Ofcom Watch

 2016: April-June



 Offsite Article: Pandora's back...


Link Here 18th June 2016  full story: ATVOD censors Pandora Blake...Dreams of Spanking websites falls foul of internet censor
dreams of spanking logo Dreams of Spanking website resumes after winning Ofcom appeal against ATVOD censorship

See article from dreamsofspanking.com

 

 Update: Feminist porn maker thrashes censors...

Pandora Blake wins her appeal against her website being censored by ATVOD


Link Here 6th June 2016  full story: ATVOD censors Pandora Blake...Dreams of Spanking websites falls foul of internet censor

  dreams of spanking grand reopening logo Pandora Blake, award-winning activist and feminist pornographer, has won her appeal to Ofcom against ATVOD and can reinstate her site Dreams of Spanking, which was banned under the AVMS guidelines in August 2015, triggering widespread anger among free speech advocates as well as porn fans.

The controversial Audiovisual Media Services Regulations came into effect in December 2014, banning consensual sex acts from online porn including facesitting, female ejaculation, and spanking that leaves marks. Pandora Blake took part in the facesitting protest outside Westminster, and also spoke on Newsnight and Women's Hour challenging the sexist and regressive nature of the regulations. She believes that speaking out made her a target for censorship.

ATVOD - the Association for TV on Demand - were tasked with regulating online porn in 2010. While porn critics often focus on the mainstream industry, ATVOD made a point of targeting independent niche and fetish porn producers, including a disproportionate number of female filmmakers. In January 2016, Ofcom shut down the quango amid rumours that it was acting beyond its remit.

Pandora Blake said:

The point of Dreams of Spanking was to make ethical porn based on my own fantasies. I'm not ashamed of being kinky and there's no harm in adults sharing consensual BDSM films. The AVMS regulations effectively criminalised my sexuality. I was singled out because I criticised the new laws. ATVOD tried to shut me up, but they failed.

Now I've won my appeal I feel vindicated. It proves that it's worth standing up to bullies. The war against intrusive and oppressive state censorship isn't over, but this decision is a landmark victory for feminist porn, diversity and freedom of expression.

Update: Candy Girls tool

3rd October 2016. From Xbiz

Ofcom logoThe operator of Candy Girl Productions, Laura Jenkins, also won her appeal involving two online adult sites AllTeensWorld.co.uk and CandyGirlPass.com as well as 33 other affiliated adult subscription sites.

Ofcom reversed decisions made by previous co-regulator ATVOD and decided the sites listed in the appeal cases were not on-demand video websites and subject to regulation, including requiring a system that verifies that the user is 18 or over at the point of registration. Each of the online adult companies were subject to fines prior to the appeal cases.

Ofcom said in the rulings that it proposed to quash previous ATVOD determinations in the cases and replace it with the current determinations.

 

 Updated: Taking Fright...

Ofcom announces investigations of two horror films


Link Here 16th May 2016
stage fright 2014The TV censor Ofcom has announced the 'investigation' of two horror films for supposedly breaching TV censorship rules for recent broadcasts.

Ofcom lists the titles without further information for investigations into:

  • I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March (not sure whether it was the original of the remake, but both have been censored by films censors in the past).
  • Stage Fright on Sky Premiere in March, presumably the 2014 Canadian musical adaptation by Lucky McKee and Chris Siv

Update: Remake

12th May 2016. Thanks to Jon

The film that is being complained about is the cut UK/ R rated version of the Remake of I Spit on Your Grave . The follow up sequel is also being shown at the same time so could be involved.

Jon also notes that Human Centipede 2 is also being shown, presumably in its cut censor approved form, nevertheless enough to give Ofcom kittens.

Update: Not quite BBFC approved

16th May 2016. See article from translate.google.com

I Spit Your Grave Unrated schnittberichte.com is pointing out that a January showing of I Spit on Your Grave wasn't actually a BBFC approved version. The website concludes that the Horror Channel did its own edit which although cut, was stronger than the BBFC version.
 

 

  Loss of Trust...

TV censor Ofcom set extend its remit to the BBC according to new government white paper


Link Here 13th May 2016

bbc white paper 2016 T he government agrees with the conclusion that Ofcom is the best body to take on full regulation of the BBC. As the regulator for the broadcast and communications sector it looks across the whole of an increasingly interconnected technological and commercial landscape. It already regulates the rest of the broadcasting sector in respect of content regulation, issuing licences, looking at media plurality and competition issues. And under section 198 of the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom already has significant powers to regulate the BBC, insofar as the Charter permits. Ofcom will need to change to take on these responsibilities and there are some important issues for the Ofcom board to consider about how as an organisation it will approach this. The government will make sure Ofcom has the powers it needs to do this. As the Clementi Review summarises, Ofcom would be a strong regulator to match a strong BBC .

Ofcom will be responsible for assessing the performance of the BBC board in meeting its Charter obligations. It will therefore have overall responsibility for regulating the BBC. This will involve:

  • monitoring and reviewing performance including by assessing on a periodic basis the extent to which the BBC is meeting its overall mission and its accompanying public purposes, with powers to remedy any identified failings;
  • establishing a licensing regime setting out regulatory requirements and expectations;
  • regulating editorial standards to ensure the BBC meets requirements in areas such as accuracy, impartiality, harm and offence
  • holding the BBC to account for its assessment of both market impact and public value, alongside regulation of commercial activity; and
  • acting as the appeal body in terms of complaints.

Under the new Charter therefore the BBC will, for the first time, be wholly regulated by an external regulatory body. This will introduce wholly independent scrutiny of what the BBC does, ensuring that it is held to account in delivering its obligations under the Charter and acting in the public interest.

 

  Rule 3.3 No blaspheming...

Ofcom extends TV censorship rules to ban insults of religion


Link Here 9th May 2016
Ofcom logoOfcom have issued the following announcement in the latest complaints bulletin

On 4 May 2016 Ofcom published changes to the rules in Section Three of the Broadcasting Code, and accompanying guidance, to ensure they are as clear as possible for broadcasters.

We publicly consulted on our proposals to revise Section Three of the Code in January 2016.

Section Three relates to crime. It prohibits the broadcast of material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime, or to lead to disorder. It also helps to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in services of harmful and/or offensive material. Ofcom has updated the title of the Section from Crime to Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse and introduced two additional rules which apply to content containing hate speech and abusive or derogatory treatment.

Presumably the new rules are:

Section Three: Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse

Hatred and Abuse

3.2 Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.

3.3 Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television and radio services except where it is justified by the context. (See also Rule 4.2).

I bet some religious people will be celebrating, not quite realising that it will be themselves who will get caught out by the new rules when they inevitably insult other religions.

Any by way of examples, the latest Complaints Bulletin chastises:

  • the islamic channel Noor TV for spreading hatred of jews.
  • the christian channel SonLife Broadcasting Network for insulting muslims

 

  Extremism, propaganda and censorship...

David Cameron set to introduce a bill that will include giving Ofcom the powers to censor TV prior to broadcast


Link Here 6th May 2016
counter extremism org logoThe Daily Mail reports that the government is set to introduce a new bill with a raft of measures to counter muslim extremism.

Among those measures is the enabling of TV pre broadcast censorship. Ofcom is to be given given extended powers to suspend broadcasts deemed to include unacceptable extremist material .

The Daily Mail article also reveals that a covert Home Office unit has been established to influence the views of young British Muslims using online propaganda tools. The secret campaign aims to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change and a different voice from Islamic State's persuasive online propaganda.

The Research, Information and Communications Unit (Ricu) had one initiative in which it advertised itself as a campaign providing advice on how to raise funds for Syrian refugees. Employees had face-to-face conversations with students without them knowing it was a government programme. The official description  of the group is:

Established in 2007, the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) is a cross-departmental strategic communications body based at the Office for Security and Counter-terrorism (OSCT) at the Home Office. RICU aims to coordinate government-wide communication activities to counter the appeal of violent extremism while promoting stronger grass-roots inter-community relations.

Offsite Comment: Government floundering with a legal definition of 'extremism'

5 National Secular Society logo th May 2016. See  article from freethinker.co.uk

It's now reported by the Guardian that the counter-extremism bill, cast as the centrepiece of Cameron's legacy programme of legislation, is floundering because the government can't seem to find a legally robust definition of extremism.

It is understood that the bill, to be announced in the Queen's speech on 18 May, has been through dozens of drafts and Whitehall officials are still struggling to find a definition of extremist that will not be immediately challenged in the courts.

See the full  article from freethinker.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Striptease with a final flourish...


Link Here 15th April 2016
messytease logo Fred Gunn dedicates funds from website closing down sale to help save British fetish film makers from suffocation and censorship

See article from umd.net

 

  Daytime PIN hassle...

Ofcom initiates a short consultation on allowing a wider availability of 15 rated content on daytime TV which can be delivered with a mandatory PIN facility


Link Here 12th April 2016

Ofcom logoOfcom is considering whether to update rules in the Broadcasting Code (“the Code”) relating to the protection of children. Specifically, Ofcom is considering whether broadcasters should be allowed to show a wider variety of content more suitable for adults before the watershed, provided that a mandatory PIN protection system is in place.

Through this Call for Inputs we are seeking the views of industry and consumers on these potential changes to the rules. We will take responses into account before publishing any proposals for changes to the Code later this year.

Ofcom invites written comments on the questions raised in this consultation, to be submitted to Ofcom by 5pm on 21 April 2016 . Ofcom strongly prefers to receive responses in electronic format. This web form will allow you to indicate your data protection preferences and send your views to the team responsible for this consultation.

  • Question 1: To what extent do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown during the daytime behind a mandatory PIN would benefit audiences? :

  • Question 2: Are there likely to be any negative impacts on the user experience for viewers accessing channels or programmes where the content is restricted behind a mandatory PIN? For example, if a viewer had to enter a mandatory PIN every time they change between a restricted channel or programme, or if a viewer is unable to update to a new PIN system?:

  • Question 3: If you are a broadcaster, would you be likely to change your output following any revision to Ofcom's rules to allow post-watershed content to be broadcast pre-watershed behind a mandatory PIN, and what genre of material might you wish to broadcast during the daytime as a result? :

  • Question 4: What, if any, are the technological difficulties associated with showing post-watershed content during the daytime behind a mandatory daytime PIN? What impact would these technological difficulties have on affected broadcasters (please provide evidence or estimates)? How might these technological difficulties be overcome?:

  • Question 5: Are there practical or cost issues with consistent implementation of PIN protection across a variety of set-top-boxes or receivers?:

  • Question 6: How effective is mandatory restricted access in providing protection to children from unsuitable broadcast content? Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN still offers sufficiently robust protection for children?:

  • Question 7: Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN could have an adverse impact on the 21:00 watershed or dilute its effectiveness for audiences?:

  • Question 8: If Ofcom were to amend the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN, are there any particular obligations that should be placed on broadcasters providing content behind mandatory PIN during the daytime (e.g. additional information to parents and carers)?:

  • Question 9: What effect might any revision of the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN have on competition between broadcast services, and also between linear broadcast and on-demand services? :

  • Question 10: Are there any other issues, factors or information you think should be considered as part of our review on mandatory restricted PIN access?:

 

  Newsmaker...

Ofcom appoints Nick Pollard as a new TV censor


Link Here 5th April 2016

Ofcom logoOfcom has appointed Nick Pollard to its Content Board.

Ofcom's Content Board is a committee of the main Ofcom Board, with advisory responsibility for a wide range of content issues, including the regulation of television, radio and video-on-demand quality and standards.

Nick is an experienced journalist and broadcasting executive, who spent ten years working in local newspapers and radio on Merseyside before joining BBC Television News in 1977.

Subsequently, he became Executive Producer of News at Ten during more than a decade at ITN, before joining Sky as Head of News. During his time at Sky News, the channel won numerous awards for its coverage of major news events. In 2009, Nick was appointed Chief Executive of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), an organisation that provides broadcasting and cinema services to British armed forces and their families. He retired from this position last year.

He joins Ofcom's Content Board on a three-year term.