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Ofcom Watch

2008: Jan-March

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26th March   

Naked Censorship News...

TV censors cover up the Naked News on Playboy One
Link Here

Playboy One have just started blurring the pubes of the girls from Naked News.

Naked News is shown at 10pm and Playboy have been digitally blurring the pubes of some presenters (not all). It is a mystery as to which hairstyles offend the TV censors, Ofcom.

Playboy is shown free to air (or at least open to general entertainment subscribers) on UK satellite (and presumably cable). Ofcom have recently issued 3 statements restricting what can be shown on open TV.

First the censors whinged about the Babe Channels, then they banned erotic thrillers and softcore erotica from general film channels. And most lately, they have been whinging about the free view advertising segments on the adult subscription channels.

Ofcom's basic policy is that any material created with the intention of sexual arousal, however mild, is banned from open TV. And for those that pay subscriptions for PIN protected adult specialist channels, then all you get for your money is lame softcore.


17th March   

Comment: Thirsty Work...

Ofcom bottled water
Link Here

Must be thirsty work at Ofcom, censoring the airwaves at the behest of god-botherers and PC puritans.

Fortunately, they have their own bottled water...


12th March   

Strong Language Veiled...

Ofcom whinge at film, Yasmin
Link Here

Yasmin , DM Digital, 15 October 2007, 19:30

Yasmin is a film about the experiences of a young Muslim woman living in the Yorkshire town of Keighley, following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. It has a 15 certificate from the BBFC.

A viewer complained about the strong language used in the programme.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.14 (the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed)
  • Rule 1.16 (prewatershed use of offensive language to be justified by context; frequent use to be avoided).

The broadcaster stated that it had tried as far as possible to remove any unsuitable language. It also stated that the language used in the film was not frequent and was justified by the dramatic context.

Ofcom Decision

The film contained a number of swear words, including “fuck/fucking” as well as other sexual references. A number of other instances had been masked in part by lowering the volume of the audio.

Ofcom’s research has demonstrated that the words ‘fuck’ and ‘fucking’ are regarded as the most offensive language. By broadcasting this language in this film prior to the watershed, DM Digital was in breach of Rule 1.14 of the Code.

Although isolated use of less offensive language may be justified by context, frequent use is prohibited pre-watershed by Rule 1.16. Ofcom noted that the language complained of, together with other offensive language had occurred at regular intervals across the programme. It therefore judged that a breach of Rule 1.16 had occurred.

Breach of Rule 1.14 and 1.16


26th February   

Update: Turning Very Ugly at the Vic...

Ofcom whinge at EastEnders
Link Here
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Ofcom has criticised an episode of EastEnders in which a pregnant woman went into premature labour after a gang attacked the Queen Vic pub.

The media regulator said the BBC1 soap breached broadcasting regulations with a sustained, intense and high level of violence that was inappropriate for a pre-watershed programme.

Ofcom, which received 78 complaints about the episode, rejected the BBC's defence that viewers had been warned about the scene by an on-air announcement immediately before the show.

At the start of the episode the channel's continuity announcer told viewers: And first a powerful EastEnders as a peaceful night is shattered. Things are about to turn very ugly at the Vic.

The BBC said the high level of complaints was down to viewers' fears that Honey had lost her baby, rather than the violent scenes themselves.

But Ofcom said that only 13 out of the 78 complaints about the episode had referred to Honey's baby.

Although EastEnders is not made specifically for children it does attract a significant child audience, and any portrayal of violence needs to be carefully considered, the regulator added.

The programme started with the gang attack on the Queen Vic. This involved a sustained, intense and high level of violence, destroying parts of the pub with hammers and bottles and glasses smashing into the furniture, to intimidate the locals, some of whom were injured.

Regular viewers of EastEnders are aware that this soap deals, on occasions, with tough social issues. This is balanced, however, with the expectation that it will be suitable for children to view, who form a significant minority of the audience.


26th February   

No Free Sex...

Ofcom make it clear that all free-to-air sex is banned
Link Here

Ofcom issued the following 'no sex warning' about 'free views' for encrypted channels

In Broadcast Bulletin 95 (published 22 October 2007 ), Ofcom highlighted its concerns about compliance by channels that transmit in the ‘adult' section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (‘EPG'). In that Bulletin, which made specific reference in findings to ‘babe-style' channels, Ofcom also noted its serious concerns about some free-to-air content on encrypted channels. The following findings are the result of investigations into this area. In addition to the cases detailed below, Ofcom has a number of other on-going investigations. These concern both encrypted and unencrypted channels in the ‘adult' section of the EPG. Some may result in consideration of further regulatory action.

All providers of encrypted channels which also offer free-to-air content should study the findings below carefully. Ofcom strongly reminds all such channels that the broadcast of sexually explicit material within free-to-air content is not normally acceptable and that any breach of a similar nature by an encrypted channel in future is likely to result in consideration of further regulatory action. Providers of ‘babe-style' channels should also take careful note of these findings for the guidance they provide on compliance with Rules 1.2, 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

Red Hot Amateur , 26 July 2007, 22:00

The Red Hot and Fantasy channels are shown in the ‘adult' section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide (‘EPG') and broadcast encrypted sexual material after 22:00 . The channels also broadcast 10 minute free-to-air promotions each hour between 22:00 and 00:00 - between encrypted material - which promote content on the station encouraging viewers who are not subscribers to sign up for the service.

A complaint stated that this channel showed full nudity and an erect penis within its free-to-view promotion. The complainant also said one of the female presenters encouraged viewers to watch the dirtiest hardcore fucking ever shown on TV.

Ofcom noted that the material included various sequences involving sexual activity, including a promotion called Rim Junkies , which showed men and women having their buttocks spread apart before their partners' heads approached them from behind, as if about to lick their anuses. There was also an extremely brief image (of a half second or less) of a woman masturbating a man with an erect penis. The language included terms such as You'll get nothing but hard fucking all night and We've got women of all shapes and sizes getting properly fucked.

Fantasy 1, 26 July 2007 , 21:30

A complainant said the channel showed full nudity and simulated sex, with viewers being told women would be seen getting “fucked”.

Ofcom noted that the material included various sequences involving sexual activity, including one promotion called Man Bitch , which appeared to showcase aggressive sexual behaviour. It contained shots of men being stripped and ordered to perform sexual tasks, including being approached from behind by a woman with a strap-on dildo and, separately, a man being ordered: Come lick me out, you bitch. The language also included a woman in a promotion saying Fantasy. I'm dripping with excitement and I'm Suzy, and you can see me getting fucked good and hard on Fantasy.

In both the above cases, Ofcom asked the owner of the channels, Portland Media Group to comment on how the content complied with the following Code rules:

* Rule 1.2 (protection of under eighteens);
* Rule 2.1 (generally accepted standards); and
* Rule 2.3 (offensive material to be justified by content).

Portland said, in general, the content complained about was no stronger than material that had been broadcast on the channels for “over a decade”, without attracting regulatory interest. It believed all of the material was appropriately scheduled bearing in mind protection of under eighteens and that the content was within generally accepted standards for free-to-air content broadcast in the ‘adult' section of the Sky EPG. Portland added that it considered the material was justified by the context in which it was broadcast.

Portland accepted that showing a brief image of a woman masturbating a man with an erect penis would not generally be acceptable for broadcast. It said this was an isolated incident and the result of human error, as the image was so fleeting (approximately a third or half a second in duration) that the editor and compliance officer missed the material. Portland apologised for this error.

The broadcaster defended the material within the Rim Junkies segment. It commented that the sequence was edited together to give an impression of a theme of programming common in the adult genre. It said the sequence was fast paced and did not actually feature any contact between any actor or actresses' face and buttocks/anuses. It added the content did not show any “‘spread leg' shots or visible genitalia or anuses.

With regard to the Man Bitch sequence, Portland said it was mindful that overly aggressive sexual behaviour is potentially highly inappropriate. However it considered the sequence did not contain any of the kind of sexual violence that would cause viewers harm or offence. Portland said there was no suggestion any of the performers were engaged – or even appeared to be engaged – in non-consensual activities. It said the promotion was for an encrypted fetish programme, where there is dominant/submissive role-play which would be in line with audience expectations on any adult channel, but that this was fantasy-based material which did not depict or encourage sexual violence towards non-consenting people.

Ofcom Decision

It is a requirement of the Code that content which is considered to be ‘adult-sex' material must be pin protected and encrypted (Rule 1.24). In both these cases, Ofcom did not consider the content complained of to be ‘adult- sex' material. This decision was reached taking all the relevant circumstances into account, including the sexual explicitness and nature of the images (including such factors as their length and editing) and language, the purpose of broadcasting this material and the overall context in which it was broadcast.

Red Hot Amateur, 26 July 2007 , 22:00

The offensive language was not particularly prominent and, although it was scripted and pre-recorded material that was presented by topless females, it appeared unlikely that it would have exceeded viewers' expectations of a channel found within the ‘adult' section of the EPG.

However, Ofcom was concerned about the content of the Rim Junkies promotion. It repeatedly showed the same situation, involving different couples: either a man or a woman had their trousers or skirt removed by their partner, who then approached the participant from behind to spread their bottom and put his/her face between their open buttocks. While there was no explicit nudity or actual contact between the actors' faces and the anuses of the other participants, the whole segment had a graphic sexual element to it.

Ofcom concluded that it went beyond generally accepted standards of what is acceptable to broadcast free-to-air, even in a channel within the ‘adult' section of the EPG and shown over an hour after the watershed.

With regard to the brief image of masturbation (erect penis), we acknowledge both the apology made by Portland and that such a brief sequence could have been missed by a compliance officer. However, the use of material potentially suitable for broadcast only under encryption in promotional trails shown free-to-air requires particular care, precisely to avoid the inclusion of inappropriate material, however brief. We therefore found this sequence, although extremely limited, had not complied with generally accepted standards.

In summary, both the Rim Junkies promotion and the promotion containing the image of male masturbation breached Rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

Fantasy 1, 26 July 2007 , 21:30

The ‘background' material in the information provision sections showed images of each woman licking and touching the body of the other and sucking and licking dildos. These ‘background' images in the promotions, in that they focused on the women's bodies and each woman fondling the other, were very sexually suggestive and were in Ofcom's view inappropriate to be broadcast at 21:30 (so soon after the 21:00 watershed). Additionally, the strong language used in this self-promotion segment contained a very strong sexual element which was inappropriate for broadcast at 21:30 . The licensee also failed to protect adequately under-eighteens from potentially harmful and offensive sexually explicit imagery and offensive language and was in breach of Rule 1.2.

We take into account Portland 's view that the Man Bitch sequence showed dominant and submissive sexual behaviour rather than aggressive sexual behaviour or allusions to sexual violence. However, the sequence contained the overt use of fetish accessories. Images also included a man and, separately, a woman, approaching their partners from behind to spread the cheeks of their buttocks and put his/her face between them. The entire Man Bitch sequence was unacceptable for broadcast on a free-to-view channel, even one located in the ‘adult' section of the EPG. Considering the time the material was broadcast, the Fantasy channel also failed to protect adequately under-eighteens from potentially harmful or offensive material.

This sequence therefore breached Rules 1.2, 2.1 and 2.3.

18 Plus Movies promotion
British Sky Broadcasting, 29 August 2007, 22:00

18 Plus Movies is a pay-per-view encrypted film service operated by British Sky Broadcasting which shows adult material of a sexual nature, and is broadcast within the ‘adult' sector of the Sky electronic programme guide (“EPG”). Before these films are broadcast late at night, a trail of different film clips is broadcast without encryption. Ofcom received a complaint that the content of the free-to-view trail broadcast on 29 August 2007 showed explicit sexual scenes.

Sky said that material was carefully edited to ensure it met with Rule 2.3 and that it believed the content was in line with viewer expectations on the promotional and other free-to-view material available on other services in the ‘adult' sector of the EPG. In addition, it felt the name of the channel and the clear warning given immediately before the complained of material would have alerted viewers to the nature of the material to be shown and minimised any potential offence.

However, in light of the complaint, and Ofcom's general concerns regarding free-to-view material in the ‘adult' sector of the EPG (communicated to Sky shortly after it had been informed of the complaint), Sky removed the promotion featuring these trailers from the service and it has not since been broadcast. In addition, in response to Ofcom's general concerns, Sky said it is conducting a review of the content of its free-to-view promotions on the channel.

Ofcom Decision

In this case Ofcom did not consider the content complained of to be ‘adult- sex' material as referred to in the Code. This decision was reached taking all the relevant circumstances into account, including the sexual explicitness and nature of the images (including such factors as their length and editing) and language, the purpose of broadcasting this material and the overall context in which it was broadcast.

Ofcom notes the promotion was preceded by information which alerted viewers to its sexual content and that it was broadcast late in the evening on a channel within the ‘adult' sector of the EPG and it took these factors into account.

However, while the trailer lasted only one minute forty seconds, it was shown on a loop between repeated listings information and the warning. Therefore the chance that viewers could come across the material unawares was increased.

The material itself consisted of a montage of brief sequences where naked and semi-naked actors engaged in representations of various sexual activities, including oral sex and intercourse. This was interspersed with voiceover promoting the channel and its content.

Ofcom accepts that a promotion for encrypted material within the ‘adult' sector of the EPG will contain a certain amount of sexual activity. Nevertheless, even though the individual shots lasted no more than a few seconds, the trailer included a number of portrayals of sexual intercourse which largely focused on the actors' bodies and shots of other sexual activity. Although not very explicit, the frequency and nature of the images went beyond what was acceptable free-to-air.

Breach of 2.1 and 2.3


18th February   

Small Minds Protect Small Minds...

Bitches smacked, Chop Shop shopped and Smallville stabbed in the back
Link Here

Top Minx, video for Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy

Chart Show TV, 30 December 2007, 13:45

Chart Show TV is a pop music video channel. Two viewers complained about the inappropriate scheduling of this music video, which showed scenes of alcohol abuse, nudity and a simulated sex scene.

Chart Show TV stated that the pre watershed scheduling of the video has simply been an error.

Ofcom concluded that the content of this music video - with scenes of alcohol abuse, nudity and simulated sexual activity - was clearly unsuitable to be broadcast at lunchtime on a pop music video channel when it is likely that a number of children could be watching.

Ofcom welcomes the broadcaster's apology and its assurances of improved compliance. Chart Show TV has, to date, a good compliance record, but in view of the explicit nature of some of the scenes, we consider it appropriate to record a breach of the Code.

Chop Shop: London Garage

Discovery Channel, 18 November 2007, 16:00

Chop Shop: London Garage was a series which followed two individuals as they designed and manufactured cars. Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer concerning the broadcast of the word “fuck” during the episode broadcast on 18 November 2007.

Discovery Channel said that it apologised to the viewer for any distress caused. The problem arose because the producer had not identified all incidents of swearing in the initial viewing and had not reviewed the programme after edits had been made, to bleep out the remaining very strong language.

Ofcom concluded that the language broadcast in this episode of Chop Shop: London Garage was the most offensive and should not have been broadcast before the watershed.

Ofcom also notes that UK's Toughest Jobs, broadcast on Discovery+1 was recently found in breach of the watershed Rule 1.14. Ofcom is therefore concerned about this second similar failure to ensure compliance with the Code. Breach of Rule 1.14.


TV3 Sweden, 4 November 2007, 16:15

Smallville is a well-established US series about the exploits of the superhero Superman. In this episode, the villain Lex Luthor is creating an army of ‘super demons'. These demons try to possess human beings. Together with Clark Kent, Lois Lane investigates where these creatures are being bred. A viewer was concerned about scenes in which the demons appeared to take organs from human beings and Lois Lane is stabbed in her efforts to find these creatures. He felt that these scenes were not suitable at this time of the afternoon when many children would be watching television. TV3 Sweden is a Swedish language channel.

The broadcaster Viasat explained that TV3 does not aim its Sunday afternoon programming towards children. The broadcaster believed that the scenes showing the removal of body parts were acceptable within the context of programme and the general fantasy genre of this series. The series is well-established and, in its view, the broadcaster did not believe the scenes were excessively graphic.

TV3 apologised for any distress that may have been caused and this episode now carries a post-21:00 restriction.

Ofcom acknowledged TV3's apology and noted the action taken to restrict this episode to post-21:00 broadcast. Smallville is a fantasy series with the main characters possessing supernatural powers. Against this background, most viewers would not be surprised or disturbed at the more bizarre elements of the violent scenes. However, this series does appeal to some children, even though the majority of viewers are young adults. Therefore, broadcasters need to take care in scheduling this series at a time when children are available to view in large numbers as some scenes may be unsuitable.


17th February   

Dogged Whining...

Ofcom ban Amores Perres from a 9pm slot
Link Here

Amores Perros
TCM, 23 October 2007, 21:00

The film channel TCM is available as part of the general entertainment packages on both satellite and cable.

The film Amores Perros was classified as an 18-rated film by the BBFC in 2001 as it contained strong violence, sex and coarse language .

A viewer was concerned about dog fighting scenes at the beginning of the film and believed that dogs must have been harmed in the making of the film. On viewing the film, Ofcom noted that it opened with a highly-charged car chase involving guns and a badly injured dog bleeding profusely on the back seat of one of the cars. At the end of this car chase, a badly injured woman is seen trapped in her car. The next scene shows an illegal dog-fight gathering, with shots of injured dogs; a brutal dog fight then follows.

Seriously offensive language is used from the start of the film. There was no visual or audio warning before the film started about its content.

Ofcom asked Turner Broadcasting for its comments in relation to the following Rules of the Code:

  • Rule 1.6: The transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed .... For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.
  • Rule 1.21: BBFC 18-rated films or their equivalent must not be broadcast before 2100 … and even then they may be unsuitable for broadcast at that time.
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context. Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence….. Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom accepted that TCM attracts a mainly adult audience. However, this is not a premium subscription film service and is available to many multi-channel homes which purchase a general entertainment package. 18-rated films are, therefore, not protected by a mandatory PIN. Given the graphic violence and offensive language in the opening scenes, the transition immediately after the watershed to more adult material was unduly abrupt. For this reason, this 18-rated film was not suitable for broadcast at 21:00. The scheduling of the film was therefore in breach Rules 1.6 and 1.21 of the Code.

Given the content of the film, including the graphic violence, seriously offensive language and savage dog fights, Ofcom considered that information about this content would have been of great help to viewers when making a decision to watch this film. In this case, in particular the lack of clear information before the film was shown about its content, was the most significant factor in Ofcom's decision overall that the potentially offensive material was not justified by the context. There was therefore a breach of Rule 2.3.

The original complaint concerned the treatment of the dogs in the film. When classifying this film, the BBFC had investigated the staging of the dog fights. It had been satisfied that no harm had come to any of the dogs in the making of the film.


29th January   

Update: Fortunate...

Ofcom clears Bremner, Bird and Fortune over Madeleine McCann joke
Link Here

Bremner, Bird and Fortune has been cleared by Ofcom over a joke about Madeleine McCann. Dozens of Channel 4 viewers had complained about the inappropriate and offensive sketch featured last October.

In a discussion about the lengths to which Gordon Brown would go to secure victory in the event of a snap election, satirists John Bird and John Fortune mused: I wouldn't be surprised if the night before the election he went on television and said, 'Look what I found…' and held up Madeleine McCann.

Ofcom acknowledged the "sensitivities" in the McCann case and said: Any reference to the disappearance, other than during the course of news and current-affairs reports, may result in the potential for offence.

But Ofcom said there no suggestion Madeleine or her family were the target of the humour, adding: The main point of the sketch was to ridicule politicians and the sometimes cynical approach they are perceived to have when it comes to re-election.

The idea that politicians might be insensitive enough to attempt to exploit the tragedy surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann to their advantage was consistent with the general purpose of the sketch.


29th January   

Sumo TV Rapped...

Ofcom warns that user generated content may not be suitable for TV
Link Here

Ofcom has issued a warning to broadcasters about the ways in which they use user generated content after Sumo TV was found to have breached the programme code on two occasions.

The regulator said that Sumo - which airs a variety of content ranging from webcam performances to professionally-produced programmes - breached the programme code when it aired a 500 word rap by Andy Milonakis containing references to incest, drugs and sex with frequent use of expletives. In another instance, a child was shown being repeatedly frightened by an adult who captured the scene on a mobile phone. Both incidents aired after the watershed and close to midnight.

Ofcom said that it acknowledges and welcomes the fact that, to some extent, user-generated content provides opportunities for a more interactive experience for viewers and listeners, offering the ability to contribute more to programming than was previously possible. It added, however, that broadcasters remain responsible for ensuring that the material they put on air - whatever its origination - complies with the programme code.

Making a ruling specific to Sumo TV, Ofcom said that the rap breached generally accepted standards and was not justified by the context in which it was shown. The regular concluded: Ofcom is extremely concerned at the compliance decisions Sumo TV has made in these cases. In light of this finding, the measures taken and the reasoning it has used to interpret the Code, Sumo TV should be advised that any future breaches of this nature may result in further regulatory action being considered. Further, Sumo TV is reminded that having appropriate compliance procedures in place is a requirement of its licence conditions.

In a wider notice to broadcasters, Ofcom added: Broadcasters need to be aware that simply because material is available on the web, this does not mean that it is automatically suitable for broadcast on a licensed service which has to comply with the standards as set out in the Communications Act 2003.


28th January   

Home Office Hang Ups...

Mobile phone voluntary code on age restrictions to be reviewed
Link Here

A scheme to prevent children accessing pornography, gambling and other adult services on the latest mobile phones is to be reviewed by the telecoms regulator.

The inquiry has been triggered by complaints from charities about the project, which was launched at the request of the Home Office. It could lead to the voluntary code being replaced with Ofcom regulation.

Mobile phone networks including Orange, O2 and Vodafone signed up in 2004 to a code that is aimed at protecting children using “next generation” 3G phones. Under the code, the phone companies agreed to offer parents who bought the 3G models for their children the ability to install a filter, which would block access to unsuitable internet content such as adult chatrooms.

A classification system for content - similar to that used in cinemas - was also introduced, with unsuitable material to be labelled “18”. The phone companies also agreed to work with law enforcement agencies on the reporting of potentially illegal material.

However, children's charities fear that some of the mobile operators have been lax about marketing and getting to grips with the scheme.

John Carr, secretary of the Children's Charities' Coalition for Internet Safety (CHIS), an umbrella group that includes NCH, Barnardos and The Children's Society, said: My guess is that not all the networks are doing equally well. We have done our own informal studies in some mobile phone shops, where some shop assistants do no know elementary stuff about internet safety.

A spokesman for Ofcom said: To ensure that children continue to receive appropriate protection, Ofcom is working with the CHIS and the mobile operators to review the voluntary code of conduct for mobile content. A report is expected in the summer.


24th January   

Weekend Nazis...

Ofcom let the Nazis to have their say
Link Here

Weekend “Nazis”
BBC1, 27 August 2007, 20:30

In the documentary Weekend “Nazis”, reporter John Sweeney investigated people who spent their leisure time re-enacting incidents and activities from World War Two. The report focused, in particular, on those who chose to wear Nazi uniforms. Filming took place at a World War Two re-enactment weekend in Kent. Towards the end of the programme, undercover filming revealed that a minority of the people involved had extreme racist views.

Two viewers contacted Ofcom to complain about uncensored offensive language broadcast in the programme, including the words “nigger” and “coons”. This language was also included in on-screen subtitles which accompanied the undercover filming section. The complainants, who were watching with children, objected that these words were not edited from the broadcast when other strong language (for example “fuck”) was masked.

Whilst not disputing the offensive nature of these terms, the BBC replied that their inclusion was justified by the context of the programme and there were editorial reasons behind leaving these terms of racial abuse within the programme whilst bleeping out other forms of offensive language.

The BBC argued that John Sweeney’s revelations as regards a disturbing side to a World War Two re-enactment were made apparent early on and were reinforced in the second half of the programme. Therefore viewers would be aware soon after the commencement of the programme of its potential to “disturb and offend”. The BBC’s view was that to have bleeped out the racially offensive terms would have risked confusing the audience and obscuring the programme’s findings.

Ofcom decided that investigative journalism plays an essential role in public service broadcasting and is clearly in the public interest. Ofcom considers it of paramount importance that broadcasters...continue to explore controversial subject matter. While such programmes can make for uncomfortable viewing, they are essential to our understanding of the world around us.” Although the use of offensive swear words was masked, the unedited broadcast of the racist terms underlined one of the main purposes of this documentary – to expose racist views among certain people involved in a World War Two re-enactment. If the racist words had been edited out, this section of the programme would have had significantly less impact.

Also Weekend “Nazis” , although broadcast pre-watershed, was aimed at an adult audience. Viewing figures show that under-eighteens comprised only a small minority of the total audience. Given the title of the programme and the information available in listings publications and accompanying publicity, there was likely to be an awareness of the type of material to be included in such a broadcast. This, we believe, shaped the expectations of the audience and helped prepare them for the limited amount of offensive content. Viewers were likely to have recognised that such a documentary may not be suitable for young children. Further, the programme was in the timeslot normally occupied by Panorama which is known for its challenging and often hard hitting content. On balance therefore, not in breach


15th January   

Hell's Beef...

Ofcom clear Hell's Kitchen over bullying
Link Here

Ofcom has cleared Hell's Kitchen of breaking its broadcasting code after receiving almost 200 complaints about the ITV1 show in September.

The most recent series of the cooking reality show prompted a flurry of complaints about comedian Jim Davidson using bullying and homophobic comments towards fellow contestant Brian Dowling. Davidson used terms such as "shirt-lifters" and "poofs".

ITV defended broadcasting Davidson's comments, and said it was justified by their context. It said Jim Davidson's language and behaviour were "forcefully challenged" in the programmes and were placed against a backdrop that made it clear that the contestants, ITV and society in general did not think it acceptable to use terms such as "shirt-lifter" or to make an issue of a person's sexuality. The broadcaster also pointed to the fact that Davidson was asked to leave the show after it was decided that his comments had overstepped the mark.

Ofcom said ITV had restricted Davidson's comments and that they were "importantly" challenged by other contestants. The watchdog said there was a "consensus view" on the programme that Davidson's behaviour towards Dowling was not acceptable. Ofcom ruled that ITV took appropriate care to ensure adequate context for Jim Davidson's views and that its broadcasting code had not been breached.


14th January   

Fine Words...But...

Ofcom people on the move
Link Here

Former Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter has been appointed to the new post of chief of strategy and principal advisor to the Prime Minister.

Carter will be in charge of political strategy communications and research and the Policy Unit at No. 10, and will report directly to the prime minister. He will also attend Cabinet.

Meanwhile back at Ofcom.

Sara Nathan, has stepped down from the Board. Sara Nathan was one of the founding members of the Ofcom Board in 2002 and having served two terms on the Board will retire at the end of this year.

Colette Bowe and Tim Gardam have joined the Board of Ofcom as Non-Executive Directors from 1 January 2008 for three-year terms.

Colette Bowe had previously been the Chairman of Ofcom's Consumer Panel..

Tim Gardam has been the Principal of St Anne's College, Oxford since 2004. Tim had a 25 year career in broadcasting starting at the BBC where he was editor of Panorama and Newsnight before becoming Head of Current Affairs and Weekly News.

Anna Bradley has replaced Colette Bowe as Chairman of its independent Consumer Panel. The Panel advises Ofcom on the consumer interest in telecommunications, broadcasting and spectrum markets.

Ms Bradley was Consumer Affairs Director of the Financial Services Authority (2002-5) having been Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council (1999-2002).

Anna Bradley said Ofcom's independent Consumer Panel has a vital role to play in promoting the interests of consumers in increasingly complex communications markets. I look forward to leading this work and ensuring its advice is acted on .

[I wonder what the chances are that she will champion viewers of adult entertainment].

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