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Shared burdens...

Ofcom publishes its censorship guidelines to be applied to UK based video sharing platforms


Link Here21st October 2020
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media
Ofcom has published its burdensome censorship rules that will apply to video sharing platforms that are stupid enough to be based in the UK. In particular the rules are quite vague about age verification requirements for the two adult video sharing sites that remain in the UK. Maybe Ofcom is a bit shy about requiring onerous and unviable red tape of British companies trying to compete with large numbers of foreign companies that operate with a massive commercial advantage of not having age verification.

Ofcom do however note that these censorship rules are a stop gap until a wider scoped 'online harms' censorship regime which will start up in the next couple of years.

Ofcom writes:

Video-sharing platforms (VSPs) are a type of online video service which allows users to upload and share videos with members of the public.

From 1 November 2020, UK-established VSPs will be required to comply with new rules around protecting users from harmful content.

The main purpose of the new regulatory regime is to protect consumers who engage with VSPs from the risk of viewing harmful content. Providers must have appropriate measures in place to protect minors from content which might impair their physical, mental or moral development; and to protect the general public from criminal content and material likely to incite violence or hatred.

Ofcom has published a short guide outlining the new statutory requirements on providers. The guide is intended to assist platforms to determine whether they fall in scope of the new regime and to understand what providers need to do to ensure their services are compliant.

The guide also explains how Ofcom expects to approach its new duties in the period leading up to the publication of further guidance on the risk of harms and appropriate measures, which we will consult on in early 2021.

Ofcom will also be consulting on guidance on scope and jurisdiction later in 2020. VSP providers will be required to notify their services to Ofcom from 6 April 2021 and we expect to have the final guidance in place ahead of this time.

 

 

Retribution...

Another religious broadcaster fined for inciting violence


Link Here21st September 2020
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Ofcom explained its fine for Panjab Radio:

Panjab Radio is a faith and cultural radio station for the UK Asian community, broadcasting in Punjabi.

On 24 August 2018 at 22:00 Panjab Radio broadcast the Shamsher Singh Rai Programme, an occasional show on the station, with around four editions per month. The programme focused on Punjabi poetry and featured live calls from listeners expressing their feelings through poetry.

During this programme, the presenter advocated, justified and supported violent retributive action against those he considered to have shown disrespect towards Sikh places of worship. He did this without challenge or other sufficient contextual justification.

In accordance with Ofcom's Procedures for the consideration of statutory sanctions in breaches of broadcast licences, Ofcom considered whether the Code breaches were serious, deliberate, repeated or reckless so as to warrant the imposition of a sanction on Panjab Radio.

Having considered the representations made to us, Ofcom has decided to impose a financial penalty of 30,000 and to direct the Licensee to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

Updated: Britain's got no talent for speaking openly about sensitive issues...

24,500 people complain to Ofcom about a Black Lives Matter dance performance on Britain's Got Talent


Link Here 17th September 2020
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing
Britain's Got Talent has been the subject of 10,267 viewer complaints from furious viewers over an act on the show. This is the second highest tally of complaints in the last ten years.

Ashley Banjo led the Diversity dance troupe in a Black Lives Matter routine. The performance, which saw Jordan's brother Ashley lying on the floor with a white police officer kneeling on him , referenced the death of George Floyd in the US. There were also backing dancers performing dressed in riot gear and the group took the knee during the performance.

Ashley reported that he had received a barrage of abuse over the performance. He tweeted:

So much to say... But I'll Just let the performance talk. Thousands of messages of Love and support - Thank you. For the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance - Thank you. You highlight exactly what needs to change. Sending nothing but love to you all. 

The Sun seemed a little reluctant to describe what the complaints were about but summarised that they were insisting that a political statement had no place on the talent show.

Update: More complaints

16th September 2020. See article from news.sky.com

TV censor Ofcom has confirmed the number of complaints for Britain's Got Talent have continue to rise over the weekend and now stand at 23,308.

 An ITV spokesman responded to the complaints:

Britain's Got Talent has always been an inclusive show, which showcases diversity and supports strong storytelling in all forms and ITV stands behind the decision to broadcast Diversity's performance on BGT.

Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020.

Update: Ofcom dismisses the complaints

17th September 2020. See report [pdf] from ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom received approximately 24,500 complaints about this performance on Britain's Got Talent.

We also received a number of messages of support and praise for the performance. In summary, the complaints about the performance raised a range of concerns, including that it:

  • was unsuitable for a family audience due to themes of violence and racism;
  • encouraged societal division and was racist towards White people;
  • negatively portrayed White police officers, including in a depiction of the death of George Floyd, and encouraged violence against the police; and,
  • expressed support for the political organisation Black Lives Matter.
Ofcom has assessed this programme against the relevant rules in the Broadcasting Code. Our assessment is that this programme did not raise any issues which warranted investigation. In our view, Diversity's performance was an artistic expression of topical social issues and did not contain any content which was racist, unsuitably violent or otherwise inappropriate in the context of this programme.

Given the significant publicity surrounding this case and the high volume of complaints received, we have decided to publish our reasons for this assessment.

 

 

Sharing censorship...

Ofcom is consulting on updated EU censorship arrangements for video sharing platforms that are stupid enough to be based in the UK


Link Here6th September 2020
Full story: ATVOD Censorship on Demand...ATVOD appointed as internet TV censors
Ofcom commissioned research has identified (but not named) 2 adult video sharing sharing platforms that are based in the UK. It will be interesting to see how age verification requirements will effect these UK services trying to compete with the rest of world with no such requirements (for the moment).

Ofcom writes:

We are seeking evidence and information related to the new requirements that will apply to video-sharing platforms.

Video-sharing platforms (VSPs) are a type of online video service where users can upload and share videos. VSPs allow users to engage with a wide range of content and social features and are particularly popular among young people. 90% of adults and 98% of children aged 8-15 who use the internet have used a VSP in the past year.

Ofcom will be given new powers this autumn to regulate UK-established VSPs. This will include a duty to ensure that VSPs have in place appropriate measures to protect young people from potentially harmful content and all users from illegal content and incitement to hatred and violence. Services will also need to ensure standards around advertising are met.

This call for evidence sets out the background and legislative context to forthcoming VSP regulation in the UK and an overview of the VSP regulatory framework. It also sets out Ofcom's approach to VSP regulation based around some core principles: protection and assurance; freedom of expression; adaptability; transparency; enforcement; independence; and proportionality.


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