Tony Hall, the BBC's director general, has repeated his call for global streaming companies, Netflix and Amazon to suffer the same censorship as the UK's traditional broadcasters -- or else risk killing off distinctive British content. He said to
the Royal Television Society's London conference:
It cannot be right that the UK's media industry is competing against global giants with one hand tied behind its back.
In so many ways -- prominence, competition rules, advertising, taxation, content regulation, terms of trade, production quotas -- one set of rules applies to UK companies, and barely any apply to the new giants. That needs rebalancing, too. We
stand ready to help, where we can.
Hall will use the speech to warn that young British audiences now spend almost as much time watching Netflix -- which only launched its UK streaming service in 2012 -- as watching BBC television and iPlayer combined.
Citing Ofcom figures, Hall warned that Britain's public service broadcasters have cut spending on content in real terms by around £1bn since 2004. He said that global streaming companies are not spending enough on British productions to make up
the difference, while their UK-based productions tend to focus on material which has a global appeal rather than a distinctly British flavour. Hall added:
This isn't just an issue for us economically, commercially or as institutions. There is an impact on society. The content we produce is not an ordinary consumer good. It helps shape our society. It brings people together, it helps us understand
each other and share a common national story.
Following an investigation, Ofcom has revoked the broadcast licence held by Ausaf UK Limited for Ausaf TV, a channel which was intended to serve the Pakistani community in the UK, but had not started broadcasting at the time of Ofcom's decision.
In line with our ongoing duty under the Broadcasting Act 1990, Ofcom opened an investigation into the licensee about whether those in control were 'fit and proper' to hold the licence.
After carefully considering all available evidence, including oral representations made by the licensee, our investigation concluded that:
the individual in control of Ausaf UK Limited had close links to the Pakistan and UK editions of the Daily Ausaf newspaper, in which articles were published which we considered amounted to hate speech and incitement to crime/terrorist actions;
the licensee provided misleading or false information about the links between the Daily Ausaf and Ausaf UK Limited during the course of our investigation; and
there is a material risk that the licensee could breach our broadcasting rules; for example, by airing similar content to that published in the Daily Ausaf on Ausaf TV, which would be harmful to viewers if the licensee were permitted to
this brings into question public confidence in the regulatory activity if Ofcom were to remain satisfied that the licensee was fit and proper to broadcast.
In light of these serious findings, we are no longer satisfied that that those in control of Ausaf UK Limited are fit and proper to hold a broadcast licence. We have therefore revoked the licence.
The channel had not started broadcasting, and it will now be prevented from doing so.
More than 11,000 complaints have been made to TV censor Ofcom about the Celebrity Big Brother punching episode. In Thursday's episode, Ryan Thomas was given a warning for punching fellow housemate Roxanne Pallett.
The former Corrie star said there was no anger or malice in what happened after Roxanne complained to the show's producers about his behaviour. Big Brother bosses issued him with a formal warning for physical contact.
Ofcom said it had received 11,215 complaints about the episode, saying:
We are assessing these complaints against our broadcasting rules, before deciding whether or not to investigate.
Bob FM is a local commercial radio service for Hertford and its surrounding areas. The station's output consists of music and information aimed at listeners aged between 25 and 54.
We received a complaint about a segment broadcast during the station's daily breakfast programme, during which the presenter took call from a listener who identified the location of a vehicle with a mobile speed camera.
The listener described the person conducting the speed checks as a scumbag and said he was sat there like a little maggot. The presenter then said that this person was:
In the back of a van, catching hard-working, tax-paying people who are on their way to work206to earn their living, to take their place in society, to make a bit of a difference, to you know, help the economy of this country so they can earn a
living to put a roof over their head and pay taxes. Those are the people that this maggot
Ofcom consider 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... Such material may include offensive language...[or] discriminatory treatment or language
The Licensee said that the language used was provocative and designed to be entertaining while empathising with listeners' frustration. It added that there was no assertion that the person in the speed camera van was a police officer or whether
the van was unmanned.
This two-minute segment called into question the actions of speed camera operators and their motivation for carrying out this function. The item contained six uses of the word maggot, two uses of the word maggotwatch and one use of the word
scumbag to describe people who operate mobile speed cameras. The presenter and caller criticised their work, saying that its purpose was to generate revenue and that it caught innocent people.
In Ofcom's view, the language used in this segment was critical and derogatory and had the potential to cause offence. We took into account the Licensee's argument that there was no assertion that the people operating the speed cameras were
police officers. However, in our view, listeners were likely to have understood the criticism as being directed at police officers in speed camera vehicles. We considered that this heightened the potential for offence. We also took into account
the Licensee's submission that children were unlikely to be in the audience. However, our concern in this case was the potential offence to the audience generally rather than just children
Our Decision is that the offence caused by this segment was not justified by the context and in breach of Rule 2.3.
The BBC no longer wants TV shows in which white, middle-aged men stand up and explain things, according to one of the corporation's senior executives.
Programmes that feature individual presenters imparting their knowledge of a subject to viewers are too static and no longer excite audiences, Cassian Harrison, editor of BBC Four, told the Edinburgh Television Festival yesterday
He said controllers of other channels, including BBC Two, had also taken against the outdated presenting format. There's a mode of programming that involves a presenter, usually white, middle-aged and male, standing on a hill and 'telling you
like it is'. We all recognise the era of that has passed.
The incidence of people finding something offensive on television has remained stable at 19% year on year, although over-64s are significantly more likely than all adults to say they have seen something offensive (28% vs. 19%).
Offensive language, sex/sexual content, discrimination and violence are cited as causing the most offence by more than a third of respondents. This is followed by nakedness and anti-social behaviour, both mentioned by almost a quarter of
Although a third of adults aged 16+ feel there is too much violence (34%) and too much swearing (33%) on TV, this has declined over time (from 43% and 40% in 2014 respectively). Adults aged 65+ are more likely to feel that there is too much of
both. Around a quarter (26%) feel there is too much sex (down from 28% in 2014).
Ofcom have presented some long discussions when censuring several broadcasters. Here is just the most brief summary of each
The Healing School
Loveworld Television Network, 10 November 2017, 06:30 and 10:00
Loveworld Television Network is a religious channel. During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified two episodes of the series The Healing School. These programmes outlined the experiences of several people who had attended events at The Healing
School, which, according to its website1, is a healing ministry of Rev. Chris Oyakhilome (Ph.D) which takes divine healing to the nations.
Ofcom have little faith in faith healers and censured the channel for not suggesting that the people would be better advised to consult a doctor rather than a faith healer:
In its representations the Licensee stated that faith based healing/miracles is a fundamental principle of the Bible which many practising Christians of various denominations believe in and the Bible is not classified as an offensive or harmful
material therefore the practice or expression of faith as taught by Jesus Christ who Himself performed many miracles and healings as taught by the Bible in our view is not harmful or offensive. It is not Ofcom's role to question viewers'
religious beliefs, nor caution against any particular religious teaching. However, all broadcasters are subject to the Code, regardless of their religious stance. Ofcom's duty is to ensure all members of the public watching television (whether
people of faith or not) are provided with adequate protection from potentially harmful material. The nature of faith and the right to freedom of religion does not mean that religious broadcasters are at liberty to broadcast content that poses a
potential risk to viewers, especially viewers who are potentially vulnerable (for example, because of their own health or medical circumstances), without adequate protection.
Our guidance suggests that one approach commonly used by broadcasters with a view to protecting audiences against potentially harmful material is to include a warning, for example advising viewers or listeners to consult a qualified medical
practitioner before making decisions based on the programme. No such warning or advice appeared in these programmes.
The Alex Salmond Show
RT, 16 November 2017, 07:30
The Alex Salmond Show is a political and current affairs series hosted by the former First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond and produced by his own production company.
Ofcom received a complaint about the first episode of the new series alleging that the programme invented tweets presented as real from viewers of the show to direct the debate on his views and terms. The complainant
suggested that this enabled Alex Salmond to pretend that he was merely answering questions from concerned viewers about Brexit rather than trying to control the debate....
Ofcom decided that this was a fair cop and censured Salmond accordingly.
Bible ki Nabouat: The Prophecy of the Bible
Glory TV, 10 January 2018, 16:00
Glory TV is a religious, digital television channel serving Indian and Pakistani Christian communities in the UK. The licence for Glory TV is held by Glory TV Limited (Glory TV or the Licensee).
During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified the one-hour programme, Bible ki Nabouat 203 The Prophecy of the Bible. As the programme was broadcast mainly in Urdu, Ofcom translated the content into English.
In this programme, which was originally broadcast in 2014, two presenters interpreted the Biblical books of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah and Matthew. They said:
The prophecy we are looking at today is based on a period of seven years. When will this period start and what will be the signs? That is what we will look at today. There are many who know that Lord Jesus will return, that there will be war,
that there will be a need to call the 666 number of the devil, that we will have 1,000 years with Lord Jesus, that Iblis [meaning Satan] will be thrown into the fire. They know there will be a fake prophet. However, what will be the system or
The presenters then proceeded to assert that the Israel/Palestine conflict fulfils the pre-requisites for the war of the prophecy. However in arguing that the conflict fit the bill, the presenters managed to offend the sensitive souls on both
sides of the conflict.
While the comments in this programme were made through the prism of Biblical prophecy, in our view, they portrayed the Arab world and all Arab people as susceptible to the influence of the Antichrist. They also portrayed all Arab people as
hating Jewish people to the extent that they would be prepared to persecute them. The comments also portrayed a negative future for Israel, in which the Antichrist would stand in the new Jewish Temple and in which Jewish people would suffer
another holocaust. Ofcom recognised the primary audience for this channel is Indian and Pakistani Christian communities in the UK. However, in our view the discriminatory and potentially offensive nature of these comments was likely to have
exceeded audience expectations. Further, the wider audience of British Muslim people, who share the same faith as many people in the Arab world was likely, in our view, to have been highly offended by the comments about and characterisation of
the Arab world and people in this programme.
Jago Pakistan Jago
HUM Europe, 15 March 2018, 10:00
HUM Europe is a general entertainment channel that serves the Pakistani community in the UK, broadcasting in Urdu.
Ofcom received three complaints about racially offensive material.
We identified a section of the programme where make-up artists taking part in a competition were set the task of applying make-up to models live on the programme. The first part of the task required the contestants to make the models’ skin tone
Ofcom considered that specific terms used to refer to the darker skin tone had the potential to offend. These included three uses of the word negro: This stick is called Negro; make sure that you use the Negro skin tone; and it gave him a real
Makrani [black] colour or Negro skin tone -- whatever you call it.
Ofcom were offended by the word 'negro' and noted:
We acknowledged that in the first two instances in this broadcast, the word was likely to be the manufacturer's name for the particular shade of make-up being used. However, this was not obviously the case in the third instance.
Ofcom censured the channel accordingly but it rather sounds that the offending word is a practical term used in the make up industry.
Free Jaggi Now
KTV, 6 January 2018, 21:30
KTV is a religious and cultural channel aimed at the Sikh community in the UK and Europe, broadcasting in Punjabi and English.
Free Jaggi Now was a current affairs programme covering the arrest of Jagtar Singh Johal (“Jaggi”)1, a UK citizen arrested in India on 4 November 2017, and detained in the State of Punjab.
We received a complaint that the programme included statements promoting “separatism” in India.
This 55-minute programme focussed on support for the ‘Free Jaggi now’ campaign. It included a discussion about the alleged torture of Jaggi by India’s National Intelligence Agency (“NIA”) during his interrogation and detention, the alleged
restriction on Jaggi receiving consular assistance and an independent medical report following allegation of torture, and allegations about corruption in the Indian judiciary.
The long winded censure by Ofcom revolved around a lack of balance in the programme.
We took into account that the programmes broadcast on KTV were mostly of interest to the Sikh community in UK. Ofcom also acknowledged that the target audience for this programme consisted of members of the UK South Asian community, who may have
already been aware of Jaggi's arrest and detention in India. However, we considered that these contextual factors did not mitigate the need to ensure that due impartiality was preserved in the absence of sufficient alternative viewpoints and/or
challenge to the critical views expressed about the policies and actions of the Indian authorities.
Ofcom has received more than 2,500 complaints over Sunday night's episode of Love Island.
The complaints are directly related to a scene where Dani Dyer is shown a misleading video about the fidelity of boyfriend Jack Fincham. The couple were put in separate villas, after the boys and girls were split up as part of a plot twist.
Viewers took to Twitter to criticise the scene, with some saying the show was not considering the mental health of contestants.
A spokeswoman for Ofcom confirmed that there had been 2,525 complaints in total relating to Dani being shown the video of Jack. She added the rather disinterested comment:
We are considering these complaints against our broadcasting rules, before deciding whether or not to investigate. The number of complaints is irrelevant - Ofcom will investigate if it considers a broadcaster or service provider may have
breached its codes.
Suddenly It's Spring
That's Oxford, 17 March 2018, 11:20
That's Oxford is a local television service for Oxford and the surrounding area.
Suddenly It's Spring was a children's cartoon made in 1944, featuring the doll Raggedy Ann setting out on a mission to ask the Sun to shine on her poorly owner. On her journey she was shown asking other weather elements, Mr Cloud, Mr Breezy and
Mr Zero to assist her.
Ofcom received a complaint that the character of Mr Cloud was depicted as an offensive and outdated racial stereotype of a black person. Mr Cloud was depicted in the cartoon as a black person from the deep south of America with exaggerated facial
features. In addition, he was portrayed as indolent with slow, slurred speech.
Rule 1.3: Children must206be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them206.
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context206Such material may include, but is not limited to, ...humiliation, distress, violation of human
dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race....
The Licensee accepted that the cartoon contained a racial stereotype that was likely to cause offence and apologised for any offence caused.
Ofcom considered whether the characterisation of Mr Cloud in this cartoon was unsuitable for children. In Ofcom's view the exaggerated facial features and indolent nature of the character reinforced an outdated, pejorative and harmful racial
stereotype of a black person which was not suitable for children to view.
Rule 2.3 states that in applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that potentially offensive material is justified by the context. Context includes, but is not limited to, editorial content of the programme, warnings given to
listeners, the time of the broadcast and the likely expectation of the audience.
We first considered whether this content was potentially offensive. Given this cartoon included a negative stereotype of a black person, which reinforced racial prejudice, Ofcom was of the view that this material was also highly offensive.
We next considered whether there was sufficient context to justify any potential offence. We acknowledged this cartoon dated from 1944 when there were very different attitudes towards portrayals of race and when race discrimination was prevalent.
We also accepted that with the appropriate level of context such archive material may still be broadcast. However, in our view UK audiences today would find such racial stereotyping highly unacceptable and out of step with generally accepted
standards as it was broadcast in this case. Therefore, the broadcast of this offensive content without a warning or any other context was also a breach of Rule 2.3.