ATVOD was the Internet TV censor for Video on Demand until 1st January 2016. Now its duties have been taken over
British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)
Film Censor with the remit:
online film (a voluntary scheme)
computer games, role ended in Autumn 2011 apart from continued remit for R18 games
internet website and mobile content classification
were appointed as internet porn censors in 2018. Their role is to identify porn websites, check that they employ strict age verification, and arrange for the blocking or fining of non-compliant websites. The BBFC will also censor websites with 'extreme
porn' as defined in the Dangerous Pictures Act.
The BBFC is an independent company tasked with UK film, video and games censorship. It is funded through classification fees.
For cinema the BBFC historically represented the interests of the film industry to ensure that film makers avoided legal
issues from obscenity law etc. BBFC cinema ratings are advisory and the ultimate censorship responsibility lies with local authorities. In the vast majority of cases BBFC advice is accepted by councils. But advice has often been overruled to ban BBFC
certificated films or to allow BBFC banned films.
For home video, DVD, Blu-ray and some video games, the BBFC acts as a government designated censor. BBFC decisions are enforced by law via the Video Recordings Act of 2010.
For online films the BBFC
offers a voluntary scheme of reusing BBFC vide certificates for online works. The BBFC will also rate online exclusive material if requested. Note that the Video Recordings Act does not apply online and content is only governed by the law of the
land, particularly the Obscene Publications Act and Dangerous Pictures Act.
The BBFC is due to relinquish responsibility for video games in July 2012. The Video Standards Council will take over the role and ratings will be provided using Europe wide
PEGI ratings and symbols.
Not that rejected home media is banned from sale. It is not generally illegal to possess. However criminal law makes it illegal to possess child & extreme porn.
The BBC has had a history of self regulation but now Ofcom has also been appointed to some aspects of TV censorship applied to
the BBC. A memorandum of understanding between the 2 parties states:
Both the BBC and Ofcom have duties to consider standards complaints. The Trust is required to establish and maintain procedures for the handling and resolution
of complaints about standards in the content of the BBC's services, including complaints regarding BBC editorial guidelines designed to secure appropriate standards, accuracy and impartiality, Ofcom's Fairness Code and the relevant programme standards as
set out above. Ofcom is also required to consider and adjudicate on fairness complaints and to establish procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints about the observance by the BBC of standards referred to above.
The BBC Trust was the governing body of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from 2007 to 2017. It was operationally independent of BBC management and
external bodies, and aims to act in the best interests of licence fee payers.
Much of the regulatory activity has niw been returned to the BBC itself whilst Ofcom has taken on some of the responsibility for the censorship and control of the BBC.
Cinema Advertising Association
The Cinema Advertising Association took over responsibility for pre-vetting cinema adverts in April 2016. The BBFC retains responsibility for trailers and public information films.
primary function of the CAA is to promote, monitor and maintain standards of cinema advertising. This includes pre-vetting all cinema commercials to ensure conformity with relevant advertising codes.
The CAA Copy Panel clears commercials for
exhibition in cinemas in the UK and Republic of Ireland. No commercial may be exhibited in a cinema unless it has been cleared. For exhibition in the UK, cinema commercials must comply with the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct
Marketing (the CAP Code). There will be a charge of £100 + vat per item for this service
Cinema Advertising Association Corinthian House 279 Tottenham Court Road London W1T 7RJ
The Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) was set up in 2010 by ACPO (and run by the Metropolitan Police) to remove unlawful terrorist material content from the Internet,
with a specific focus on UK based material.
CTIRU works with internet platforms to identify content which breaches their terms of service and requests that they remove the content.
CTIRU also compiles a list of URLs for material hosted
outside the UK which are blocked on networks of the public estate.
As of December 2017, CTIRU is linked to the removal of 300,000 pieces of illegal terrorist material from the internet
Impress is a UK press regulator following the template suggested by the Leveson report on press regulation in the UK. It was launched in 2016 but has not achieved widespread
support from the major newspapers who have elected for regulation by the rival organisation, IPSO.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is the independent regulator for the newspaper and magazine industry in the UK. It holds newspapers
and magazines to account for their actions, protect individual rights, uphold high standards of journalism and help to maintain freedom of expression for the press.
It was born in 2014 in the wake of the previous organisation, PCC failing to get a
handle on the press phone hacking scandal, Lord Leveson was commissioned to lead a wide ranging inquiry into press and media regulation.
The result was that PCC gave way to IPSO which is an organisation supported by most of the British newspapers.
A second rival organisation, Impress, was also created with a set up more like that preferred by the Government, however it enjoys less support from the major players of the UK press.
Ipso describes its work as follows:
We make sure that member newspapers and magazines follow the Editors' Code.
We investigate complaints about printed and online material that may breach the Editors' Code.
We can make newspapers and magazines publish corrections or adjudications if they breach the Editors' Code (including on their front page).
We monitor press standards and require member
newspapers and magazines to submit an annual statement about how they follow the Editors' Code and handle any complaints.
We can investigate serious standards failings and can fine publishers up to £1 million in
cases where they are particularly serious and systemic.
We operate a 24-hour anti-harassment advice line.
We provide advice for editors and journalists.
We provide training and guidance for journalists so they can uphold the highest possible standards.
We provide a Whistleblowing Hotline for journalists who feel they are being pressured to act
in a way that is not in line with the Editors' Code.
We work with charities, NGOs and other organisations to support and improve press standards.
The ITV Network is made up of 15 regional licences. 11 of the licences in England and Wales are owned by ITV Plc, formed in 2004 following the merger of Carlton and
Granada. SMG owns the two Scottish licences, Scottish Television and Grampian; UTV and Channel Television own the licences for Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands respectively.
The Information Commissioner's Office is a non-departmental public body which reports directly to Parliament and is sponsored by the Ministry of Justice.
It is the
independent regulatory office dealing with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 across the UK; and the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations
2004 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and, to a limited extent, in Scotland.
The office is deeply involved in internet censorship particularly via age verification requirements
A censor with multiple roles. Roles of Interest to Melon Farmers are:
TV censors for nearly all radio/TV/cable/satellite except for the BBC
Internet censors for Video on Demand. This task has was delegated to ATVOD with Ofcom retaining the ultimate authority. Ofcom were sacked at the end of 2015. Now the
BBFC is taking over the censorship of adult porn so any conflict of interests will need sorting.
Internet censors for copyright/file sharing issues
Advert Censors for the limited role of TV channels which exist mainly to advertise
premium rate telephone services (such as babe channels)
ParentPort was a website run jointly by the UK's media censors. It was a central reporting point for parents to complain about anything they see on the media. Complaints to
ParentPort were then be forwarded to the appropriate censor.
Vanished by 2019 and replaced by a placeholder on the Ofcom website.
The Phone-paid Services Authority is the UK regulator for content, goods and services charged to a phone bill.
Phone-paid services are
the goods and services that you can buy by charging the cost to your phone bill or pre-pay account. They include directory enquiries, voting on TV talent shows, donating to charity by text or downloading apps on your mobile phone. They are referred to as
premium rate services in law.
The organisation wasp previously known as PhonepayPlus, and before that, ICSTIS.
Tel: 0300 30 300 20 General enquiries (standard rate)
The Registered Digital Institute (RDI) have coordinated the Friendly WiFi kitemark scheme for the censorship of public WiFi.
The RDI is a trade group which promotes digital
installation and digital service providers directly to the consumer. The institutes explains its role in setting up a standard for internet website blocking for public WiFi:
During his 2013 NSPCC speech on online
safety, David Cameron announced that an agreement was in place with the UK's main Wi-Fi providers to commit to applying a level of filtering across all of their standard public Wi-Fi services, which are easily accessed by children and young people. Mr
Cameron also highlighted the need to develop an industry-recognised and trusted symbol, which businesses could display to show customers that their public Wi-Fi is properly filtered. Discussions around the development of such a scheme and symbol began 12
months ago, when the RDI were asked to work in collaboration with The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), the Government and the UK's main Wi-Fi Providers, to design, develop and launch the UK-wide Friendly WiFi scheme that we see
The Video Standards Council become the UK video game censors starting up in summer 2012. They oversee the application of pan-European PEGI ratings, but can override these with a UK ban if it is felt necessary. I haven't spotted this happening so far
The VSC has introduced a couple of names to reflect this role. The organisation first renamed it self Games Rating Authority but has now settled on VSC Rating Board.