soon after the 21:00 watershed.

This broadcast was therefore in breach of BCAP Code Rule 32.3.

 

10th May   

Soft Penalty...

Red Hot Mums gets censured for unencrypted softcore porn
Link Here

red hot mums logoRed Hot Mums
8-9th January 22:20 - 00:30

Red Hot Mums is a pay-per-view channel which broadcasts adult content on Sky channel 905. It broadcasts most of its content subject to mandatory restricted access protections. The licensee is RHF Productions Ltd.

A viewer complained that strong sex material was transmitted without mandatory restricted access for ten minutes on the night of 8 January 2011 at 23:20.

After investigation the broadcaster confirmed that another ten-minute sequence had been broadcast without encryption on the night of 8 January 2011 and that two ten- minute transmissions had been wrongly broadcast without mandatory restricted access protections the following night. The broadcaster supplied recordings of all of the material concerned.

The recordings variously contained portrayals of intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus and the use of sex aids but the sexual activities featured were either simulated or not shown with explicit detail. Clear shots of female genitals were included. Strong sexual language, including sexual swear words, also featured heavily in much of the material.

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 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 (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

In addition, the two sequences from 9 January 2011 contained a number of spot advertisements for sex chat phone services and pornographic products. Therefore Ofcom also considered

  • Rule 23.2.1 Television only – Advertising for telecommunications-based sexual entertainment services is only acceptable on…encrypted elements of adult entertainment channels...
  • Rule 30.3 Television only – Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only.

RHF said that the broadcast without encryption of the four sequences of adult material had been the result of human error. The Licensee told us that the employees concerned were suspended and an investigatory meeting held. Following further investigation the two experienced members of staff received formal written warnings.

Ofcom Decision

It was clear to Ofcom – and was admitted by the Licensee - that the content complained of was „adult sex material. This was because it contained images of a strong sexual nature broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation, therefore breaching Rule 1.18. Rules 2.1 and 2.3 were also breached.

As regards Rules 23.2.1 and 30.3 of the BCAP Code, Ofcom noted that the spot advertisements were for telecommunications-based sexual entertainment services and other pornographic products (and so came within the recognised character of pornography), and were not encrypted. These BCAP Rules were therefore also contravened.

However, Ofcom noted this was the first time that the Licensee had made transmission errors of this sort had occurred with RHF and we noted the arguments presented in mitigation. In light of this, Ofcom stopped short of referring this case for consideration of the imposition of a statutory sanction.

However, as with all breaches of the Code and BCAP Code, these will be held on file, forming part of the Licensee's compliance history. Ofcom is putting the Licensee on notice that, should it repeat similar breaches in the future, we will proceed to consider the imposition of statutory sanctions.

 

9th May   

Sadistically Punishing WTF TV...

Ofcom get excited by Rihanna's S+M
Link Here

S M Music Video: Rihanna - S&M
WTF TV, 10 March 2011, 11:25

WTF TV [great name!] is a music channel that primarily broadcasts music videos of mainstream chart music, including pop and R&B/Urban, and classic music videos from the last 30 years. The channel uses a video jukebox format. The channel is owned and operated by TV Two.

WTF TV broadcast a music video by the R&B/pop singer Rihanna for the song S&M , at 11:25 on 10 March.

The video contained themes of sexual bondage, dominance and sadomasochism, including images of Rihanna: being dragged into a room of press journalists and cameras; her body and face being restrained behind cellophane; walking a man – who is the well known gossip blogger Perez Hilton - on a leash like a dog and whipping him; whipping a man dressed as a journalist with his hands and feet tied up with gaffer tape; in sexualised positions with blow-up dolls; lying on the floor on her chest with her hands and feet tied up with rope behind her back in positions of sexualised restraint; dressed up in various rubber and latex fetish outfits; and eating a banana and licking an ice cream encrusted with jewels in a sexually suggestive manner. The video also included images of people dressed as press journalists with bondage-style „ball gags? in, or gaffer tape across, their mouths. There were very brief images of the word slut written on Rihanna?s dress and a press journalist's notepad.

The song in the music video included the following lyrics:

Feels so good being bad (Oh oh oh oh oh) There's no way I'm turning back (Oh oh oh oh oh) Now the pain is for pleasure cause nothing could measure (Oh oh oh oh oh)…

Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it Sticks and stones may break my bones But chains and whips excite me…

Oh, I love the feeling you bring to me, oh, you turn me on It's exactly what I've been yearning for, give it to me strong And meet me in my boudoir, make my body say ah ah ah I like it-like it

Ofcom received a complaint that the music video was completely unsuitable for daytime broadcast.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3

Ofcom had to consider first whether this broadcast material was unsuitable for children. We took into consideration that while the video included themes of bondage, sexual dominance and sadomasochism, as described above, such themes and corresponding images were presented in a surreal, colourful and sometimes humorous manner, rather than representing strong fetish material or depicting real or realistic sadomasochistic practices. We also noted that TV Two argued that the video reflects the real life drama of the artist who recently experienced well documented domestic violence from a partner , and that the broadcaster considered these images to be cartoon-like, over-the-top sequences which were artistic and not dark or seedy .

However, Ofcom considered that some of the images included in the video had a significant sexual fetish, bondage and sadomasochistic nature. The video included images of Rihanna: with her body and face being restrained behind cellophane; walking a man on a leash like a dog and whipping him; whipping a man dressed as a journalist with his hands and feet tied up with gaffer tape; adopting sexualised positions with blow-up dolls; lying on the floor on her chest with her hands and feet tied up with rope behind her backs in positions of sexualised restraint; dressed up in various rubber and latex fetish outfits; and eating a banana and licking an ice cream encrusted with jewels in a sexually suggestive manner. The video also included images of people dressed as press journalists with bondage-style ball gags in, or gaffer tape across, their mouths.

In addition, Ofcom considered that in tandem with the images in this video, the lyrics of the song clearly and repeatedly focused on sex, bondage and sadomasochistic sexual practices as a theme. For example:

Cause I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it, Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it, Sticks and stones may break my bones, But chains and whips excite me 2 ;

and

Oh, I love the feeling you bring to me, oh, you turn me on, It's exactly what I've been yearning for, give it to me strong.

In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of the images described above and the sexual lyrics of the song resulted in the video conveying a powerful, sexualised fetish theme. Further, in Ofcom's view, some of the behaviour in the video (such as images of Rihanna – and in particular her body and face – being restrained by a large cellophane sheet, and shots of people with their mouths gagged with gaffer tape or ball gags could have potentially dangerous consequences if imitated by children.

Given the above, it is Ofcom's view that the content of this particular music video was not suitable for children.

Ofcom therefore went on to consider whether this material was appropriately scheduled so as to provide adequate protection to children from viewing this unsuitable material.

Ofcom was conscious that WTF TV does not appear to attract a large child audience. However, we also took into account that Rihanna is a very well known and popular singer who has a widespread appeal to children, including younger children, and this particular music video received a large amount of press attention and interest before being broadcast. Further, we noted that WTF TV did not place a time restriction on this particular music video. Therefore it would have been broadcast at various times throughout the day (not just at 11:25) when children, especially younger children, are available to watch television, some unaccompanied by an adult. Ofcom noted the fact that, during daytime and before the watershed, other music channels only broadcast an edited version of this video.

In light of the above factors, it is Ofcom?s view that given the sexualised nature of the content and theme, and the at times inappropriate and potentially dangerous and imitable behaviour shown in this video, this material exceeded the likely expectations of the audience for this channel during daytime.

We therefore concluded that the material breached Rule 1.3.

Ofcom will shortly be issuing new guidance about the acceptability of material in music videos broadcast before the watershed. We will also be requesting that broadcasters who transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.

 

7th May   

New TV Censors...

Ofcom appointments to its Content Board
Link Here

Ofcom logoOfcom have announced the appointment of four new members of its Content Board and the appointment of a new Chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Wales. It has also announced the re-appointment of the Chairmen of the National Advisory Committees for both Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Content Board

The Content Board is the committee of the main Ofcom Board with delegated responsibility for TV and radio content issues, including setting and enforcing quality and standards.

  • Janey Walker worked at the BBC from 1982-95 and then Channel 4 from 1996-2010 where she was Commissioning Editor Arts and Performance until 2000, later becoming Managing Editor for Commissioning and Head of Education until 2010.
  • Dr. David Levy is Director of the Reuters Institute at Oxford University and had a distinguished career at the BBC from 1982 where he moved from editorial and programme making into wider-policy development becoming Controller, Public Policy from 2000-2007.
  • Glyn Mathias will be the Content Board member for Wales. Between 1973-1994 he worked as Political Editor/Correspondent for ITN and then until 1999 was Political Editor for BBC Wales. He was the Welsh member of the Electoral Commission from 2001-9 and joined Ofcom's Welsh Advisory Committee in 2007.
  • Iseabail MacTaggart is a fluent Gaelic speaker. She was a solicitor before moving to BBC Radio 5 as an assistant editor. She is now on the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Board and has been a Board member of MG Alba and the BBC Audience Council for Scotland. Iseabail will be the Content Board member for Scotland.

The appointments took effect on the 1st May 2011.

Advisory Committees

Ofcom announced that Glyn Mathias has been appointed as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Wales in addition to his role on the Content Board. Professor Philip Schlesinger of the University of Glasgow has been re-appointed as Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Scotland and Professor Wallace Ewart has been re-appointed as the Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland.

 

1st May   

Little Dick Whingers...

Ofcom revisits complaints about Buried Penis Syndrome on Channel 4's Embarrassing Bodies
Link Here

embarrassing bodiesEmbarrassing Bodies
Channel 4, 28 March 2010, 19:00

Embarrassing Bodies is a series which describes itself as demystifying medical mysteries and features participants and their unusual medical conditions. In the series, participants are shown having medical consultations with one of the Embarrassing Bodies resident doctors concerning various „embarrassing? health problems and conditions. The participants are often also shown receiving further advice and treatment from medical specialists, and reviewing their treatment with the series?

This particular edition of Embarrassing Bodies featured a man with „buried penis syndrome? and at various points in the programme there was footage of this participant?s penis. In addition, in a parallel programme item, members of a rugby team were invited to measure their penis size, when aroused and non- aroused, to show the extent to which men?s penises vary in size. At two points in the programme, footage was shown of the penis of one of the rugby players being measured.

Ofcom received 10 complaints about the programme. In summary, complainants objected to the footage of, and discussions about, penises being shown before the watershed, at a time when children might have been watching.

Previously on 26 April 2010, Ofcom wrote to the complainants informing them that the complaints had been not upheld ( the 26 April Decision ). One complainant requested a review of the decision. In accordance with Ofcom's Procedures for the handling of broadcasting standards or other licence-related cases, on the 23 July  it was decided not to grant a review. The complainant subsequently submitted a letter before claim pursuant to the Judicial Review Pre-action Protocol, asking that Ofcom withdraw the 23 July Decision and grant a review of the 26 April Decision.

Ofcom considered that the 23 July Decision not to grant a review of the 26 April Decision was materially flawed, because its reasoning was flawed and/or lacked clarity in certain areas, and that there were compelling reasons why a review of the 26 April Decision should be granted.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 1.2: In the provision of services, broadcasters must take all reasonable steps to protect people under eighteen
  • Rule 1.3: Children [ here mysteriously defined as under the age of fifteen years ] must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them
  • Rule 1.21: Nudity before the watershed must be justified by the context
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

Rule 1.3

The Committee considered that Embarrassing Bodies is an educational programme. Viewers are informed about „embarrassing medical conditions that they might face in order to demystify those conditions and alleviate any anxieties viewers might have about them. The Committee considered that, in principle, educational programming on medical matters, and in particular a programme which stresses the importance of viewers not needing to feel anxious or embarrassed by any medical conditions, is not unsuitable for children.

In this case, the Committee considered that the segments of the programme featuring and discussing male genitalia and sexual problems clearly fell within the educational remit of the series. There were two related items which featured male genitalia. The first item dealt with a person with the medical condition buried penis syndrome , and sufficient footage of the participant's penis and surgery was shown to illustrate the condition and treatment.

The second item featured members of a rugby team being invited to measure their penis size, when aroused and non-aroused, to show the extent to which men's penises vary in size. At two points in the programme, footage was shown of the penis of one of the rugby players being measured. The Committee considered that, although arguably the tone of this item played to the stereotype of male locker-room humour, the reason for the footage of the rugby player's penis was also clear: namely, it was part of the educational message of the programme that there is variation in the size of penises in the population at large.

The Committee considered the content to be compliant with Rule 1.3 of the Code.

Rule 2.3

The Committee considered that nature of the content was a set of brief images of male genitalia and associated discussion, featured in a non-sexual context in a medical educational programme. The programme was broadcast on Channel 4, which has a special statutory remit to make and broadcast high quality and diverse programming. It was broadcast at 19:00 on a Sunday evening, a time at which Channel 4 does not schedule programming aimed at children. Historic trends for child audiences in this time-slot are low, as was the number of child viewers in the audience for the programme. The Committee noted that the programme was scheduled between other programmes targeted at an adult audience (Channel 4 News and Come Dine with Me).

The Committee considered that the degree of harm or offence likely to be caused by the inclusion of the images of male genitalia and associated discussion of intimate medical issues was low.

The Committee considered the likely size and composition of the potential audience and the likely expectation of the audience. Bearing in mind Channel 4?s remit, the fact that it typically schedules thought-provoking programming targeted at an adult audience during the early evening, and the historically low child audience for this timeslot on Channel 4, the Committee considered that it was likely that the potential audience would have been largely composed of adults, and that it was likely that a serious medical education programme would have been within their expectations.

The Committee also considered the extent to which the nature of the content was brought to the attention of the potential audience. The Committee noted that there was a pre-broadcast announcement. In addition, prior to each advertisement break, the programme signalled that the next programme segment would be returning to aspects of the discussion of male genitalia.

The Committee considered that these announcements would have brought the nature of the content to the attention of the potential audience before the programme and that the information was reinforced at appropriate points during the programme. This information would have assisted in avoiding or minimising offence.

The Committee considered the effect of the content on viewers who came across it unawares. It considered that the clear medical educational context, and the limited and non-titillatory nature of the images and associated discussion, would have minimised the offence caused by the material and prevented any possibility that it might cause harm to children.

In conclusion, the Committee considered that the material in the programme which may have caused offence was justified by the context. Therefore, the broadcaster had maintained generally accepted standards and there was no breach of Rule 2.3.

Rule 1.21

The Committee viewed the contextual factors considered in relation to Rule 2.3 as relevant, in particular the following: Channel 4's statutory remit to provide high quality and diverse programming; the fact that the programme was scheduled before and after other programmes targeted at an adult audience; and that the images of penises were limited and clearly not for the purposes of sexual arousal.

Given the above, the Committee considered that the inclusion of nudity in the programme was justified by the context and therefore there was no breach of Rule 1.21.

 

23rd April   

Comment: At the Very Margin of Acceptability...

Ofcom begrudgingly accepts mildly sexy X Factor dancer performances
Link Here  full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

The X Factor Final
ITV1, 11 December 2010, 19:00 (repeated 12 December 2010, 09:30)

Rihanna on X FactiorThe X Factor Final was the climax of the seventh series of this popular talent show.

While viewers waited for the voting to be concluded and the announcement of the name of the act which had made it through to the Sunday final show, the programme featured two well known singers. One, Rihanna, performed her latest song, What's My Name , at 20:32 in a dress which was removed by a dancer during the performance to reveal a strapless top and high waisted pants. Later at 20:47 Christina Aguilera sang the song Express from the film Burlesque in which she stars. This featured the singer with a number of dancers performing in a burlesque- style of dance and dress.

Ofcom received 2,868 complaints that the performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera were too sexually explicit for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed. Some considered that The X Factor was a family show and that the content of both performances was not suitable for children to view before the watershed. With reference to both performances complainants commented that they [Rihanna and Christina Aguilera] performed in a very sexual manner and the content was too sexually explicit and inappropriate for the young audience of this show . With specific reference to Christina Aguilera's performance, complainants expressed concern that: the dancing, costumes and tone were sexually explicit and at odds with the watershed which should seek to protect children from sexualisation and there were extremely revealing background dancers performing indecent dance moves .

Approximately 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints about this programme were received following coverage about the performances in a daily national newspaper. The newspaper coverage reported on concerns that the performances were too explicit for a family programme, and included a number of still images of the performances. However, from a comparison of the images it is clear that the photographs that were published in the newspaper were significantly more graphic and close-up than the material that had been broadcast in the programme, and had been taken from a different angle to the television cameras. Readers of the newspaper would have therefore been left with the impression that the programme contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach...Just...

In considering this case, Ofcom took into account that The X Factor is a Saturday night programme which many families sit down together to watch.

Rihanna's performance

With reference to Rihanna's performance (which commenced at 20:32), Ofcom noted that she began in a long wrap-around dress and approximately half way through the routine the dress was removed by a dancer to reveal a strapless top and high- waisted pants.

Rhianna's dance routine had some mildly sexual overtones and included images of her gyrating and rocking her buttocks. However, it was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance. Where there were close ups of Rhianna, these focussed on her front or her head and shoulders, not her exposed back. Additionally, the camera panned quickly and continuously throughout the performance, resulting in the shots of the individual dance movements of both Rihanna and her dancers being very brief.

Ofcom was therefore of the view that, taken as a whole, the performance by Rihanna was presented in a style which would not have exceeded the likely expectations of the audience either on 11 December between 20:30 and 21:00 or the following morning from 09:30. With reference to the content, the performer and the dancers were in Ofcom's opinion adequately dressed with clothing covering their buttocks. The part of the dance routine which featured some gentle thrusting of the buttocks by Rihanna was in keeping with her performing style, suitably limited and brief in duration, and in Ofcom's view was suitable for a pre-watershed audience.

Ofcom concluded therefore that this material was appropriately scheduled and the broadcaster complied with Rule 1.3.

Christina Aguilera's performance

Ofcom considered that this performance taken as a whole was sexualised in nature to some extent. The outfits of some of the dancers were revealing, with limited coverage of the buttocks, and were of a sexualised nature because they were based on lingerie such as basques, stockings and suspenders. The outfits, taken together with dance positions featuring thrusting buttocks and women bent over chairs, resulted in a routine which aimed to reflect the essence of burlesque but contained sexualised elements. Taken individually, some of these images may not be uncommon in programmes broadcast pre-watershed. The routine however had a number of simultaneous, sexualised elements concentrated into a relatively short period of time and there was therefore a cumulative effect.

We note the explanation given by Channel TV that its control over the detailed nature of the performance itself was limited in this case. In such circumstances, broadcasters must take particular care to employ other measures to retain independence of editorial control. In this case, we acknowledge that Channel TV had sought to minimise the potential for offence by taking other measures, such as particular camera angles. Therefore, while the dancers did adopt some sexualised positions intermittently as described above, Ofcom noted that shots of these poses were fleeting, as is expected in a fast paced routine. Additionally, the performance was largely shot at a wide angle to show all of the dancers on the stage and from a distance – minimising the potential impact.

Importantly, throughout the routine there were no close-up shots of individual dancers so the viewer was not drawn to any one dancer's clothing or actions in detail. The dancers were in effect a backdrop to Christina Aguilera, who was not wearing similar clothing or following the same dance routine. For all these reasons, the impact of the dancers on-screen was significantly lessened.

Ofcom considered that there was editorial justification for the type of costumes that the dancers were wearing, and the style of the dance routine overall. They reflected the burlesque-theme and storyline of the feature film Burlesque in which Christina Aguilera starred, and which was shortly due to go on general cinematic release at the time of this broadcast. However, the overtly sexual nature of the burlesque-style routine of the dancers was, in Ofcom's view, nevertheless clearly capable of causing offence to some viewers and we considered that this content was at the very margin of acceptability for broadcast before the 21:00 watershed, and especially when broadcast on 12 December 2011 at 09:30. However, on balance, and taking all matters into consideration, including the steps taken by Channel TV to minimise the potential for offence, Ofcom was of the view that this performance was not in breach of Rule 1.3 of the Code.

Ofcom concluded however that the performance was sufficiently justified by the context in which it was presented. In particular the performance was within the likely expectations of the audience for pre-watershed programmes. The broadcaster therefore applied generally accepted standards and Rule 2.3 was not breached.

Ofcom will shortly be issuing new guidance about the acceptability of material in pre- watershed programmes that attract large family viewing audiences. We will also be requesting that broadcasters who transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.

Not in Breach of Rules 1.3 and 2.3

Offsite Comment: This is what Ofcom calls 'acceptable'

23rd April 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoOne blonde dancer is dressed, if that's the word, in a low-cut basque while striking a lewd pose that leaves nothing to the imagination. Another in skimpy bra, suspenders and stockings leans provocatively over a chair while others leer suggestively into the camera.

The scantily-clad women formed part of the sleazy performance by Christina Aguilera during last year's controversial final of ITV's X Factor. Family friendly? A blonde dancer strikes a raunchy pose that leaves little to the imagination

TV watchdog Ofcom this week ruled that explicit routines by Miss Aguilera and fellow pop star Rihanna were at the limit of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience.

But, to the astonishment of many, the media regulator said they did not breach broadcasting rules.

Instead, the regulator rebuked the Daily Mail, saying that some 2,000 of the 2,868 complaints it received followed our coverage of the sexual content of a programme which horrified parents and politicians. Ofcom claimed the Mail used images that suggested the talent show contained significantly more graphic material than had actually been broadcast . Now readers can judge for themselves.

...Read the full article

Comment: Mediawatch-UK

28th April 2011.  See  article from  yorkshirepost.co.uk

Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK said:

During the last 10 years, it seems the watershed has quietly been eroded. So much so, that Christina Aguilera's sexual X Factor routine was recently cleared by the broadcasting watchdog of being inappropriate for a young audience.

Ofcom did say it was 'at the very margin of acceptability', but it does make you wonder what they would have to do to breach the guidelines. The argument goes that society has changed and, therefore, what's acceptable on television has changed.

However, in recent years, far too much emphasis has been placed on 'freedom of expression' with little or no emphasis on the corresponding responsibilities.

Offsite Comment: An Irish View

30th April 2011. See  article from  independent.ie

The next time you see Christina Aguilera on The X Factor, she will likely be dressed as a nun (and not the perved-up Lady Gaga variety).

Christina-gate is big news in Britain, where Right-wing commentators are of the view that an entire generation risks being corrupted by the sight of Aguilera slow-grinding up against a chair. Which raises the question: has anyone in the UK ever heard of the internet?

The notion that the most scandalous image a young person is likely to see today is a semi-clad pop singer is beyond ludicrous. Five minutes trawling the web will reveal images that make Christina look like a Saturday morning TV presenter from 1979.

...Read the full article

 

21st April   

What a Load of Buttocks...

Ofcom whinge at buttocks in a Fio Rada music video
Link Here

flo rida turn around video Music Video: Flo Rida - Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)
4Music, UK Hot 40, daytime
Also MTV Base and MTV Dance, daytime

4Music is a music and general entertainment channel broadcasting mainly chart music, including pop and R&B/Urban. The channel is owned and operated by Box Television Ltd.

4Music broadcast a music video by the artist Flo Rida for the song Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) . This video was broadcast at various times before the watershed, including at 14:00 and 18:00.

The video was set in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and included images of female dancers wearing both carnival dress and revealing thong bikinis. The dancers were shown dancing in a carnival style in the streets and dancing on the beach in their swimwear. While doing so they were shown bending over with their buttocks to camera, and repeatedly shaking and playfully slapping their buttocks.

Ofcom noted that throughout the four minute video there were almost 20 very close up shots of the dancers? buttocks (both while they were wearing carnival dress and while dancing in their bikinis on the beach). During the video a female dancer, who was wearing a thong bikini (and not carnival dress), was shown dancing very closely up against Flo Rida and touching his naked upper body. While she danced in this manner, Flo Rida was shown miming repeatedly slapping the female dancer on her buttocks in a playful manner.

Ofcom received three complaints from viewers who were concerned about the broadcast of this music video. One of the complainants described the video as extreme crudeness and filth and another said I was shocked to see women in thongs and bras gyrating and basically dry humping men in this video . Another complainant said that the video was a sexist and offensive video which mostly comprises women in thong bikini bottoms acting in a pornographic manner . All of the complainants were concerned that the video was broadcast before the watershed and at the time when children are most likely to watch TV . One complainant said …this objectification of women at such an early time and on a channel that appeals to young people really concerns me.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Box Television said that as with many RnB and pop videos, this video could be said to contain a sexual tone and innuendo. However, whilst the video features female dancers wearing thong bikinis and Carnival attire, synonymous with Brazilian Carnival, there is no nudity, inappropriate touching of the dancers or explicit sexual display .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3

Under the Communications Act 2003 ( the Act ), Ofcom has a statutory duty to require the application, in the case of all television and radio services of standards that provide adequate protection to members of the public from the inclusion of offensive and harmful material.

Ofcom also has a duty to set such standards for the content of programmes as appear to it best calculated to secure the standards objectives, one of which is that persons under the age of eighteen are protected .

The video included images of the dancers dancing in a very provocative manner, such as repeatedly shaking their bare buttocks to camera, bending over to camera and playfully slapping their bare buttocks. In addition the dancers were shown dancing closely up against the rapper Flo Rida and touching his naked chest while he repeatedly mimed slapping one dancer on the buttocks. The video also included around 20 close up and intrusive shots of the female dancers? buttocks, some of which were when they were bent over or had their legs apart as part of their dancing. Therefore for much of the video the dancers? faces could not be seen. Ofcom also considered that some of the lyrics of the song Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) contained some sexual innuendo (for example, Oh-oh baby, you want some more baby? I love the way you do it cos you do it so crazy… ).

In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of the repeated close up images of the female dancers' buttocks, together with some of the provocative dancing and actions in the video, resulted in the video's imagery conveying a highly sexualised theme.

The fact that these images were mainly shown while the dancers were wearing bikinis on the beach, rather than in traditional carnival dress, increased the sexualised nature of the imagery and detracted from the editorial justification put forward by the broadcaster for the inclusion of these images.

Given the above, it is Ofcom's view that the content of this particular music video was not suitable for children. While the material did not contain any explicit sexual images, it nevertheless conveyed a highly sexualised theme for the reasons set out above. Further, it is our view that this particular video contained more sexualised images, and in particular close up and intrusive shots of the dancers' bare buttocks, than would normally be expected in a music video of this genre, broadcast at a time when children were likely to be watching.

We therefore concluded that the material breached Rule 1.3.

 

13th April   

Update: Refried Whinges...

Ofcom OK with Top Gear's Mexico jokes
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Great Adventures DVD Top Gear
BBC2, 30 January 2011, 20:00

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

A section of this particular programme was devoted to car news, with the three presenters discussing new cars unveiled that week. One of the presenters, James May, introduced a new sports car from Mexico, saying that it was called the Tortilla (a name he then admitted he had made up). Richard Hammond then said:

Why would you want a Mexican car? Cos cars reflect national characteristics, don't they? So German cars are very well built and ruthlessly efficient, Italian cars are a bit flamboyant and quick -- Mexican cars are just going to be a lazy, feckless, flatulent oaf with a moustache, leaning against a fence, asleep, looking at a cactus, with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.

James May responded by describing Mexican food as like sick with cheese on it , which Richard Hammond corrected to re-fried sick . When the discussion turned to the car's price and specifications - both of which were disparaged - Richard Hammond returned to the subject and sparked the following conversation:

Richard Hammond: I'm sorry but just imagine waking up and remembering you're Mexican. 'Oh no ...'

Jeremy Clarkson: It'd be brilliant, it'd be brilliant because you could just go straight back to sleep again. 'Aaah, I'm a Mexican ...'

Richard Hammond: ... that's all I'm going to do all day ...

Jeremy Clarkson: That's why we're not going to get any complaints about this -- cos the Mexican Embassy, the Ambassador's going to be sitting there with a remote control like this [slumps in seat and snores]. They won't complain. It's fine.

Ofcom received 157 complaints from viewers. The complainants were offended by these comments, which they considered, in summary: to be derogatory, racial stereotypes and as such cruel, xenophobic, discriminatory and racist.

Ofcom considered these complaints under 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: Not in breach

In this instance, we recognised that the comments made about Mexican people were based on negative national stereotypes and had the potential to be very offensive both to Mexican people specifically, as well as to viewers more generally.

Ofcom therefore considered whether the broadcast of these offensive comments had been justified by the context. In this case, Ofcom took into account that Top Gear is well known for its irreverent style and sometimes outspoken humour, as well as the regular format of the studio banter between the three presenters. We considered that viewers of Top Gear were likely to be aware that the programme frequently uses national stereotypes as a comedic trope and that there were few, if any, nationalities that had not at some point been the subject of the presenters' mockery throughout the history of this long running programme. For example, this same episode featured a competition between the UK's Top Gear presenters and their Australian counterparts, throughout which the Australians were ridiculed for various national traits.

In this instance, therefore, Ofcom considered that the majority of the audience would be familiar with the presenters' approach to mocking, playground-style humour, and would have considered that applying that approach to national stereotypes was in keeping with the programme's usual content, and the presenters' typical style. Ofcom was of the view that the majority of the audience would therefore be likely to have understood that the comments were being made for comic effect.

However, Ofcom notes that taste in comedy can vary widely, and that these comments would not have been to everyone's taste. Ofcom is not an arbiter of good taste, but rather it must judge whether a broadcaster has applied generally accepted standards by ensuring that members of the public were given adequate protection from offensive material. Humour can frequently cause offence. However, Ofcom considers that to restrict humour only to material which does not cause offence would be an unnecessary restriction of freedom of expression.

Given the comedic intent and the context of this programme, Ofcom concluded that the broadcast of this material was justified by the context. The programme was therefore not in breach of Rule 2.3.

 

12th April   

Dancing on Egg Shells...

Dancing on Ice taken to task over 'missing a couple of chromosomes' comment
Link Here

Dancing on IceDancing On Ice
ITV1, 23 January 2011, 18:10

The Dancing on Ice series was hosted by Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, and the judges are Robin Cousins, Emma Bunton and Jason Gardiner. Celebrities are paired with professional ice skaters and perform live routines each week. The judges give criticism and advice to the contestants following their performances. The contestants are mentored by Karen Barber, the Head Coach, and ex-Olympic ice skaters, Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean.

On 23 January 2011, following a performance by the celebrity Jeff Brazier and his professional partner Isabelle Gauthier, judge Jason Gardiner commented:

The Jackson 5 are very tight and you aren't. You're choreography, especially in your arms, is still very, very sloppy and messy and it almost looks like you're weak and there's moments especially in your facial expressions as well with everything, it's almost like you're missing a couple of chromosomes.

Ofcom received 242 complaints about Jason Gardiner's reference to missing a couple of chromosome ', which complainants considered was highly offensive, particularly to those with chromosomal disorders , discriminatory and completely inappropriate .

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom noted the Licensee's explanation that when referring to Jeff Brazier missing a couple of chromosomes , Jason Gardiner had, in fact, intended to reflect his opinion that Jeff Brazier's facial expressions resembled that of a chimpanzee.

In Ofcom's opinion, it was more likely that viewers would have interpreted Jason Gardiner's comment to be a derogatory remark associating Jeff Brazier's facial expression with a human chromosomal disorder, and therefore demeaning people with such human disorders .We therefore concluded that the material was capable of being highly offensive to some viewers.

Ofcom noted that Jason Gardiner is well known for being the most critical judge on Dancing on Ice, is often acerbic in his comments and wishes to reinforce that image within the well established format of the show. We noted that the studio audience often reacts in a negative manner (by booing, for example) to his remarks and his comments are often countered by the other judges.

We also noted that following the exchange between Jeff Brazier and Jason Gardiner, the programme presenter Holly Willoughby asked the head coach, Karen Barber, for her view and she strongly criticised Jason's comments and the manner in which Jason had delivered his criticism: Well, I think it, um, it doesn't have to be personal Jason. Your criticism can be about what's on the ice. You get very offensive, you don't need to do that ... it doesn't have to be so hurtful, your comments .

We considered that this was a live broadcast in which Jason Gardiner's comment was unscripted, and the audience was likely to have expected his comments to be acerbic and negative. In Ofcom's view, Karen Barber's comments, to some extent, mitigated the remarks made by Jason Gardiner. However, we did not consider that these contextual factors were sufficient to justify the inclusion of the comment, given its potential to be highly offensive.

However, Ofcom also noted the measures taken after the broadcast by Jason Gardiner, who made clear in a public statement that it had not been his intention to offend, or indeed for the comments to have had the meaning that some viewers took from them. We also took into account the measures ITV had taken, discussing the matter with Jason Gardiner to ensure he understood viewers' concerns and that the matter would not be repeated. Ofcom also notes ITV's public apology, and apologies given to complaints it received directly from viewers. In view of the steps taken by both the licensee and Jason Gardiner, Ofcom therefore considers the matter resolved.

 

11th April   

Offsite: Prudish Censors...

TV censor reveals Ofcom's parallel world
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

PuritansRegulating pornography is not for the faint-hearted. I know because I have spent hours viewing, discussing and ruling on the television variety. Somebody has to: as a member of the Ofcom content board from its inception in 2003 until last summer, I sat on the sanctions committee, which -- like it says on the tin -- sanctions broadcasters. Frankly, it was busy work, as you might imagine from the most casual trawl through the electronic programme guide.

...

Personally I don't think we should police what adults choose to view in privacy ....BUT... I do take seriously the vulnerability of children and others whose circumstances appear to Ofcom to put them in special need of protection.

...

In pre-Ofcom days I was a broadcasting standards commissioner, when words like taste and decency were part of the regulatory world. Imprecise and subjective, they were replaced in 2003 by harm and offence. The world has moved on and a new act is needed. But, before that, I hope there will be evidence-based assessment of how to protect the vulnerable. And that politicians will show a bit more initiative than the former home secretary Jacqui Smith did (in her 5 Live report on porn) in finding out what's available.

...Read the full article

 

11th April   

Update: Elitist Censors...

Ofcom have another prudish whinge at Elite TV
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Elite TVElite Days
Elite TV (Channel 965)
Elite TV 2 (Channel 914)
30 November 2010 - 8 December 2010, 10:00 - 14:00

Elite Nights
Elite TV (Channel 965)
30 November 2010 - 4 January 2011, 21:00 - 01:20

Elite Days is televised daytime interactive chat advertisement programming broadcast on the services Elite TV and Elite TV 2 (Sky channel numbers 965 and 911 respectively). These services are available freely without mandatory restricted access and are situated in the adult section of the Sky electronic programme guide ( EPG ). Viewers are invited to contact onscreen female presenters via premium rate telephony services ( PRS ). The presenters generally dress and behave in a flirtatious manner.

Elite Nights is televised interactive adult sex chat advertisement programming broadcast from 21:00 on the same two services and Sky channels. This service is also available freely without mandatory restricted access and is situated in the adult section of the Sky EPG. Viewers are invited to contact onscreen female presenters via PRS. The female presenters dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the PRS numbers.

The service Elite TV is owned and operated by Primetime TV Limited; and Elite TV 2 is owned and operated by Over 18 TV Limited.

Ofcom received complaints about the above broadcasts of Elite Days. In summary the complainants were concerned that these broadcasts showed sexual content that was too strong to transmit before the watershed. In particular, the complainants were concerned that the broadcasts were transmitted at a time when children could have been watching.

Ofcom provided a few exampled of what they were whingeing about eg:

Elite Days, Elite TV (Channel 965), 30 November 2010, 12:00 to 13:15

The female presenter was wearing a black lace body with her black bra and thong visible underneath, and thigh high boots. During the broadcast the presenter sat facing towards camera with her legs wide open for long periods of time. She also: lay on her side with her legs open; positioned her buttocks to camera; repeatedly gyrated her buttocks; and repeatedly stroked her buttocks, inner thigh and breasts. There were also shots panning up and down the presenter's body.

Elite Nights, Elite TV (Channel 965), 30 November 2010, 22:30 to 23:35

Ofcom noted that between 22:30 and 23:00 the female presenter was wearing a revealing black thong which revealed her outer genital area. She was not wearing a top. During the broadcast the presenter was shown, for prolonged periods of time: lying on her back with her legs wide open to camera; lying on her front with her legs apart facing the camera; and kneeling on all fours with her buttocks positioned to camera. While in these positions the presenter forcefully thrust her buttocks for prolonged periods of time towards camera; repeatedly touched around her genital and anal area; and licked her breasts. The broadcast included close up shots of the presenter's genital area.

Ofcom censors babe channels as advertising so considered the advertising BCAP Code Rules:.

  • BCAP Code Rule 4.2: Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.
  • BCAP Code Rule 30.3: Television only -- Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only.
  • BCAP Code Rule 30.3.2: Television only -- Advertisements permitted under rules 30.3... must not feature material that comes within the recognised character of pornography before 10.00pm or after 5.30am.
  • BCAP Code 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: In Breach

Elite Days

The daytime broadcasts all contained material which raised similar issues under BCAP Code Rule 32.3. All of the broadcasts featured female presenters wearing skimpy and revealing clothing. For example, in all cases the female presenters wore thongs that provided minimal coverage of their buttocks. The presenters were all shown acting in a sexualised manner by repeatedly adopting various sexual positions, such as: kneeling on all fours and positioning their buttocks to camera; sitting and facing the camera with their legs wide open; and lying on their side and back with their legs wide open (away from camera). In some cases the presenters were in these positions for prolonged periods of time. While in these positions, all of the presenters repeatedly: rocked and/or gyrated their buttocks and pelvis as though miming sexual intercourse; touched or shook their breasts; and touched their bodies (including their buttocks and inner thighs) in a sexually provocative manner. In addition, in all cases the broadcasts included shots of the camera panning up and down the presenters' bodies.

In Ofcom's view, the revealing clothing and repeated actions and sexual positions of the presenters were intended to be sexually provocative in nature and the broadcast of such strong sexualised content was inappropriate to advertise daytime chat. In light of this behaviour and imagery, Ofcom concluded that under BCAP Code Rule 32.3 the material included in these daytime broadcasts was clearly unsuitable for children.

Ofcom then considered under BCAP Code Rule 32.3 whether relevant timing or scheduling restrictions were applied to these broadcasts by the Licensees. Ofcom noted that the services Elite TV and Elite TV 2 are situated in the adult section of the EPG. However, all the broadcasts were transmitted without mandatory access restrictions at various times during the day when children may have been watching television, some unaccompanied by an adult. Taking into account the factors above, Ofcom has concluded that relevant timing and scheduling restrictions were not applied to the broadcasts so as to offer adequate protection to children.

Ofcom also concluded under BCAP Code Rule 4.2 (generally accepted standards) that, given the strong nature of the material as decribed above and inappropriate scheduling of the material during the daytime, it would cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Therefore Ofcom concluded that this material breached Rules 4.2 and 32.3 of the BCAP Code.

Elite Nights

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 and would have been considered by viewers to be “within the recognised character of pornography”. The broadcast of this advertising programming, without mandatory restricted access, was therefore in breach of BCAP Code Rule 30.3.

Ofcom has concluded that relevant scheduling restrictions were not applied so as to ensure that the material did not cause widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards. Therefore Ofcom concluded that this material breached Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code.

Final Warning

Ofcom notes that these contraventions of the BCAP Code by the Licensees occurred after various published Ofcom decisions, but before Ofcom issued on 28 January 2011 new and detailed guidance to daytime and adult sex chat advertising broadcasters about compliance with the BCAP Code (see footnote 6 above).

In light of our serious concerns, Ofcom has already held a meeting with the Licensees to discuss their compliance arrangements. Ofcom puts Primetime TV and Over 18 TV on formal notice that it must take all necessary and appropriate measures to ensure its channels comply with the BCAP Code in the future. If further breaches of the BCAP Code occur, Ofcom will consider further regulatory action.

 

10th April   

Update: Boyled Over...

Ofcom censures Channel 4 over Katie Price gag on Tramadol Nights
Link Here  full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

tramadol nightsFrankie Boyles Tramadol Nights (Katie Price joke)
Channel 4, 7 December 2010, 22:00

Tramadol Nights was a six-part comedy series which was written by and featured the controversial, alternative comedian Frankie Boyle. The series featured the comedian in various stand-up and comedy sketches which covered topics such as AIDS, cancer, religion, racism, sex, paedophilia, rape, incest, war and disability.

In the second episode of the series Frankie Boyle made various comments about the former glamour model and reality TV personality, Katie Price (formerly known as Jordan), and her eight year-old son, Harvey, who is known to have a medical condition and learning difficulties.

Frankie Boyle said:

Apparently Jordan and Peter Andre [Katie Price's ex-husband] are fighting each other over custody of Harvey. Well eventually one of them will have to lose and have to keep him.

I have a theory that Jordan married a cage fighter [Alex Reid, Katie Price's second husband] because she needed someone strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her.

Solicitors acting on behalf of Katie and Harvey Price complained to Ofcom that the comments were discriminatory, offensive, demeaning and humiliating. The solicitors informed Ofcom that Harvey has a condition called septo-optic dysplasia, and is also on the autistic spectrum. The solicitors stated that Harvey has very restricted sight, needs constant medication and has learning difficulties. Harvey, as a result of his condition and medication is large and strong for his age .

Ofcom also received approximately 500 complaints about the comments, including, from the learning disability charity Mencap and from the Royal London Society for the Blind. In summary, the complainants stated that it was highly offensive, discriminatory and abusive to broadcast these comments about an eight year-old disabled child. The complainants were also offended that the comments named a child as engaging in rape and incest.

Ofcom considered:

  • 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 (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: In breach

Ofcom was of the view that the material in question appeared to directly target and mock the mental and physical disabilities of a known eight year-old child who had not himself chosen to be in the public eye. As such, Ofcom found that the comments had considerable potential to be highly offensive to the audience.

It is important to note that the Code does not prohibit the broadcast of offensive or potentially offensive material, but requires that it is justified by the context.

Channel 4 argued that the comments were wholly justified in the context because it gave careful consideration to the broadcast of the series in advance and applied a number of measures to ensure its content complied with the Code.

We noted that Frankie Boyle is an established comedian, who has appeared on a number of comedy television programmes. He is also well known for his controversial and provocative humour, which often plays on his negative views of society and celebrities.

Further, we noted from Channel 4's statement that the programme was carefully considered by senior editorial staff and edited in advance of broadcast. We also noted that the programme had been scheduled to begin at 22:00 to lessen the risk of offence and was preceded by a clear warning to the audience about the very strong language and uncompromising adult content which some viewers will find offensive.

Ofcom considered that, even taking into account contextual factors such as the nature of the series as a whole, its scheduling, publicity and the clear pre-transmission warning, these comments went beyond what would have been expected by the majority of viewers of a late night comedy show broadcast on Channel 4.

Therefore, in view of the particular circumstances of this case, Ofcom concluded that on balance, the context of this programme was not sufficient to justify the broadcast of this material.

However, in view of the careful consideration Channel 4 took in the broadcast of the series overall, Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster was clearly aware of its responsibilites under the Code and had attempted to comply with the Code's requirements. Taking into account the challenging and provocative nature of the content of the Tramadol Nights series overall, Ofcom did not consider that these breaches demonstrated a fundamental failure of Channel 4's compliance procedures. Rather, in Ofcom's view, this case involved an erroneous decision on a matter of editorial judgement on the broadcaster's part.

Breaches of Rules 2.1 and 2.3

Complaints about the rest of the series

Frankie Boyles Tramadol Nights (mental health sketch and other issues)
Channel 4, 30 November 2010 to 29 December 2010, 22:00

Introduction

The second episode of the series included a sketch which showed a man calmly talking to camera, in what appears to be his kitchen. He said the following:

I have mental health problems. There's a lot of stigma attached to mental health, a lot of people are unfairly stigmatised when their conditions allow them to lead perfectly normal lives.

The camera then pulls out to reveal the man holding a knife and images of his dead wife and three dead children covered in blood on the floor. He then says:

Who the fuck am I talking to?

Ofcom received eight complaints about the broadcast of this sketch, including a complaint from the mental health charity, Rethink. The complaints raised concerns that the sketch inferred that people with mental illness are violent; promoted discrimination against people with mental illness; mocked people with mental illness; and was misleading.

Ofcom Decision: Not in breach

In this case, the sketch depicted a man talking to the camera who explained: I have mental health problems . He then talked about how many people with mental health problems are unfairly stigmatised by others when, in fact, ...their conditions allow them to lead perfectly normal lives . The sketch ends as the camera reveals that the man is in fact a violent murderer.

Ofcom considered that some viewers may have understood the sketch, on its face, to have been mocking people with mental health problems by inferring that they are likely to have violent tendencies. Taken in this sense, Ofcom accepted that the sketch had the potential to cause offence in that it appeared to seek to derive humour from ridiculing people with mental health issues and reinforcing stereotypes about them.

However, Ofcom noted Channel 4's submission that intention of this particular sketch was in fact to satirise an established public campaign Time to Change , which aimed to stop discrimination against people with mental health problems. Further, Channel 4 argued that the sketch set out to reverse the concept of the original campaign, which attempted to challenge the stereotype that those with mental health conditions are violent.

Ofcom was of the view that the Time to Change campaign itself was unlikely to be widely enough known to the audience for the sketch's particular intention to be clear to viewers. However, Ofcom considered that, whilst the material had the potential to cause offence, most viewers would have been likely to understand the nature of the sketch, and importantly, that its intention was not to ridicule those who have mental health problems, but to target public information campaigns of this nature, and society's unease about dealing frankly with the subject of mental health.

Ofcom considered that the intention of this sketch -- to use satire and controversy to make a joke about society's attitudes to mental health - would have been well understood by the majority of the audience. Ofcom also considered that the sketch would not have gone beyond what would normally be expected in a programme of this type, particularly taking into account the nature of other material in the series which also frequently used satire and controversy to derive humour from society as a whole, or its attitudes to particular issues.

On balance, we therefore concluded that the broadcast of the material was justified by the context, and the sketch was therefore not in breach of Rule 2.3.

Further, we found that Channel 4 had applied generally accepted standards so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from this material, which was therefore not in breach of Rule 2.1.

Other issues raised about the series

Ofcom also received complaints from viewers which raised a number of other issues about the content of the series. In summary, the complainants were offended by certain content, which included: references to AIDS and cancer; references to Jesus and religious dress; comments about rape and paedophiles; sketches about a quadriplegic stuntman; and the involvement of children in a sketch which included swearing, sexual abuse and violence.

Ofcom assessed these complaints and the relevant content of the series. In view of the nature of this late night comedy series, and the other relevant contextual factors about the series as a whole (as set out above), Ofcom concluded that the material did not raise any issues under the Code.

Ofcom also received approximately 70 complaints from viewers who were offended by the inclusion of what they considered to be racist language in the series. Complainants referred, in particular, to the broadcast of language such as paki , nigger and black pussy .

Ofcom viewed the relevant content of the series and noted that in all cases when language of this nature was used it was clearly positioned as observational comedy, which targeted the views and attitudes of society rather than particular black and minority ethnic communities. The language was always presented as a reflection on a character he was playing.

Ofcom concluded that the material was clearly editorially justified and in keeping with audience expectations for this late night comedy programme. The content was therefore justified by its context, and Channel 4 applied generally accepted standards in its broadcast.

Not in breach of Rules 2.1 or 2.3

Comment: Background

12th April 2011. From Andrew

For those of you outside of the UK (the only country apparently willing to put up with her shit), Katie price is a former glamour model also known as Jordan. Long story short, this woman has been married 3 times in the same amount of years, and is popularly known as an egotistical, materialistic, media whore. Yet now, like so many people in her position, the boot has switched feet, and the own medicine is not liked.

Katie Price is now moaning about Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle making a derogatory compliment out her heavily disabled son, Harvey. Price herself, has milked this disablement to her advantage over during the tenure of her sons life, to not only win magazine covers, but also to the point that she has been publically made out to be a wonderful mother.

Ok, so onto Frankie Boyle. The Scottish comedian is NOTORIOUS for jokes about taboo subjects, such as child molestation, racial bigotry, and rape. The chance that Price actually watched the show in question is very unlikely. Had the joke not been aimed at her she would have probably laughed along with everyone else. Anyway she has stated on more than one occasion that she doesn't understand upper class people or high brow humour.

 

1st April   

Shrinking Ofcom...

Hopefully they will sack their TV censors who are so easily offended by a little sex
Link Here

Ofcom isn't workingOfcom has announced a significant reduction in its budget for 2011/12.

The cut follows an Ofcom programme launched in early 2010 to identify significant expenditure savings in response to the challenge facing the public sector more generally.

Over four years to 2014/15 Ofcom will reduce its total budget by 28% in real terms. In a drive to reshape and refocus the organisation, the majority of the cuts will be made in year one.

In 2011/12 Ofcom's total budget will be £ 115.8m. This is a 22.5% real terms year-on-year reduction, some £ 26.7m. Savings will be made across a wide range of Ofcom's expenditure.

 

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