The first episode of this new 11-part drama attracted 25 complaints. Most viewers objected to the general tone of the drama, some describing it
as pornographic. Some viewers also considered that the violence was unacceptable in a programme shown immediately after the 21:00 watershed - one viewer complaining about a rape scene and another the religious sacrifice of a bull.
The first episode set out the historical context of the power struggle between Julius Caesar and Pompey. Julius Caesar’s victorious war in Gaul was undermining Pompey’s political power in Rome.
With this background established, the Roman
soldiers were seen in battle defeating the tribes in Gaul . The violence showed the brutality of war but it was not gratuitous and did so without dwelling on any graphic images. A scene of rape was not shown in detail. No close up shots were shown and
the focus was on the other soldiers’ impatience to return to Rome . The other scenes of violence were limited, set in this historical context and were unlikely to encourage imitation.
The sexual elements in this episode were frank, but not overly
explicit for this time of evening. The drama showed the matter-of-fact attitude to sex of the ruling class as, in some cases, sex was used to further political or social aspirations. One of the main female characters, Atia, sister of Julius Caesar,
appeared to have no scruples in using sex as a bargaining tool to achieve her ends. Although there was some nudity in these sexual encounters, the scenes did not concentrate unduly on the sexual activity. Atia’s son, Octavian, was a teenage boy and his
mother discussed political matters with him whilst taking a bath. She saw no embarrassment in the situation, whilst he was not comfortable with his mother’s attitude towards nudity and sex, as well her political machinations. Following her son’s dispatch
to Gaul , Atia is seen praying for him as a bull was sacrificed above her, covering her in blood. This was presented in the context of a religious ritual. The sacrifice was not seen in detail.
Later on in the episode, Pompey attended a play in a
marketplace. On stage, a character wore an exaggerated phallus. As the play continued in the background, Pompey was introduced to a potential wife, who commented on the crudity of play to signify that she was highborn.
We appreciate that this
content may not be to every viewer’s taste, as it attempted to portray Roman life. However the drama had received widespread publicity about this approach. An announcement informed viewers that:
The battle to rule an empire begins now, and with
so much at stake, it gets pretty bloody. So, expect language, sex, violence and scenes of ritual animal slaughter as an epic new drama unfolds and BBC 2 enters Rome .
We considered that the pre-publicity, the announcement and the build up within
the drama would have given parents and carers sufficient information to make a considered decision about whether to allow children to view this programme. After 21:00 it is generally accepted that more adult material may be shown and, in our view, the
content did not go beyond viewers’ expectations for programming at this time of the evening, in the context of this historical drama set in Rome .
The sixth series of Big Brother has been criticised for operating "at the limits of acceptability" by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom. It rebuked Channel 4 over sexual scenes in which Makosi and Anthony appeared to have
sex in the pool, and Kinga simulated sex with a wine bottle.
Big Brother presenter Davina McCall was cleared of racial discrimination over what some viewers complained was a hostile interview with Zimbabwean contestant Makosi. Ofcom also
cleared the programme-makers of introducing racist elements to boost ratings in the reality show, where the contestants appeared to split into two groups along racial lines.
Of a total 887 complaints about the series, Ofcom received 259
specifically over the infamous Kinga scenes.
Channel 4 admitted "the incident was a shocking one", but it said it had an obligation to show the scenes to give viewers a true picture of events in the house. It said the images, which went
out after the watershed and following warnings to viewers, were edited so only a minimum amount of footage went in the programme.
Ofcom said Kinga's drunken antics "did amount to potentially dangerous behaviour" but it said that it was
unlikely to have encouraged copycat behaviour from viewers. The message was that this was "not behaviour to be condoned or encouraged" because Kinga regretted her actions and the housemates were not impressed. It said the episode was not in
breach of the broadcasting code, but added: We should stress that we only decided this 'on balance' and that our concerns were serious. This programme, in our view, along with the (scenes of) Anthony and Makosi in the pool,
operated at the limits of acceptability, in terms of potential harm and/or offence for a programme of this nature, broadcast on this channel and at this time.
Chef Gordon Ramsay's TV show is being investigated by watchdogs after showing scenes of turkeys being slaughtered. Seven viewers complained after The F Word showed Ramsay carrying six turkeys into a slaughter van where they
were strung up, stunned and killed.
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom launched an investigation. The Channel 4 show was preceded by a content warning.
The chef raised the birds in his back garden as part of the series, as he wanted his young
children to understand where their food came from.
The UK's content and new media industry is "extremely disappointed" by proposals contained within the European Commission's Television Without Frontiers directive, according to pressure group Intellect.
gained a high profile this week after the EC announced plans to loosen the rules on product placement in TV programmes.
But Intellect, which represents IT and telecoms firms in the UK, said that its members see the new directive as an attempt to
regulate the internet.
Intellect, whose members include BT and Microsoft, stated that such regulation can already be achieved voluntarily under Ofcom guidelines.
An Intellect spokeswoman said that the group had been opposing the directive
for six months, but had "hit a brick wall". It maintains that the new media industry is moving so quickly that the rules "would need changing again in 2010 ".
The main concern is the distinction between linear services, i.e.
scheduled television broadcasting, and non-linear services such as programmes accessed through video-on-demand or clips downloaded onto mobile phones.
Ofcom has suggested that such regulations would be unenforceable and that its own impact
assessment had found that the costs would outweigh the benefits.
The European Commission have published their proposed new directive for audio-visual services together with an impact assessment . The proposals will (in the fullness of time) replace existing regulation under the Television Without
As expected the new proposals include requirements to regulate some Internet based services and generally upholds the country of origin principle, but the draft also suffers from a number of deficiencies.
It is badly worded in places and vague in others, including passages such as “ non-linear audiovisual media services have the potential to partially replace linear services ”- hardly a clear and definitive statement of intent. It would be far
better to wait a few more years before regulating in this area, but as we all no regulators just can't say no to regulation.
Ofwatch will be taking a closer look at these documents in the new year.
Under new rules proposed by the European Commission, some of the requirements currently imposed on traditional broadcasters would be applied to film and video-on-demand providers.
While this would not include some of the
requirements traditional broadcasters face, such as bans on advertising certain types of products like tobacco or medicines or quotas on the amount of European-produced films they offer, it would include some measures such as having to provide a
"culturally diverse" range of content. This might involve requirements in terms of the catalogue they offer, said Martin Selmayr, a European Commission spokesman.
Other requirements to be applied to online service providers
include proposals protecting children from unsuitable material and preventing online racial hatred.
The new rules have come under fire from the European Internet Service Providers Association (EurISPA). The Commission failed to justify why it
needed to extend the current rules to new service providers, according to Richard Nash, secretary-general of EurISPA. He quoted a recent report by the UK's telecommunications regulator Ofcom, saying that the risks of applying the traditional rules to new
forms of service providers "outweighed the benefits."
He also criticised the way that the Commission proposed new basic rules for all 25 EU member states, but left it up to each national government to decide how to enforce those rules:
To build a single market for online services across the EU you need consistency. The Commission's approach will put a major obstacle in the way of businesses developing new products. The online services market is still in its infancy, he said, but
the sector needs "business certainty" to have incentives to develop new services and content for consumers.
The new rules will have to be approved by representatives of member state governments and members of the directly elected
European Parliament before coming into force.
A depiction of a murder in the popular detective series A Touch of Frost has landed ITV in trouble after a viewer complained that it was unsuitable to be shown before the watershed.
ITV has been found in breach of the
Broadcasting Code for the episode, screened on September 25 at 8.20pm. It showed a mother and daughter getting ready for bed, while an intruder lurked in their house. The daughter was then seen unconscious in the bathroom, then the intruder attacked the
In a further scene, after the ad break, Jack Frost, who is played by Sir David Jason, was shown at the scene of the murder inspecting the body of the mother, who was shown stabbed and bound on the bedroom floor.
ITV did not
broadcast a warning about violent scenes in the programme because it did not consider it necessary. It said that the character of Jack Frost was well established and that the show did not include graphic violence, nor was it different to the approach
taken by the show in other episodes.
Ofcom agreed that, in the context of a crime series, the portrayal of the attack and aftermath were not excessive. However, in its ruling it said that research showed that violence in a domestic setting may be
particularly upsetting to children. The sinister build-up in the family home, the attack on the mother and the images of her bloodied body were all potentially disturbing elements, particularly to children. As this episode was scheduled before the
watershed and would appeal to a wide-ranging audience, we believe that an announcement about the content would have been helpful to viewers in allowing them to make an informed choice of whether to view with their children.
It ruled that ITV
was in breach of the code regarding information about content.
Sky Sports has been censured by Ofcom for resurrecting a character from the larger than life world of American wrestling who had been "killed off" after being accused of inciting anti-Muslim sentiment among fans.
Wrestling Entertainment, the successor to the World Wrestling Federation franchise that became popular in the UK during the 1990s, was forced to axe the character of Muhammad Hassan from the ring after complaints in the wake of the July 7 London
But Sky Sports was yesterday censured by the media regulator Ofcom after the digital channel included the character in a programme which went out just over two weeks later on July 25.
The Great American
Bash, a highlight of the WWE calender, brought together characters from its Raw and Smackdown strands of programming.
The character, played by an American, Mark Copani, entered the ring wearing an Arab headdress and
surrounded by a phalanx of masked men in combat clothes who were described by the commentators as his "sympathisers". There was also use of emotive language, including the words "martyr", "sacrifice" and "infidel"
and footage of a previous clash between him and another wrestler was set to music that sounded like the Muslim call to prayer.
After the programme, Sky approached WWE to ensure the character would be withdrawn, and it ended his contract.
Worthless surveys have been saying that most aspects of life have been 'declining', 'going down hill', 'going to the dogs' etc as long as I can remember. Surely we should have hit rock bottom by now.
In reality I bet most people would prefer to live in 2005 than any bygone golden era of morality. Life has never been so good as our porn, swearing, crime infested, god forsaken modern age!
Based on an article from The Scotsman
An Ofcom reports says that British viewers blame soap operas and reality TV shows for what they believe is an increasing outpouring of bad language on screen.
Many viewers are also said to fear that strong language is creeping earlier into the viewing schedules ahead of the 9pm watershed, which is designed to limit strong content to adult viewers.
Ofcom's researchers quizzed more than 170 people in
Glasgow, Bristol, Leicester and London to discover people's attitudes towards swearing on the small screen. Those interviewed described their experiences of swearing on screen and gave their reaction to excerpts from ten programmes, all containing
varying degrees of bad language.
The study concluded that, while some instances of bad language could be justified by the context - a documentary about a prison, for example - bad language on TV was often thought to be used gratuitously.
Programmes cited by viewers as responsible for increasing amounts of bad language included
Eastenders , Grumpy Old Men , Hell's Kitchen and the daytime chat show Trisha . The Osbournes , the fly-on-the-wall documentary following the eccentric household of Ozzy Osbourne and his family, was also singled
out for its strong language, but viewers felt more forgiving as they considered that the rocker's constant outbursts were "funny" and "part of the context."
The combative Glaswegian chef Gordon Ramsay is criticised in the
research for his incessant use of the F-word. While many viewers were tolerant of bad language used when cameras were present in high-pressure work environments, Ramsay's unrelenting bad language failed to impress. Viewers thought it added nothing to
the programme and could easily have been edited out.
The report says that the unexpected use of strong language remains offensive to the average viewer. One of the clips examined by the Ofcom researchers was a four-letter outburst by John
Lydon, better known as Johnny Rotten, while a contestant on I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here . His language hit the headlines in February 2004 and forced ITV to introduce a time delay on subsequent episodes of the reality show.
media analyst Paul Robinson said he thought Ofcom would take a "relaxed" view of reality TV, despite concerns raised by some of the audience. If something creeps out in a live programme, and it's in context, Ofcom will probably be more
tolerant than something that has been scripted. They know these shows are going to be seen by kids whatever time they are scheduled.
The research was commissioned for Ofcom as part of its Broadcasting Code, which came into force in July this
Jamie Oliver was slammed by animal welfare campaigners yesterday for killing a lamb on his TV show. Viewers saw the chef cut the animal's throat in Jamie's Great Escape on Wednesday. The lamb had its legs tied - but it was
not stunned first.
Advocates for Animals said Jamie should be "thoroughly ashamed". It added: Slitting a lamb's throat while it is fully conscious will undoubtedly cause terrible suffering. It is widely acknowledged that the most
humane way is for them to be stunned before killing. This kind of brutal slaughter shows no compassion or respect for the poor animal.
Jamie - whose Channel 4 series is filmed in Italy - killed and cooked the lamb for a feast on a farm.
Clearly apprehensive before doing so he said: I do not know if I can do it ... I have never done that before. Not with a knife anyway. Jamie grimaced as he killed the animal, adding: A chef who's cooked 2,000 sheep should kill at least one,
otherwise you're a fake. Then he helped skin it.
John Beyer, director of MediaWatch, said even though Channel 4 warned viewers of the graphic content, many children would have watched the show. He said: "Channel 4 should have paid
attention to people's sensitivities. The scheduling of this scene before the watershed was inappropriate."
Regulator Ofcom said it had seven complaints from the public. A spokeswoman said: " We are looking into these with regard to
our code of practice."
Jamie's spokesman said: The method was considered humane by all present.
Channel 4 said: We were aware of the sensitivity of the scene and ensured that it
was clearly flagged to viewers immediately before the programme. The programme reflected the way many animals in Italy are reared and butchered and aimed to make the audience think about how their own food is sourced.
As far as I can see the Sky implementation is only applicable to households with all children under 12 and where the parents are happy to accept the programme classifications. The implementation is simply wrong for all of the other combinations and it is
easy to see that everyone else will be annoyed and irritated by unnecessary or incorrect PIN requirements.
Presumably this all started off as Sky felt that parents wouldn't turn on the PIN system voluntarily and that Sky know better how people's
kids should be raised.
Sky should be told to fuck off, drop their patronising control freakery and get the OFF button restored. Pronto!
Thanks to Peter who wrote the following letter to Sky
I have recently become aware that there is
a mandatory PIN protection on 15 and 18 rated recordings on my sky+ box.
Is there a way to circumvent this, or provide me with explicit control over this feature?
It would likewise be useful if one could set different PINs for different
restriction categories in the parental control settings.
Thank you for your recent communication, we value your feedback and welcome this opportunity to explain our
The objectives behind the recent parental control enhancements were to act responsibly as a broadcasting organisation and respond to our customers' needs, many of whom have young families. As programme offerings expand and change,
especially amongst free-to-air channels, we want to take all steps to ensure that our customers are able to control household viewing, and protect their children from accessing material that may otherwise be deemed unsuitable if they so choose .. Whilst
these objectives have been achieved by the upgrade and the response has been very positive, we recognise that the out-of-watershed PIN control enhancement has caused problems for some customers.
When we develop enhancements to any of our
services, ease of use is one of the most important aspects.
We considered and tested a number of options to provide customers greater control over
The ability to watch free-to-air and "basic" channels, where there has been a substantial increase in the availability, variety and nature of adult orientated content
The appearance of adult
channel listings in Sky Guide
The extension of PIN protection to programmes recorded after 8pm with Sky+ (post watershed) and played back between 6am and 8pm (out-of-watershed)
After consultation with customers, channels and other interested groups it was felt the best solution to the out-of-watershed playback issue was to make programme ratings (i.e. whether the content is suitable for viewing by children
aged over 12 years, or young persons aged 15 or 18 and over) automatically trigger the PIN protection. This was viewed as the most effective implementation option supported by our customer research. For Sky+ customers this means that a PIN request is
automatically generated for 12+ rated movies and other content when it is played out of watershed.
As a result of feedback we are now investigating a range of options to further improve the PIN control features. We hope to be able to introduce
these as soon as possible, after successful tests have been performed.
I do hope that my explanation goes some way to addressing your concerns, and I'd like to thank you for taking the time to bring your comments to our attention.
The concept of controlling home viewing via a single PIN and no customer setting is surely doomed to failure. I cannot conceive of how this can be possibly be implemented as a useful service to all customers. As a person
living in an adults only house I just want to turn all PINs off until further notice. Anything else will simply be unacceptably infuriating. It sounds like the half wits in control wont even allow channel hopping. Roll on IPTV so I can choose a TV
provider who lets me control my own life.
From Gary on The Melon Farmers' Forum
I notice that TCM have started pin protecting any 18-rated movies they show at 9pm - Slap Shot tonight
and the Outlaw Josey Wales the other week. Very annoying as you have to re-enter the pin if you change channel and go back to it!
This, despite the fact that they screened 18-rated films at 9pm (including Goodfellas) with no protection before the
recent Ofcom changes...
From Big Andrew on The Melon Farmers' Forum
It isn`t TCM doing it. It is Sky. Anything 18 rated shown on any channel will require a PIN prior to 10pm.
Other sources suggest that the level of sex and violence is somewhat exaggerated and that the 80 complaints were probably written
before the broadcast.
From The Times
The first episode of Rome , BBC Two’s period drama, was watched by 6.6 million people.
The programme, which included scenes of sex and violence shown just after the watershed, attracted 80 complaints from viewers. The £60
million series, which was co-produced with HBO, the American cable channel, features full-frontal nudity, crucifixion and throat slashing. The first episode attracted a 27 per cent audience share between 9pm and 9.50pm, according to unofficial figures.
The BBC contributed £10 million to the 11-part series, which follows the life of Julius Caesar from his conquest of Gaul to his assassination in 44BC.
Want to watch a racy late-night movie the next afternoon instead? If you recorded it on Sky+ you had better know your pin number. Sky is distributing an update to its 7.8 million subscribers that improves parental controls, by
allowing viewers to "lock out" specific channels, or block all the adult channels completely. That is good news for the 60% of subscribers with children, or those overwhelmed by the sheer number of channels. There are 400 channels in
Britain, more than anywhere else in Europe. Another nine launched in September alone. Adult channels outnumber children's channels 29 to 24 (with 11 launched in the past 18 months).
Any channel that can satisfy Ofcom's licensing requirements can
launch on digital satellite, and Sky says parents have been demanding more controls. In a BBC survey last year, 86% of people wanted regulation to prevent unsuitable images in TV programmes aimed at children, and Ofcom found that 42% of households with
children use a pin to block some channels already.
But while the new controls are handy for parents, there are drawbacks. Some broadcasters award movie-style ratings such as 15 or 18 to certain programmes; Sky+ subscribers will need to use their
pin if they want to play them back before the 9pm watershed, as all such programmes will be automatically locked.
At the moment, this mostly affects Sky's movie channels and the adult networks; not many other broadcasters choose to rate
individual programmes. This leads to inconsistencies. A recording from Sky Movies of Anaconda or Constantine will need unlocking (they are rated 15), as will Get Carter, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Blood Sucking Freaks (all rated 18) and both Meet
the Fockers and Hotel Rwanda (perhaps surprisingly rated 12). Record the unrated Cannibal Killer on Reality TV, and you will not need the pin to watch it, day or night.
It is easy for new Sky subscribers (and their children) to find the pin: it
is the last four digits on the viewing card, so it is a good idea to change it fairly quickly. Viewers who have had the service for longer will have a pin matching their first viewing card, which is probably long gone. Subscribers who do not know their
pin can reset it by calling an 0870 number (at a pricey 7.5p a minute at peak rate or up to 40p a minute from a mobile phone).
And it is not only time-shifting movie buffs who may find the mandatory pin inconvenient. Sky only allows subscribers
one number, which covers pay-per-view programmes and movies from Sky Box Office as well as all the parental controls. If you want to let your 15 year old watch 12- and 15-rated movies while you are out shopping on a Saturday afternoon, you will have to
give them the pin, which gives them access to all the channels, recordings and pay-for content. The same goes for adult flatmates and visitors: you cannot choose which level of programmes or features to restrict.
Viewers who complain about
needing a pin to watch recordings are told by Sky: We recognise that the out-of-watershed pin control enhancement has caused problems for some customers. As a result of feedback we are now investigating a range of options to further improve the pin
control features. We hope to be able to introduce these as soon as possible, after successful tests have been performed.
As with computer passwords, forcing unwilling viewers to use a pin will not necessarily increase security. Forgetful
viewers will probably write their pin on the Sky box or the remote control. Ofcom found that more than 60% of children say they know the pin their parents use to block channels - though more than 60% of parents believe their children do not know it. As
with the internet, voluntary rating is not going to catch many of the shows parents will most want to block: the most effective way of controlling what children watch is to sit in front of the TV with them.
If you play an 18 or 15 rated recording back on Sky+ outside the watershed hours, EG during the day, you have to enter the PIN.
So if your 16 year old is in the house alone in the day, and you want to allow them to watch
"15" rated movies recorded on Sky+, then you have to enter your PIN and this is NOT optional. This means the PIN you give them, also allows them access to 18 rated movies PPV etc. etc.
This could only be thought out by idiots.
The parental controls are there, but they are simply more restrictive.
update 4th November
From Peter & Nick
After previously stating that the Sky+ PIN requirement could be
turned off, Peter now reports that 15/18 rated films require a mandatory PIN. Presumably his Sky+ box has been 'upgraded'.
He says: That is a considerable inconvenience for households with NO
children, let alone the above problem with older teenagers
Thanks also to Nick who reports that random films on the Horror Channels have been mandatorily PIN protected on a normal Sky set top box
A suggestive car advert that shows a female mannequin with erect nipples has been cleared of causing offence by the advertising watchdog, despite attracting 425 complaints.
Hundreds of people complained that the cinema and
TV commercial for Mazda - in which a shop window dummy becomes "aroused" after a ride in the back of a car - was offensive, demeaned women and was unsuitable for children.
The advert is the fifth most complained about TV commercial of
recent times, with 425 people contacting the Advertising Standards Authority.
However, the ASA decided that the sexual innuendo in the ad was subtle enough to escape the attention of children and it accepted arguments that the depiction of
sexuality was akin to that found in a Carry On film.
The ASA rejected all complaints against the Mazda campaign, created by JWT, a division of Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP. It ruled that the ad was " \based on mildly sexual
material and was not excessively explicit. We understood that the depiction of a mannequin becoming aroused by the excitement of a journey in a car may not have been to everyone's taste but we did not consider it likely to cause serious or widespread
The ASA ruled that the intention was not to insult or offend," but to humorously present the absurd notion that an inanimate object could be turned on in the first place.
JWT said that the advert highlighted the
exciting aspects of a type of car that may be regarded by some sections of the audience as "uninspiring". The agency pointed to consumer research that showed UK audiences reacted positively to the ad and its adult theme. JWT said that the use
of mannequins instead of real people contributed to the humour of the ad.
The ad shows a man loading a number of female mannequins, dressed in lingerie, into the back of a Mazda. As the man drives, a mannequin's hand hitches up its negligee to
expose the top of its stockings. When the driver parks outside a lingerie store and lifts one of the mannequins out of the car its nipples are erect and the sound of a woman's giggle can be heard. The all new Mazda 5. Surprisingly stimulating ,
the voiceover says.
A post-7.30pm scheduling restriction was placed on the ad for TV to avoid times when young children might be watching.
The Cinema Advertising Association, which approves adverts before they are screened in cinemas,
said that the sexual reference in the advert was mild in comparison with many films given a PG rating.
Ofcom has beaten the BBC in a 14-month tussle over the post-watershed screening of Quentin Tarantino's movie Pulp Fiction.
The media regulator decided that 9.10pm on BBC2 was too early to begin transmission of Pulp
Fiction , even though this was after the 9pm watershed, because of the seriously offensive language, graphic violence and drug abuse that occur in the first 20 minutes of the film.
It agreed with nine viewers who had complained and
ruled that the broadcast, on August 7 last year, had breached its programme code on the scheduling of films with strong, adult content.
Ofcom's publication of its verdict on the Pulp Fiction complaints has been delayed because the BBC
appealed the decision three times and matter went to the regulator's content board for a final ruling.
A combination of seriously offensive language, graphic violence and drug abuse occurred early in the film, before 9.30pm. Under the relevant
[programme] code, 18 films are not prohibited but the content should be suitable for the time of transmission, the regulator said. Such intense material is not normally expected so soon after the watershed. We believe the scheduling of the film at
9.10pm was too early, given the strong, adult content from the start.
In making its decision, Ofcom noted that audience figures showed that 8% of the Pulp Fiction audience - 124,000 viewers - were aged 15 and under.
argued that it had broadcast Pulp Fiction on four previous occasions and that it was unlikely to surprise or offend BBC2 viewers, being one of the most influential and best known films of the last 10 years.
Ofcom said it had no issue with
the BBC's argument for the editorial and cultural merits of the film, but noted that all the previous four BBC2 transmissions of Pulp Fiction had begun at 9.45pm or later.
I somehow think that the BBC are showing it at 9pm because it is suitable for that slot. If the Americans have got anything to do
with then it will hardly feature anything that offends their vocal nutter viewers.
From Brand Republic
The BBC has defended its decision to screen multimillion-pound historical drama Rome at 9pm, despite scenes of sex, nudity and violence, arguing it shows how Romans really lived.
The drama, which goes out immediately
after the 9pm watershed, is expected to generate a wave of complaints. The BBC had ruled out showing the drama at a later time because it wants to get maximum exposure for the series.
Jane Tranter, BBC controller of drama commissioning, said: This is how people lived. It shows Rome in all its bloodiness and viscerality.
Bruno Heller, lead writer on the drama, said: You can't understand that period in history unless it shocks you. You were allowed to murder your neighbour or covet his wife if it didn't piss off the wrong person. Mercy was a weakness,
cruelty a virtue, and all that mattered was personal honour, loyalty to yourself and family,
In the first few minutes of the opening episode viewers see Caesar's niece, played by Polly Walker, topless and astride one of her lovers as slaves
The series is likely to land the BBC in hot water with broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.
The series, made by the BBC and US broadcaster HBO is a 12-part drama series on Julius Caesar and the rise of the Roman empire will broadcast on
BBC Two from November 2 at 9pm .
Congratulations to THE HORROR CHANNEL. Last week I was pleasantly surprised to see THE HORROR CHANNEL chose to show
BLOODSUCKING FREAKS in all its gory glory and there was me thinking this film was banned in the UK. Well done THE HORROR CHANNEL for showing this perverse masterpiece!!
Ofcom can shit a brick next month with their
contextualised/non contextual sex nonsense as Sky Box Office is showing 9 Songs . Can`t wait for the headlines in the Mail and Express, and as for Christian Voice - if their creed has an equivalent of a Fatwa, then I`m sure they will wage one. Let
the fun begin.
This is a complete joke. People who want to watch hardcore sex on dedicated channels to get off on it can`t. Others who don`t particularly want to watch hardcore sex, can.
The issue is quite simply whether
or not they want to wank off over it. If they want to wank off over it, then Ofcom will ban it. Nothing to do with protection of children. Everything to do with imposing a narrow minded repressive ideology on the rest of us.
Sky have just introduced new parental controls for their Sky+ box. This might be considered a "good thing", in some ways. BUT:
On Sky+, if you
want to play back any 15, or 18 rated recording before the watershed, you now HAVE to enter your PIN number. There is NO option to prevent that, in the settings. It is IMPOSED on you, EVEN if there are no children in the house. One person at Sky
arrogantly said it is here to stay, and there is nothing you can do about it.!
HOWEVER in their wisdom, they have in fact made parental control HARDER than it was before.
How on earth do I ALLOW my 15 year old son, to watch 15
rated movies, in the day, which he is old enough to do, in our absence, WITHOUT having to give him my one and only PIN number which would ALSO allow him to watch 18 rated movies, including adult programmes if I had subscribed to any of them, and recorded
Currently I don't have this flexibility. I have to give him ALL or NOTHING.
In the past, I could simply apply restriction to 18 rated content in the parental control menu, and this would prevent playback and viewing of 18 rated
content at any time, but allow 15 rated content.
Clearly the idiots at Sky and elsewhere, have not thought this one through. It makes me wonder if they are really fit to be in charge of a service such as this ?
A little bit of censorship history was made last night with the uncut screening on FilmFour of Taxi Zum Klo .
In a nutshell: "autobiographical pre-AIDs gay hardcore sex comedy" (and you don`t see many of those
The pissing scene really was as graphic as you`ll ever get: one guy pissing all over another`s face and into his mouth; the receiver clearly enjoying it. The scene is textbook urolagnia and would fit quite happily in a
"real" porn film. In passing this scene (something for which the BBFC should be congratulated), I`d say that it`s only a matter of time before we see urolagnia in R18`s.
When Ofcom stops ignoring complaints about brief snippets of hardcore on UK satellite channels, I wonder if they will argue that the snippets of hardcore are brief and wont be spotted by viewers so can be ignored
This 1980 film starred
Al Pacino as an undercover cop investigating a serial killer on the New York gay scene. A viewer complained about two virtually imperceptible clips of anal penetration. He believed that the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) had required these
scenes to be cut for the film to obtain an 18-rating.
Five explained that this version had been transmitted in error. The scenes were so brief that they were imperceptible without freeze-framing and they had not been
picked up when the film was received from the distributor. The broadcaster was aware that the BBFC had required edits but, on checking at normal viewing speed, these scenes had not been visible and it had been assumed that this was the edited version.
The broadcaster assured us that it would now be alert to the possibility that very brief cuts required by the BBFC should be checked thoroughly. Five was also looking at any other precautions that might reasonably be taken to prevent similar
mistakes occurring in future.
Given the extreme brevity of the pictures, very few viewers would have been aware of these scenes if they had not watched the film using a frame-advance mechanism. However the Programme Code
does advise broadcasters to use the BBFC video classifications as a guide when transmitting films. In this case, an unintentional error was made. Taking into account the broadcaster’s actions, we consider that appropriate steps have been taken to avoid
any similar occurrence.
Twenty per cent of parents in homes with digital TV think the watershed is no longer relevant, according to a new survey. One in five parents now believes that advances in digital TV technology, which let viewers watch what they want, when
they want, make the traditional 9pm cut-off point obsolete, the survey reveals.
The research undertaken for Homechoice, the digital TV service, shows that 43% of parents in digital TV homes believe they, rather than the regulator-set watershed,
should determine what their children watch.
According to the survey, more than a third of parents would use a special child's remote control, which can bar anything other than kids' channels, while more than 20% would use personal PIN codes
designed to prevent youngsters from accessing adult-oriented fare.
More and more of us are experiencing the ever-changing world of digital television. We can now have access to hundreds of channels and literally thousands of programmes at the
touch of a button, said John Carr, an internet specialist at children's charity NCH. Before this new era, we were all able to rely on the trusted watershed. However, in the more complex world we now live in, service providers and parents both have
a responsibility to protect children from unsuitable content that could be available at any time of the day."
According to responses from around 500 digital homes, less than 2% of parents think broadcasters should be solely responsible
for regulating what their children watch, with 55% believing it should be shared between parents and broadcasters.
Though the majority of parents say they are still concerned about violence and sex on TV, twice as many were more concerned about
scenes of graphic brutality than they were about sex.
It is encouraging that parents are taking an active interest in their children's viewing as digital technology continues to bring increased choice, said Roger Lynch, the chief executive
and chairman of Homechoice. Before digital television, we relied on and trusted the watershed, but now we have to look at other ways to help keep the entertainment experience relevant and appropriate for the audience.
The BBC is launching a cinema-style classification to warn parents of programmes containing sex, violence and strong language. Programmes suitable mostly for adults are to be labelled with the symbol “G” for “guidance”.
the G-certificate will be available only to people viewing on their computers, but audiences using the next generation of televisions should be able to click on the symbol on their screens to be alerted to the adult content. The symbol could eventually
replace the traditional 9pm watershed.
The corporation is introducing the system to coincide with the release of most of the output of BBC1, BBC2 and its other networks on the internet. Many of its radio programmes are already available “on
demand” in this way for seven days after they have been broadcast.
Because viewers will be able to watch programmes from the previous week’s output whenever they want, children will no longer be protected by the conventional watershed.
Initially only 5,000 viewers taking part in a trial this month of the BBC’s system for downloading programmes — the “integrated media player” — will encounter the G-system. Now, any BBC programme included in the new service will have to be classified as G or non-G.
If downloading television programmes on computer becomes nationally available — the BBC’s director-general Mark Thompson is hoping to win the governors’ approval to launch it next year — the G-symbol will become familiar in almost every household
and is likely to be adopted by other broadcasters. We need to give audiences the equivalent of a new watershed, to give them a different signpost ,” said Rachel Hermer, the BBC adviser on editorial policy.
Parents will be able to adjust
computers so children cannot watch G-rated programmes without permission.
The Horror Channel has been acquired by Zone Vision Networks which has pledged to inject funds to provide it with new programming. Under the rejuvenation, due to take place next month, The Horror Channel will have new titles and
classic horror films.
Zone Vision acquired the free-to-air Horror Channel, which broadcasts on Sky's digital platform, for an undisclosed sum from founder Tony Hazell.
Horror is a very popular genre right now, said Zone Vision's
programming chief Adam Robinson. Our aim is to open up to a new audience, appealing to the mainstream viewer, as well as satisfying the existing hard core horror fan by acquiring cult movies.
The BBC was criticised yesterday by Ofcom for scheduling documentaries on pornography, prostitution and drugs shortly after breakfast when young children may have been watching. Ofcom ruled that Britain's Streets of Vice , shown in
a 9.15am slot earlier this year, was inappropriate daytime viewing and contravened its code. The programmes included scenes of the preparation and injection of drugs and footage of a woman discussing her experiences as a dominatrix who made her living
from online pornography.
Ofcom received 58 complaints from viewers some of whom said they were watching with young children and others who said their offspring were not at school because of extreme weather. Of particular concern, said Ofcom, was
some of the footage in the programme on drugs and the third and fourth programmes in the series which were "less serious in tone" and focused on brothels and pornography.
In the fourth programme, Ofcom drew attention to footage of sex
aids and toys, magazine covers with explicit headlines and interviews with contributors including two women who regularly had sex with subscribers to their website and a 26-year-old man said to be one of Britain's top gay porn stars.
The BBC said
the emphasis of its daytime service had been refocused in recent years to make "serious and informative" material available to adult viewers during the day and the four programmes in question were "intended as serious and informative
It also said the series had been scheduled to run during the school term and had been carefully considered at a senior level prior to transmission. Other daytime talkshows often discussed adult themes, it said. But Ofcom said
that the 45-minute programmes, while "manifestly in the public interest", and in no way glamorising or condoning the activities depicted, went beyond what viewers expected to see on BBC1 at that time of day.
The BBC said that as a
result of reaction to the final programme it had decided not to air the series again during the day and promised that any future plans to cover sexual themes in the slot would "be scrutinised with particular care".
Popetown , the BBC commissioned cartoon satire about the Vatican that proved too hot - or too unfunny - for the BBC to handle last year, was last night said to be being released as a DVD by a private
The 10-part programme, originally commissioned in 2002, which features an infantile, pogostick-wielding pontiff voiced by the comedienne Ruby Wax, provoked the wrath of many British Catholics, including the church's hierarchy, in an
orchestrated campaign to secure its cancellation.
Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell declared the series, which he had not seen, as an irreverent, gratuitous and publicly funded attack on [the] faith. The complainants were particularly
outraged that the show had been commissioned at a cost of about £2m. Some took it as a sign of the BBC's alleged anti-Catholic bias, even though the director general, Mark Thompson, is a Catholic.
The BBC eventually announced that it would not
show the series - on the grounds that it was not good enough. A spokesman last night said that the BBC was not involved in the release, which is being handled by a company called Revolver.
Popetown 's director, Phil Ox, insisted the DVD
would go on sale next month and branded Catholics who found it offensive as evil. He said: I am glad that it is finally out there. I should just remind everybody that viewing this show can destroy your soul.
Channel 4 was last night facing renewed calls from nutters to take the reality television series Big Brother off the air after a housemate shocked a handful off viewers with her drunken behaviour. Around 80 complaints were lodged with
Ofcom, the broadcasting regulators.
During Tuesday night's Big Brother highlights show on Channel 4, broadcast at 10pm, one of the female contestants was shown simulating sex with a blow-up dog, appearing to perform sex acts with a bottle and
kissing two male housemates while topless in the house jacuzzi.
The episode was edited so that her most shocking moments were relayed through the horror expressed on her housemates' faces, while she was heard on voice-over,
and a verbal warning went out as the programme began transmission.
Ratings for Tuesday's show peaked at 5.4 million, a 38% audience share, which is somewhere in the middle of Big Brother's long-term fortunes, but a step up for the latest series
which has seen audiences dwindle in recent weeks.
Kinga Karolczak has since apologised and said she had only been joking. She was first brought into the house with two others via a secret garden in late June, but after just three days she was
evicted by a fellow housemate. On Sunday night she was brought back in to stir things up and boost ratings.
She had already bared her chest during her brief time in the secret garden and four hours after her return this weekend prompted a game of
truth or dare in the hot tub. The dares were invariably sexual and soon she had "snogged" two of her male housemates, taken off her top and was asking the only other woman in the house if she fancied her.
On Monday night Karolczak took
things a step further, putting a wine bottle up her skirt and giving the impression she was masturbating in front of the other contestants. She was then seen going off to the garden where she lay down by herself with the bottle between her legs.
John Beyer from the nutters at Mediawatch-UK said:
It is absolutely appalling although it was thoroughly predictable. From the outset Channel 4 has calculated that this kind of thing was going to happen. Channel 4 is a public service broadcaster that has high aspirations for quality and innovation but
this sort of indecent pornographic behaviour shows Big Brother for what it really is, which is just to be controversial. The time has come for the plug to be pulled on this.
Ofcom said it investigates every complaint made about a transmission
but is a post-transmission regulator and cannot ban programmes before they are aired.
Channel 4 said it had received a number of phone calls, but that was normal for the series. Kinga's antics on Monday night went out post-watershed and as
always with Big Brother there was a voice over before before the programme alerting viewers to the nature of some scenes, said a spokeswoman.
ITN has apologised after a lunchtime ITV news bulletin inadvertently featured a link to a porn website. The website, broadcast during a report about children and train lines, was assumed by staff to be inactive after access was blocked
by ITN's firewall.
The address, transmitted on 9 June, was obscured in later bulletins. ITN accepted that the website address should not have been included in the broadcast, and apologised for the error, said a statement from Ofcom. We
accept ITN's explanation of how the website address came to be transmitted, said Ofcom. The importance of stringent checks has been reinforced to editorial staff.
Sounds rather like the underlying reasons are more to do with a wider lifestyle and interaction with parents. I wonder if the researchers considered
underlying correlations to wealth, middle classness etc
From The Times
Children who watch a lot of television and have a set in their bedroom do significantly worse at school than others and are less likely to reach university, research suggests.
A series of studies published today indicate the damage done by
television to children’s development and progress at school. One, by scientists in New Zealand, found that those who watched the most television were the least likely to leave school with qualifications and had a smaller chance of getting a university
In another independent project, conducted in the United States by researchers at Stanford and Johns Hopkins universities, children who had televisions in their rooms were found to be lower academic achievers. Those without a bedside TV
but who had access to a computer at home, did significantly better at mathematics, reading and language tests than their peers.
A third study, by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, found that television could impair the
development of very young pre-school children but may have some benefits for those aged between three and five.
The three studies appear this month in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a journal published by the American Medical
Association. An accompanying editorial said that parents should choose with care programmes that stimulate and are appropriate to the age of their children.
The New Zealand team conducted a long-term study of more than 1,000 children aged 5, 7,
9, 11, 13 and 15. The results of this study indicate that increased time spent watching television during childhood and adolescence was associated with a lower level of educational attainment by early adulthood. Lower mean viewing hours between 5 and
11 years of age were a stronger predictor of achieving a university degree.
The Stanford study followed a diverse group of almost 400 third-grade pupils, with an average age of eight, at six Californian schools. Children with a TV in their
bedrooms, but no home computer, achieved the worst scores in school achievement tests. Those in the reverse situation scored the highest.
Thomas Robinson, from the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, who led the research, said: This study provides even more evidence that parents should take the television out of their child’s room, or not put it there in the first place.
The researchers, who found that more than 70 per cent of pupils reported having a television in their bedroom, did not know why it had such an effect on examination results.
The third study analysed data on 1,797 children from a survey of
mathematics, reading and comprehension skills in America. Frederick Zimmerman and Dimitri Christakis, from the University of Washington, reported a consistent pattern of negative associations between television before age three years and adverse
cognitive outcomes at ages 6 and 7 years.
More than 350 people complained to the BBC about the use of pre-watershed strong
language used by Live8 performers. The BBC yesterday apologised to anyone who was offended by the bad language but blamed it on the performers and organisers. A spokesman said: We had no editorial say … However, all the artists
were made aware that it was being broadcast live and were asked to be mindful of their language.
The BBC have published an updated "codes of ethics" for programme-makers and other content providers, ie the BBC Editorial Guidelines
Ofcom - the communications regulator which deals with all broadcasters,
including the BBC - also updated its code last month. It relaxed some of the rules imposed by earlier regulators, saying that with multi-channel television now in half of UK homes, audiences must take greater responsibility for what they and their
families watched and listened to.
It told broadcasters that, for their part, they must do more to label programmes and tell listeners and viewers what to expect, particularly when children are around.
Cameras showed bloodied hostages,
many of them children, fleeing the school, and there was criticism that some footage had been too intrusive.
The BBC has also responded to the multimedia world in its new guidelines, which come into effect on 25 July, replacing its old Producers'
It is to introduce a time-delay when broadcasting live coverage of sensitive events such as the Beslan siege. All the major news outlets reported live from the scene of the hostage crisis last September, which led to the deaths of
more than 300 people. Cameras showed bloodied hostages - many of them children - fleeing the school, and there was criticism that some footage had been too intrusive.
In another change reflecting the growing influence of 24-hour news, the
guidelines say the BBC regards "accuracy as more important than speed". Though this is a long-established principle, it's the first time the BBC has made such an explicit commitment. It's an acknowledgment that in the race to report news ahead
of their rivals, broadcasters sometimes make mistakes.
Some TV channels and websites adhere to a different principle - "never wrong for long" - reflecting the ability of 24-hour news outlets to correct mistakes quickly. The BBC is
making it clear that, in its case, this is not good enough.
The guidelines also suggest that all programme contributors should be asked to sign contracts, disclosing any conflicts of interest or criminal records - to try to root out fake guests
in daytime talk shows.
In investigative programmes, such as The Secret Policeman, they say the use of secret recordings must be kept under constant review - and no-one with a criminal record must be employed without the personal approval of the
BBC's head of editorial policy.
The guidelines were updated last year to take account of lessons learned after the Hutton Inquiry into the Gilligan-Kelly affair, and these changes are also incorporated in the new edition.
Ofcon has said that it is concerned about the rising incidents of complaints against Channel 4 for swearing in pre-watershed broadcasting, this time for its dating gameshow Playing it Straight .
The third incident in
recent months came in the dating show, which featured a woman trying to identify gay men from a selection of male suitors, in order to win a cash prize. It was originally broadcast on Friday evenings after the watershed.
However, Channel 4
decided that it would also be suitable for its youth strand T4 on the weekend, and it was broadcast on Saturday mornings in an edited version suitable for younger audiences.
Nine viewers complained about the episode broadcast on April 9, where
the word "fuck" was accidentally included. Some viewers also felt that the subject was unsuitable for the timeslot.
Although Channel 4 apologised for the swearing on air immediately after the programme and explained that it had been
left in the Saturday broadcast because of human error, Ofcom ruled that Channel 4 was in breach of the programme code.
It said in its ruling that it welcomed the apology.
"Nonetheless, there have been recent complaints about swearing
in a pre-watershed repeat of the Big Brother Panto and in the subtitles of 100 Greatest Christmas Moments . We are concerned therefore at this latest instance and have concluded that it was in breach of the Programme Code," it said.
The Christian Institute's bid to bring judicial review proceedings against the BBC for its broadcast of Jerry Springer - the Opera has been rejected by a high court judge.
The Newcastle-based nutter group vowed to take the
action after the broadcaster refused to apologise for the expletive-strewn opera. The BBC was issued with legal papers in early March. It applied for a judicial review claiming the BBC had violated its royal charter and hoped to win a hearing which would
examine how BBC bosses executed their responsibilities.
But the high court has refused to grant the Christian Institute permission to bring judicial review proceedings against the BBC. The decision will come as little surprise to the TV industry
which has seen several failed attempts to have decisions overturned through judicial reviews.
Jana Bennett, the BBC's director of television, said Jerry Springer - the Opera was a "difficult production" for some people, but
represented a "significant landmark" in the BBC's drive to maintain freedom of speech and editorial independence. We are pleased that Ofcom, the Governors' Programme Complaint Commission (GPCC) and now the laws of this
country have recognised that the BBC has an important role to play in the freedom of artistic expression.
Ofcon have released their new program code today on their website
Just a reminder of their laudable aims published at the time of the public
consultation about their broadcasting code.
Freedom of expression is an essential human right. It is the right to hold opinions, to receive information and ideas and to impart them.
Broadcasting and freedom of expression are intrinsically
linked. The one is the life blood of the other. Nowhere can that tension between the right to freedom of expression and its restriction be more acute than in drawing up a Code which seeks to regulate broadcasting.
All regulation in the proposed Code must be prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society. Unnecessary regulation should not be in this Code. Rules cannot be made at the whim of a regulator.
Regulation should be transparent, accountable, proportionate, consistent and targeted only at cases where action is needed. That is a requirement of the Act but it is also part of the test Ofcom has to apply in
restricting freedom of expression.
Now on a whim they have denied our freedom of expression with a totally disproportionate and unnecessary ban of legal adult material... Shame on them!
The most immediately relevant sections are as follows as applying to films, premium subscription film services, and pay per view services,
1.20 No film refused classification by the BBFC may be broadcast unless it has
subsequently been classified or the BBFC has confirmed that it would not be rejected according to the standards currently operating. Also, no film cut as a condition of classification by the BBFC may be transmitted in a version which includes the cut
the BBFC has confirmed that the material was cut to allow the film to pass at a lower category; or
the BBFC has confirmed that the film would not be subject to compulsory cuts according to the standards
1.21 BBFC 18-rated films or their equivalent must not be broadcast before 2100 on any service except for pay per view services, and even then they may be unsuitable for broadcast at that time.
subscription film services may broadcast up to BBFC 15-rated films or their equivalent, at any time of day provided:
there is a protection system (a mandatory PIN or other equivalent protection) pre 2000 and post 0530, that seeks satisfactorily to restrict access solely to those authorised to view when material other than BBFC U-rated or PG-rated or
their equivalents is shown; and
those security systems which are in place to protect children are clearly explained to all subscribers.
1.23 Pay per view services may broadcast up to BBFC 18-rated films or their equivalent, at any time of day provided:
there is a protection system pre 2100 and post 0530 (a mandatory PIN or other equivalent protection) that seeks satisfactorily to restrict access solely to those authorised to view when material other than BBFC U-rated or PG-rated or
their equivalents is shown;
information is provided about programme content that will assist adults to assess its suitability for children
there is a detailed billing system for subscribers which
clearly itemises all viewing including viewing times and dates; and
those security systems which are in place to protect children are clearly explained to all subscribers
1.24 Premium subscription services and pay per view/night services may broadcast [softcore] ‘adult-sex’ material between 2200 and 0530 provided that in addition to other protections mentioned above:
there is a mandatory PIN protected encryption system, or other equivalent protection, that seeks satisfactorily to restrict access solely to those authorised [sounds very Orwellian] to view; and
there are measures in place that ensure that the subscriber is an adult.
1.25 BBFC R18-rated films or their equivalent must not be broadcast.
Ofcom have cleared the explicit sex shown in Channel 4's recent screening of the Idiots despite complaints. It would seem that the television censor is prepared to let explicit penetrative sex be shown on free to air services
whilst the screening of the same type of content on a PIN protected adult only subscription channel is prohibited. We have every reason to believe that this nonsensical inconsistency should be rectified when the new Ofcom broadcast code is published.
Seven viewers complained about the graphic sexual content of this film – especially as it was shown on a terrestrial channel.
Channel 4 explained that the film was shown as part of its “Banned” season exploring censorship
and cinematic works. The channel recognised that the films in this season were of a controversial and difficult nature. It was decided to precede each film with a short contextualising introductory film warning potential viewers about the difficult or
extreme material contained in the film and explaining its context and justification.
On this occasion, Tim Roth, the presenter of these introductory films, explained that the censors were troubled by a gangbang with full front nudity and
a brief shot of hardcore penetration . He went on to say that the BBFC understood that the orgy scene was thematically important because it questions the characters’ intentions and heralds the break-up of the commune . Tim Roth explains that
the BBFC passed the film uncut for both cinema and home video release, but that the offending organs were digitally obscured for its first television broadcast.
Channel 4 took the view that this broadcast was transmitted in a different and
very specific context - a debate about the censorship of film and television. However, the channel took the precaution of scheduling the film after midnight and gave clear and specific warnings about the content. In addition to the introductory film,
there was a warning immediately before the broadcast and another returning from the advertisement break, prior to the scene in question (broadcast at approximately 01:30).
Given, a) its statutory remit to innovate and experiment and to appeal to
the tastes and interests of a culturally diverse society and b) viewers’ expectations regarding this remit, Channel 4 believed it made adequate provisions to limit the degree of harm and offence likely to be caused.
We recognise that this is a challenging and controversial film, which some viewers may find difficult to view. Until now, films showing unedited graphic sexual content of this nature have been confined to specialist subscription film
channels. The Idiots has been shown before on Channel 4, but with the scene of penetrative sex digitally obscured. When previously shown on FilmFour and in an edited version on Channel 4, the film attracted very little complaint and those received
were not upheld by the legacy regulators.
We recognise that showing such sexual imagery on a terrestrial channel carries a greater potential for offence than when broadcast on a specialist subscription channel which is of limited availability.
Ofcom has to balance the potential offence this film may cause viewers against Channel 4’s remit to explore difficult themes – on this occasion the examination of censorship.
Under the circumstances: the serious contextualisation of the film
within a season examining the censorship of film and television, its artistic purpose, the channel which transmitted it, the strong warnings before the film and prior to the scene in question and the scheduling after midnight, we consider this broadcast
of the film on Channel 4 did not breach the Code. These circumstances all served to prepare potential viewers for the extreme content.
An important consideration was the artistic intention of the film in its style and narrative. The documentary
approach, along with the brevity of the scene and its pivotal role in breaking up the group, further distanced the film from those of the ‘adult market’.
While we do not consider the film was in breach of the Code on this occasion, we must
consider carefully the acceptability of any similar content on an individual basis. The film was not in breach
Pot Noodle adverts which drew more than 600 complaints from viewers who found them sexually explicit may still be shown, the Advertising Standards Authority said.
The three TV commercials showed a man with a large brass horn
and used the phrase Have you got the Pot Noodle horn?
Some viewers objected to the sexual innuendo, saying it was an "unacceptable and gratuitous" method of publicising a food product. Others complained about a shorter version of
the commercial, shown before 9pm, because they found the verbal innuendo "inappropriate" for the early evening.
The two commercials shown after 9pm were "characteristically tongue in cheek" for Pot Noodle, the ASA found.
Rejecting viewers objections, the ASA said: The word "horn" was used as a pun intended to refer to sexual arousal, but this was not in itself likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
The ASA found that the third commercial,
shown before 9pm but not before 7.30pm, contained subtle verbal references and did not contain visual references to sexual arousal. The ASA did not uphold the 48 complaints for this advert.
Reebok's television advert featuring gangster rapper 50 Cent should be banned because of its violent content, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.
The TV commercial drew 57 objections, including Mothers Against
Guns founder Lucy Cope, who complained it glamorised gun crime. The advert provoked complaints those who thought it glamorised gun culture and could make violence appear acceptable. Others feared the commercials could make youngsters think 50
Cent's background was "cool".
It showed 50 Cent saying he had been "gunned down" and later counting from one to nine - the number of times he had been shot. He was later shown laughing and staring at the camera after a
voice-over asked: Who do you plan to massacre next?
The ASA upheld these complaints, saying the Reebok advert for its "I Am What I Am" campaign breached the TV Advertising Standards
Code. Reebok's commercial dealt "inappropriately" with violent aspects of 50 Cent's life, the industry watchdog found. We believed it appeared to condone his violent background, the watchdog said.
Reebok UK said the commercials,
created by NMI Media, had been cleared by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre and were intended to be a positive and empowering celebration of the right of freedom of self-expression, individuality and authenticity .
It was pulled
from screens prior to the ASA's adjudication because of complaints from the public. Reebok UK said the commercials did not suggest any good came from violence, and denied they could cause children any emotional suffering.
The BBC is developing a PG-style classification system for its programmes in a bid to head off any attempt by Ofcom to impose its own labelling framework. Under the scheme, programmes with strong content would carry a label –
most likely to be a “G” for guidance – which would appear next to the title on any EPG. The idea has been in development for two years and will be trialled as part of the corporation’s experiment with downloadable TV in September.
Ofcom has a working group looking into the issue of labelling, but the BBC wants to develop a broadcaster-led scheme amid fears that an Ofcom-imposed system could prove excessive. BBC controller of editorial policy Stephen Whittle
said: We think it’s better we should keep control of how this is done, so it doesn’t become excessive.
Jerry Springer: the Opera provoked accusations of blasphemy and a firestorm of protest from nutters when it was broadcast earlier this year. But the television watchdog Ofcom has ruled that the programme did
not breach broadcasting guidelines.
Ofcom received more than 16,000 complaints - an unprecedented number - but yesterday ruled that although the January showing clearly had the potential to offend and indeed the intention to shock, it was set
in a very clear context as a comment on modern TV .
Nutters were particularly offended by the programme's portrayal of Christian figures, which included Jesus wearing a nappy. Tabloid press reports stoked the controversy, saying that the
programme contained 8,000 swear words. According to the BBC, however, it only contained "around 200 f-words" and "nine c-words".
In its ruling, Ofcom said it appreciated that the representation of religious figures was
offensive to some people. But it said: The show's effect was to satirise modern fame and the culture of celebrity. The images that caused the most offence were part of a 'dream' sequence serving as a metaphor for the fictional Jerry Springer and
his chat show. In Ofcom's view, these were not meant to be faithful or accurate depictions of religious figures, but a product of the lead character's imagination. Even as he lay dying, the fictional Jerry Springer still saw his life through the lens of
his confessional show.
Ofcom received 7,491 complaints before transmission and 8,860 afterwards, including 4,264 emails from an organisation called Premier Media Group. It also received 210 messages of support for the programme.
Complaints were investigated by Ofcom's content board - the highest level at which complaints are considered. Ofcom said the musical was preceded by a programme which aimed to put the whole show into context.
Adverts which offended Christian sensitivities accounted for three of the four most complained about ads across the broadcast and print media last year. In a year in which the number of complaints made to the Advertising Standards
Authority (ASA) fell by almost 11%, adverts which were said to mock key aspects of the Christian faith received the highest number of complaints.
A Channel 4 advert for the Paul Abbott series Shameless , in which the Gallagher family are
posed like Jesus and the apostles in Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper , received the most complaints for any non-broadcast advert.
In all, 264 people complained to the ASA about the advert, but the authority decided the complaints were
unjustified because it parodied the Renaissance masterpiece rather than the Christian sacrament. There was no such ambiguity about the second most complained about non-broadcast ad. Schering Health Care's advert for its morning after pill carried the
top line Immaculate Contraception . It did not go down well with Roman Catholics, in particular, and received 182 complaints, which were upheld.
Channel 4 also produced the third most complained about non-broadcast ad: a newspaper insert
advertising a documentary on the Royal Mail which workers claimed implied they were thieves. Like the advert for Shameless , however, the complaints were ruled to be unjustified.
In its annual report, published today, the ASA reveals that
the total number of non-broadcast complaints fell in 2004 to 12,711, a decline of 10.9% on 2003. Despite a drop in the number of complaints, the total number of campaigns investigated by the ASA increased. The number of non-broadcast campaigns altered or
withdrawn after intervention from the agency increased by 8% to 1,835.
For the first time, the ASA also investigated complaints about broadcast adverts in 2004, taking over the function previously performed by Ofcom on November 1.
10 broadcast complaints list was, however, compiled by Ofcom, which received the most broadcast complaints - 1,360 - for the digital television channel Auctionworld .
Complaints about poor customer service, misleading guide prices and
failure to deliver goods led to the channel being fined £450,000 and its licence was withdrawn.
Religious sensitivities were also offended by an advert for Mr Kipling's mince pies which featured a woman named Mary giving birth. Initially she
appeared to be in a hospital, but it later showed her to be in a church hall in a nativity play. Ofcom agreed with 806 complainants that the advert mocked one of the Christian calendar's central events and the advertiser withdrew it.
received 2,841 complaints about taste and decency for non-broadcast advertising, down by nearly a quarter compared with 2003.
Launching the report, the ASA's chairman, Lord Borrie QC, said it had never been easier to complain: " Not only
has the creation of the one-stop shop benefited the consumer by making it easier to contact a single regulator, the ASA's new role also carries extended responsibilities. "
Channel 4 Shameless poster posing the Gallagher family as in Leonardo's Last Supper offended religious sensitivities. Not justified
Schering Health Care Immaculate Contraception ad for the
morning after pill. Upheld
Channel 4 Sorted insert for programme about postal workers, provoked complaints that it portrayed them as dishonest. Not justified
Auctionworld Licence revoked
Mr Kipling's mince pies Complaints it made fun of the nativity. Upheld
I watched US news coverage of this story and the slant was slightly different, They felt that Reebok were right to pull the
advert, not because of the guns of course, but because gangsta rap provides bad role models or whatever.
50 Cent's controversial TV advertisement for sportswear giant Reebok has been pulled in Britain following complaints that it promotes gun culture.
The commercial, which forms part of Reebok's 'I Am What I Am' global
campaign, features the Candy Shop superstar counting from one to nine - which critics claim is a direct reference to the number of times he's been shot.
The British Advertising Standards Authority has received complaints from more than 50 viewers
and felt obliged to take action against the TV ad which is part of a series of Reebok commercials featuring Jay-Z, Andy RoddickK, Allen Iversen and Lucy Liu.
Reebok spokeswoman Denise Kaigler argues the 'I Am What I Am' concept is
intended to be a positive and empowering celebration of this right of freedom and self-expression, individuality and authenticity.
However, Britain's the Disarm Trust anti-gun campaign group has described the
ad as irresponsible and despicable , and Chairman Bill Brown accuses Reebok of preying on young impressionable black males .
Four-year-old children who watch more television than average are more likely to become bullies, research suggests. The University of Washington team found children who went on to bully watched about five hours of TV per day -
almost two hours more than those who did not.
The study of 1,266 four-year-olds also showed mental stimulation, such as outings, being read to and eating with parents reduced the risk of bullying. It was published in Archives of Pediatrics
and Adolescent Medicine.
Parents who don't take a great interest in their children and what they are watching are also those parents who emotionally neglect them or physically assault them. The researchers gauged how much emotional support they
received from their parents, their level of mental stimulation how much television they watched at the age of four.
Factors used to assess the emotional support a child received included if they ate meals with both parents, how much the parents
talked to the child, and if it was spanked. Outings, reading, playing and parental teaching were assessed to evaluate mental stimulation. Parents were also asked how many hours of television their children watched, on average. They then looked at reports
on children from the ages of six to 11 to see which children were described as bullies.
The study suggested both early emotional support and mental stimulation were likely to reduce the chances of becoming a bully. But it said the risk associated
with the amount of TV children watched was "clinically significant".
Children who did not go on to be bullies watched an average of 3.2 hours of TV a day. Those who did go on to bully watched an average of five hours a day.
UK experts cast doubt on the study's findings. Kevin Browne, professor of forensic and family psychology at the University of Birmingham, said: We know that emotionally neglected children are more violent, so emotional neglect
itself will contribute to a child becoming a bully
The BBC board of governors has rejected thousands of complaints made over the showing of Jerry Springer: The Opera . The corporation received around 55,000 complaints prior to the screening of the hit West End show, in January, and
8,000 after it had been broadcast.
But the governors' Programme Complaints committee voted by a 4-1 majority not to uphold the complaints. They said the programme's artistic significance outweighed any offence which might have been caused.
The committee said that the offence caused to sizable numbers of viewers should not be taken lightly. However, they added that attempts were made to minimise offence through appropriate scheduling, clear warnings as to the nature of the show, and
other programmes which put the broadcast in context.
One governor, Angela Sarkis, disagreed with the decision not to uphold the complaints. Sarkis said she agreed on many points raised by the governors, particularly that the programme was well
scheduled and signposted. But she did not agree that the artistic significance outweighed the offence caused by what would have been considered literal portrayal of holy figures by many people.
Stephen Green, National Director of the nutter group
Christian Voice, told BBC News he was "very disappointed" with the governors' decision. It's a complete abrogation of their responsibility in my view, he said. It's just too easy to get offended - what offends me the most is censorship.
Earlier this month another nutter group, the Christian Institute applied for a judicial review of the broadcast. The group said the programme breached the BBC's charter and broke the Human Rights Act by discriminating against Christians.
A spokesman for the Church of England said they were disappointed by the outcome.
This was a programme that gave rise to unprecedented levels of public concern and, as the governors concede, caused significant offence to large numbers of people.
However, the National Secular Society welcomed the decision. The BBC
decided to show Jerry Springer: The Opera not because it wanted to offend people but because it adjudged it to have artistic merit, said vice-president Terry Sanderson.
Congratulations to C4 for showing The Idiots uncut last night.
It is probably the first time that snippets of explicit real sex have been shown on UK broadcast TV. Especially good news as it was in an
entertainment film as opposed to a educational programme.
Interesting interpretation by Payback saying he got the impression that ch4 were implanting an engineered acceptance of r18 ready for the new code. on several occasions
they stated that the 'complainers' had lost the battle to keep explicit sex of the telly.
Good to see John Beyer of Mediawatch-UK wallowing in 'filth'. As noted by Dano: Beyer obviously doesn't check the content of programmes
before he agrees to appear on them, but he should be aware of how much of an idiot he looks moaning about sex, violence and swearing on TV when he's in a show surrounded by clips of so called "filth".
Well, hooray for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This week the watchdog decided that a TV advert that encouraged young people to rampage through city centres committing random acts of violence could not be shown before
the 9pm watershed. In fact the adverts that have so upset the ASA are for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - easily the most violent computer game since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Apparently the ads included general scenes of violence and
the use of guns as well as a threatening atmosphere and as such have attracted a staggering eight complaints.
Eight! The people have spoken!
Of course, it is easy to find fault with the ASA's decision. The idea that in this
war-soaked age children can be shielded from "scenes of violence" on television is ludicrous - heaven forbid any of them should stumble across the lunchtime news. But there's an even greater problem with trying to stop kids seeing violent ads
during the day: it's called the internet.
A casual surf reveals that there is barely a teen community site that has not reviewed GTA: San Andreas , and barely a teen chatroom in which it has not been discussed or promoted by visitors. You
want violent images? Check out the screenshots that accompany the reviews. A threatening atmosphere? Ooh, here are some downloadable trailers from the official GTA site.
The web is laughing in the face of the watershed and what is the ASA doing
about it? Sitting at home fretting about a medium that young people are abandoning in their droves.
Whether we like it or not, the web is a truly global medium and, as such, censorship on a national level is unrealistic. Yes, content that is
illegal can just about be controlled thanks to collaboration between police forces in different countries - but content that is just in poor taste or likely to upset young children? Forget it.
At least official trailers and semi-official review
sites tend to exercise a degree of self-censorship to ensure that they do not contain extremely graphic content. But thanks to the plummeting price of digital video equipment we are seeing a growing trend of horrifically tasteless spoof ads appearing on
Earlier this year two "renegade" (read: desperate) filmmakers called Lee and Dan posted a spoof ad on their website featuring a suicide bomber driving a Volkswagen Polo. The payoff was that the bomb exploded, killing the driver
but failing to make a dent in the car - the tagline: "Polo: Small but tough." Naturally the clip went ultra-viral and was posted on forums and blogs across the web with nothing to stop children seeing it. In fact it was the children themselves
that were responsible for much of the forwarding.
Fast-forward to five years from now. The ASA continues to ban violent pre-watershed TV ads. Children continue to hear about the bans and head straight for Google to track down the offending
adverts - along with all the far more graphic ads that only the internet can provide. Advertisers realise that there is no point in advertising controversial products on TV any more and simply transfer the budget to producing online trailers, which are
promoted on websites rather than broadcast on TV. Television becomes a lovely fluffy world of child-friendly advertising while the internet continues its descent into commercially funded depravity.
This dystopian future is great news for internet
publishers - God knows we'll take advertising dollars from anyone - but it's a truly terrifying prospect for anyone concerned with the welfare of children.
Perhaps it is time for the ASA (and by extension the government) to stop worrying about a
violent TV ad that attracts eight complaints and start worrying about how they can police online advertising. And then perhaps it is time for them to realise that they cannot do anything of the sort. The best they can hope to do is to educate parents
about the type of advertising that can be found on the web and to make them realise that the only sure way to prevent their children from accessing it is to take away their PCs and to encourage them to do something more constructive instead. Watching TV,
perhaps. Or playing Grand Theft Auto.
The Director-General of the BBC accused the nutter groups who opposed the January broadcast of Jerry Springer — The Opera of extremism and said that they were a threat to freedom of speech. Mark Thompson, who spoke at The
Stationer’s Livery Lecture, sponsored by The Times, said that airing Jerry Springer , which depicts a Jesus-character who sings that he “feels a little bit gay”, was “right and important”.
He gave warning that the openness (of the BBC),
along with the wider openness of our whole society, is under threat , as he joined battle with his critics, arguing that the voices of those who would wish to limit (freedom of speech) seem to be getting more strident.
previously a little-known organisation, published a list of home addresses and phone numbers of senior BBC executives, some of whom received threatening phone calls. Small pressure groups can use the internet, e-mails and other modern communications
tools to give a false impression of size and weight, Thompson said, adding that he expected the BBC “to be tested again” in similar rows which the broadcaster would have to resist with “ courtesy and sensitivity” as well as “conviction and
Thompson, who is a practising Christian, conceded that BBC has plenty more to do to reflect religion positively , and said that there was more we could do to connect the broadcaster to the 70 per cent of the population
who describe themselves as Christian.
He contrasted Jerry Springer — The Opera with Popetown , an animated comedy featuring a depiction of the Pope that the BBC canned in the autumn before airing, after spending £2 million
developing it. Thompson said: “ Unlike Springer, Popetown was not an established critical triumph.
X-Rated: The TV They Tried To Ban is tonight (Channel 4, 10pm); Banned In The UK starts tomorrow (Channel 4, 11pm); X-Rated: The Ads They Couldn’t Show screens on March
10 (Channel 4, 10pm); a season of banned films starts tonight with The Evil Dead (Channel 4, 11.35pm) and continues until March 17
Based on an article from the Sunday Herald
Censorship ain’t what it
used to be. At least that’s the message in Channel 4’s Banned Season , a series of programmes beginning tonight with X-Rated: The TV They Tried To Ban and continuing tomorrow with Banned In The UK , a four-part survey of censorship
over the past 20 years. Despite its serious intent, there’s little in the Banned Season that’s treated with anything other than fond nostalgia or downright disbelief. We are shocked to be reminded that once, Gerry Adams’s voice couldn’t be heard
on British television, and Mary Whitehouse’s court case against the National Theatre over Howard Brenton’s 1980 play Romans In Britain now seems farcical.
In tandem with the documentaries, Channel 4 and FilmFour will
screen films which sparked tabloid outrage, including usual suspects The Evil Dead , The Texas Chainsaw Massacre , A Clockwork Orange and The Last Temptation Of Christ. There are also some surprise choices: Michael Powell’s
1960 British classic Peeping Tom , for instance, and Ken Russell’s Crimes Of Passion , in which Kathleen Turner plays an architect who moonlights as a prostitute. Yes it’s bad, but for all the wrong reasons.
In their time many of
these films were the subject of bans or attempted bans; today most are available in DVD stores. The scenes of sex and violence that once had middle England banging the table in moral outrage hardly raise a whimper now. Instead viewers of the Banned
Season will find themselves laughing at how small-minded and prudish we used to be and telling themselves that that sort of thing couldn’t happen today.
But as every screen taboo is broken, another one takes its place. Cast your eye over the
2005 battlefield – Reithian libertarians on the left, conservative viewers’ groups on the right – and you’ll see there isn’t a white flag in sight. Freedom of speech is still being fought over. Worries about censorship are as valid today as when Mrs
Thatcher said we don’t believe in constraining the media, still less in censorship – then unleashed 1984’s draconian Video Recordings Act. “Video nasties” may be a phrase from history but just last month in America a $600 million law suit was
filed against the makers and distributors of the Grand Theft Auto computer game, ahead of the trial of an 18-year-old accused of killing three Alabama police officers.
The battlelines over taste and decency are still drawn, they’ve just
shifted a little. Paedophilia, euthanasia, guns, violence against women, racist language, even smoking – these are all issues which now set alarm bells ringing. But programme makers desperate for ratings are not averse to shocking people if they think
they can get away with it.
The biggest contemporary issue is religion. Consider the recent rumpus over BBC2’s screening of Jerry Springer: The Opera (49,000 complaints, largely organised by pressure group Christian Voice); or Behzti
, the play written by a young Sikh woman which was closed down by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre after violent protest from members of the Sikh community.
According to Ursula Owen, editor-in-chief of free expression publication Index On
Censorship , religion’s “last taboo” status is down to fundamentalist groups who claim that their belief system affords them the right to not be offended. What seems to be happening is that we have a multi-cultural society where people have
different attitudes to comments about religion and we’re all treading on eggshells. Owen draws a distinction between race and belief. You have to be able to offend people for what they believe. You should not offend them for who they are.
John Beyer – director of MediaWatch doesn’t buy any of these arguments. Nor does he agree that we’re no longer bothered by sex and violence on television. People are concerned about bad language, sexual conduct and violence. Many of them feel
frustrated that there’s nothing they can do about whatever anybody wants to transmit on television. They feel nobody is listening to them or taking their concerns into account. Beyer believes it’s his duty to orchestrate campaigns against anything
that falls foul of his moral yardstick.
Syeda Irtizaali is the producer of X-Rated: The TV They Tried To Ban . Beyer and his ilk are the “They” of her programme’s title and she characterises them as complainers … people who are
terrified of the world we live in today and who hanker back to a golden past which doesn’t exist and never did .
But is there anything television really wouldn’t show? I’d hope we wouldn’t see death, murder or execution, says
Irtizaali. And I hope paedophilia never sees a sympathetic airing on television – although Kevin Bacon’s film [The Woodsman] does take a sympathetic look at a paedophile.
And of course we’ve seen torture now too. Last week, Channel 4’s Guantanamo Way
replicated conditions at the infamous detention camp using volunteers: one lasted only eight hours before doctors pulled him out. A serious attempt to make a political point … or another example of television pushing boundaries in a quest for
ratings? Irtizaali said: The moment you say ‘censorship’ my hackles rise. The idea that I’m not allowed to watch something makes me really angry. However, I think there has to be a moral line somewhere.
But where that line goes – and, more
importantly, who gets to draw it – is a question it seems impossible to answer
The BBC has received around 200 complaints after a documentary about pornography was shown at 9.15am. Britain's Streets of Vice , presented by Sally
Magnusson, featured interviews with several people who make a living from the UK's porn industry.
Media regulator Ofcom said it was looking into the matter after receiving 34 complaints.
I firmly believe it is in the public interest to
address these issues, said BBC daytime controller Alison Sharman. This is the first time there has been such a powerful and challenging documentary series shown on daytime television Challenging the perceptions of daytime television has
been one of my most important focuses since taking on the role of controller of BBC Daytime in January 2002. The films have been carefully edited and transmitted to ensure they are appropriate to be transmitted during the day."
Beyer, director of the nutter group Mediwatch-UK, said they had also received a number of complaints. People are very angry that they and their children were confronted with pornography on BBC One at 9.15 in the morning .
A spokeswoman for
the BBC said, This sensitive subject was approached in a suitable way for an adult audience. The drugs and sex industries are a legitimate area of public concern and are topics which have frequently been covered in daytime talk shows. We have worked
closely with the relevant agencies and in conjunction with experts in the field, as well as with the full co-operation of BBC Compliance and Editorial Policy departments."
The spokeswoman added that the programme had been deliberately
scheduled during term time and the nature of the content had been clearly stated beforehand. The four-part series also featured programmes on prostitution and heroin addiction
A "reality" TV show by Channel 4 where seven volunteers are subjected to Guantanamo Bay-type torture has been condemned as "grossly distasteful" and "offensive".
The programme, Guantanamo Guidebook,
was filmed in an east London warehouse and shows the men being assaulted, stripped naked, verbally abused, sexually humiliated and exposed to sensory deprivation by a team of former US military interrogators.
Several of the men, who include a
martial arts champion, "Britain's fittest fireman" and a tri-athlete, became ill during the 48 hours of ill-treatment - called "torture-lite" by the US authorities. One man fell ill with hypothermia, another wet himself, and others
suffered cramps, hallucinations and vomiting.
Channel 4 is screening the show late tomorrow night as part of a series investigating the Pentagon's illegal use of torture in the "war on terror", but has been accused of glamorising the
abuses suffered by torture victims.
Dr Nimisha Patel, chief psychologist for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, which treats torture survivors, claimed the programme risked being seen by some viewers as "sadistic
voyeurism". He said: Torture is torture, and as such is always inhumane and unjustifiable. The packaging of it as entertainment by Channel 4 is not only grossly distasteful but potentially offensive to many, including survivors of torture and
their families. Where should we draw the line? What would we say if there was a similar recreation of experiences in a Nazi concentration camp?"
Frank Ledwidge, the senior human rights lawyer for the Organisation for Security and
Co-operation in Europe, the official Vienna-based arms control and security agency, said: There is no such thing as 'torture-lite' any more than there is 'rape-lite'.
Their criticisms follow complaints earlier this month from the
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims in Denmark, which called on Channel 4 to drop the programme because it had broken the "absolute prohibition" against torture.
But Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4's head of news and
current affairs, insisted all volunteers had been screened by doctors and psychologists and carefully chosen from 150 potential participants. They were briefed on what to expect and filming was overseen by a doctor. She said Channel 4 was determined to
educate viewers on the use of illegal torture by the US and British complicity in that torture.
A TV advert in which the comedian Harry Enfield ridicules Winston Churchill, calling him a “porky prime minister”, has been banned by the Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Centre (BACC) .
The 30-second film accusing Churchill of
downloading “saucy pics” of General Montgomery, the second world war commander, from the internet has been deemed extremely offensive to the public and the surviving family of the wartime leader.
In the advert Enfield reprises his role as
loud-mouthed Frank Doberman, made famous in his series Harry Enfield and Friends, and reproaches Churchill for using an old internet dial-up service.
Approaching Churchill, played by a lookalike, he yells: Oi, Churchill. Well done for winning
world war two. Nice one. But if you was downloading saucy pics of Monty up at El Alamein using a dial-up connection, I should say, ‘Oi, Churchill, no!’ You should be Madasafish, you porky prime minister! But the BACC has banned the advert, which is
one of a series of three in which Doberman gives his pearls of wisdom to leading historical figures.
The other adverts featuring the explorer Captain Cook and the scientist Albert Einstein have been allowed.
David Laurie, chief executive
of Madasafish, defended the advert, saying he was astounded it was not suitable for transmission.
Enfield said the ban was “nanny-state rubbish”. The premise of the advert is so ridiculous I really do not see how it can be offensive.”
A second advert, informing people of the ban and directing them to see the original on the company’s website, has also been outlawed.
A release on the site says: Frank quietly explains to Winston that he ought to
consider switching from his dial-up connection to Madasafish broadband. How can that cause offence?