|20th June 2012 |
Ofcom publishes report on assessing media plurality
Now even PG rated Agatha Christie murder mysteries are too violent for daytime TV
|16th June 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
Death on the Nile
ITV1, 17 March 2012, 15:30
During the afternoon of Saturday 17 March 2012, ITV1 broadcast the cinematic adaptation of Agatha Christie's murder mystery novel Death on the Nile . In the scene where
the murderer was revealed towards the end of the film, a female character shot her lover in the head off-camera before taking her own life in the same way. The female character was shown on screen putting the revolver to her head and shooting herself,
causing blood to ooze from the wound.
Ofcom received one complaint from a viewer who considered the scene to be too violent in view of the possibility that a significant number of children could be watching at this time.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.11 of the Code. This states that:
Violence, its after-effects and descriptions of violence, whether verbal or physical, must be appropriately limited in programmes before
the watershed…and must also be justified by the context.
ITV said that the film had been broadcast on ITV1 and ITV3 since 2004 on over twenty occasions in pre-watershed slots. It added that while
children are clearly available to view on a Saturday afternoon, it argued that the Agatha Christie detective genre is not one with any particular interest to children, particularly younger children.
ITV argued that the scene in
question was the climax of the film and its inclusion was essential to the plot. The Licensee highlighted that viewers saw the impact of the second gunshot only and that it did not consider to it to be naturalistic or particularly gory. Similarly, it
said that the entire scene was highly formal and theatrical and that the deaths are presented in a manner akin to a stage play.
ITV therefore considered the violence in this scene appropriately limited and justified by the
context. However, it added that in keeping with its periodic review of pre- watershed material in the light of viewer concerns, particularly those of parents, it undertook some additional editing of this scene for future daytime broadcasts.
Ofcom Decision: Resolved after ITV promised further cuts
Rule 1.11 requires that violence in programmes shown before the watershed must be appropriately limited and must be justified by the context.
In this case, the female character shot herself in the head in relative close up, causing blood to ooze from the wound. Her suicide was therefore shown in some detail and was not in Ofcom's opinion appropriately limited.
While recognising the importance of including such a pivotal scene, Ofcom was concerned that the impact of the second gunshot was not edited or removed. As a result Ofcom considered that on balance the likely expectations of the
audience for this channel, and of parents in particular, would have been exceeded by broadcasting this particular sequence at the length and with the detail shown on a Saturday afternoon.
However, Ofcom noted the Licensee's review
of the film and additional editing of the scene in order to ensure that the content is suitable for a daytime transmission in future. We therefore consider the matter resolved
Ofcom whinge at the daytime babe channel show Mastichat
|15th June 2012
See article [pdf] from
Party, 18 March 2012, 06:45 to 07:00
Masti Chat is interactive daytime chat advertising content broadcast on the service called Party on Digital Terrestrial Television ( Freeview ) channel 97. The service is
available freely without mandatory restricted access and is situated in the adult section of the Freeview electronic programme guide ( EPG ). This service is owned and operated by Square 1 Management Ltd.
invited to contact on-screen female presenters via premium rate telephony services ( PRS ). The presenters generally dress and behave in a flirtatious manner while encouraging viewers to contact the PRS numbers.
received a complaint that this material contained adult content that was too strong to be shown at this time of the morning.
Ofcom noted that the female presenter wore blue knee high socks, gold knickers and a blue bandeau top.
She was lying down on her back, with the camera angle pointing down her cleavage. Her breasts were not adequately covered and we noted that at various points during the broadcast she: stroked her breasts and thighs; gyrated her hips; and occasionally had
her legs wide open (albeit away from camera) throughout.
Ofcom considered BCAP Code Rule 32.3, which states:
Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their
content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 32.2
Ofcom noted that the presenter wore a top that
did not adequately cover her breasts and for the duration of the broadcast the camera angle pointed down her cleavage. The presenter was also shown acting in a sexualised manner by adopting a sexually provocative position for a prolonged period of time:
she lay on her back (albeit away from camera) with her legs occasionally parted, slowly gyrating and rocking her hips and arching her body. While in this position she repeatedly stroked and touched her body in a sexually provocative manner, particularly
her breasts and thighs.
In Ofcom's view, the revealing clothing, the manner in which the presenter stroked and touched her body and the position she adopted, were intended to be sexually provocative in nature and the broadcast of
such content was not suitable to advertise daytime chat. In light of this behaviour and imagery, Ofcom concluded that this material was clearly unsuitable for children.
Ofcom concluded that relevant timing and scheduling
restrictions were not applied to the broadcast so as to offer adequate protection to children. This broadcast was therefore in breach of BCAP Code Rule 32.3.
Ofcom whinge at E4 for strong language just after the start of the watershed
|14th June 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
Playing It Straight
E4. 9, 16, 23, and 30 January 2012, 21:00
Playing it Straight is a reality game show that features a woman, Cara, and eleven men who must live together for eight weeks while they get to know each other and
perform various tasks. The men are made up of a combination of heterosexual and homosexual participants and at the end of the series the woman must choose a partner she considers is heterosexual. If her decision about the man's sexual orientation is
correct, the pair win a cash prize of £50,000 to share between them. However, if she chooses a homosexual man, he gets to keep the entire cash prize.
Two viewers alerted Ofcom to potentially inappropriate content during these
programmes when broadcast at 21:00. These complaints concerned potentially homophobic content and language of a sexual nature used by the narrator, Alan Carr. After assessing the content, Ofcom decided these particular concerns raised by the complainants
did not raise potential issues under the Code. However, when viewing the content, we noted that all four episodes contained three examples of very strong language within the first minute of each programme, which began at the 21:00 watershed.
Each of the four programmes began with the same pre-title sequence. The sequence contained three instances of the word fuck or fucking . Ofcom noted the first and second instances of offensive language occurred 30
seconds and 32 seconds respectively into the broadcast (i.e. within the first minute of the programme), when Cara found out the man to whom she was most attracted was homosexual and said:
(off-screen over a shot of a group of the
men): You fucking lying little bastard
(on-screen): fuck off
The third use of offensive language occurred 12 seconds later (i.e. also within the first minute of the programme) when Cara was
surprised by one of the male participants, who was naked. Cara said (on-screen): fucking hell .
Ofcom considered Rule 1.6 of the Code, which states:
The transition to more adult material
must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed (in the case of television)…. For television the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 1.6
Ofcom noted that the pre-title sequence used in all of the above four episodes each contained a total of three uses of the words of
fuck and fucking . These occurred 30, 32 and 44 seconds into each of the four broadcasts. Ofcom?s research5 confirms that the word fuck and other variations of this word are regarded as examples of the most offensive language with
the capacity to cause a considerable degree of offence, particularly when used repeatedly.
Rule 1.6 is not prescriptive. It does not stipulate a certain set time after the watershed when broadcasters may start to transmit the most
offensive language. However bearing in mind that there is an absolute prohibition on the most offensive language immediately before 21:00 (Rule 1.14), a broadcaster would need very strong reasons to justify starting to broadcast the most offensive
language – especially when used repeatedly – in the period immediately after the 21:00 watershed.
Ofcom considered that the context was insufficient to justify the use of three instances of the most offensive language
in the pre-title sequence for this reality entertainment programme which was broadcast immediately after the watershed at the start of four separate programmes. The transition to more adult material was unduly abrupt at the watershed and Rule 1.6 was
Muslim radio station censured for inciting violence against gays
|12th June 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
Sister Ruby Ramadan Special 2011
Radio Asian Fever (Leeds), 17 August 2011, 12:00 and 18 August 2011, 11:00
Radio Asian Fever (Leeds) is a community radio station that serves the South Asian communities of Leeds.
Two listeners alerted
Ofcom to the two programmes above, each approximately fifty minutes in duration and broadcast in Urdu, complaining that the programmes contained homophobic material. Having obtained an independent translation of the content, we noted that each of the two
programmes consisted of a sermon delivered by a female presenter, Rubina Nasir ( Sister Ruby ).
In the broadcast on 17 August 2011, the presenter commenced with a Qur'anic verse (Sura Al-Nisa, verse 16) and gave her interpretation of that
verse as being highly critical of homosexuality. The presenter also discussed various historical events portrayed in the Qur'an in the context of her main theme of homosexuality.
In the broadcast on 18 August 2011, the presenter focused her
discussion on another Qur'anic verse (Sura Al-Baqra, verse 221) and gave her interpretation of that verse as being critical of mixed-faith marriages.
Ofcom obtained an independent translation of the two programmes from the original Urdu into
English. We first noted the following two statements made by the presenter in the programme broadcast on 17 August 2011:
What should be done if they do it [practise homosexuality] If there are two such persons among
you, that do this evil, the shameful act, what do you have to do? Torture them; punish them; beat them and give them mental torture.
Allah states, „If they do such a deed [i.e. homosexuality], punish them, both physically
and mentally.? Mental punishment means rebuke them, beat them, humiliate them, admonish and curse them, and beat them up. This command was sent in the beginning because capital punishment had not yet been sent down.
In the programme
broadcast on 18 August 2011 the sermon dealt with the issue of mixed-faith marriages, and we noted the presenter made the following statements: [Mushrak is taken to mean a follower of another religion and shirk is the sin of following another religion].
What happens when a Muslim man or woman get married to a Mushrak Listeners! Marriage of a Muslim man or woman with a Mushrak is the straight path to hellfire;
Have my sisters and brothers, who
live with people of bad religions or alien religions, ever thought about what would become of the children they have had with them – and the coming generation?;
Where the filth of shirk is present, where the dirt of shirk is
present, where the heart is impure, how can you remove apparent filth. How many arrangements will you make to remove the apparent filth?;
We are saying that Mushraks have no concept of cleanliness and un- cleanliness;
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...
discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of... religion... and sexual orientation) ....
Rule 2.4: Programmes must not include material (whether in individual programmes or in programmes taken together)
which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour.
Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the
commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.
Rule 4.1: Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are
Ofcom unsurprisingly concluded that the broadcasts breached rules 2.3, 2.4, 3.1 and 4.1.
Ofcom regards the breaches in this case as serious breaches of the Code. In particular, in relation to Rule 3.1,
Ofcom views any incident where a licensee has allowed content to be broadcast that is likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder as a significant contravention of the Code. Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice
that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
Ofcom considers ITV News item using the word 'coloured' instead of 'black'
|22nd May 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
ITV News and Weather
ITV1, 26 February 2012, 13:30
This news bulletin included an item on racism and homophobia in British football and reported on an anti-discrimination summit chaired by the Prime Minister at Downing Street that day about
how to combat discrimination in the sport.
Four complainants alerted Ofcom to the reporter using the term coloured to describe some football players and coaches during this pre-recorded news item, indicating that they found it offensive.
During the item the reporter said in voiceover:
... Football has certainly come a long way since bananas were routinely thrown at coloured players. But one shameful statistic remains – only three of the 92
League clubs employ a black manager, and one of those Keith Curl, was only appointed at Notts County a few days ago. The Government are funding a scheme to promote more coloured coaches and are also tackling the issue of homophobia in the sport.
Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 2.3 of the Code, which states:
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, ... discriminatory treatment or language....
ITV said that the reporter's use of the term coloured was inappropriate and we do not defend its use. It was an editorial misjudgement and we apologise to those who were understandably offended by the use of this term
ITV said that once the report was broadcast, the Licensee recognised very quickly that inappropriate language had been used and took swift action to mitigate the potential for further offence by: editing the reference from the news programme
scheduled on ITV1 +1; issued an apology that was distributed to the press that afternoon; published an apology on the ITV News Twitter account within the hour of the broadcast; and removed the report from the ITV News website. The Licensee said
that approximately 20 viewers had contacted ITV News and ITV Viewer Services directly and apologies were made to all these complainants.
Ofcom Decision: Resolved
Ofcom recognises that the use of language changes over time
and likewise the impact of offence it may cause will also be subject to change. However, broadcasters are required to ensure that potentially offensive material is justified by the context.
In this case we noted that the pre-recorded news report
concerned: the issue of racism in British football; an anti-discrimination summit at Downing Street; and two recent high profile cases regarding racism and Premier League football players. Ofcom noted that on two occasions the reporter used the term coloured
during this news item.
Although the word coloured has various meanings, Ofcom understands that it is potentially offensive when used to describe certain individuals from ethnic minority groups because it fails to recognise adequately
their specific differences and also has associations with racial segregation. Therefore in Ofcom's view the use of the word twice in a news report was clearly capable of causing offence to viewers.
However, we noted that ITV recognised the
editorial mistake almost immediately after broadcast, and took swift and appropriate action to mitigate the potential for further offence by for example: editing the report prior to its repeat on the ITV1 +1 service and issuing apologies via the press,
the social media site Twitter and to those viewers who contacted it directly.
On balance, and in light of the steps taken by ITV to mitigate this offence, Ofcom therefore considered the matter resolved.
|12th May |
Movies4Men in trouble for not cutting movie enough for day time TV and then falsely using a BBFC style symbol to claim that it was PG rated
See article [pdf]
Movies4Men, 16 February 2012, 14:30
The Commissioner is a political thriller. The BBFC gave the film a 15 rating for its DVD release in 2003.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use
of the word fucked in this broadcast of the film, and believed this was particularly inappropriate as before the film Movies4Men had stated on air that the film had a PG rating.
Ofcom viewed a recording and noted
information shown by Movies4Men before the film. The following announcement was given in audio, This film is rated PG and is suitable for viewers of all ages. However, some scenes may be unsuitable for younger children . As this was read out, a PG
symbol in the style of the official PG certification mark of the BBFC was shown on screen.
At around 80 minutes into the film a character says, You fucked up your marriage. . . and you fucked up with Koenig.
Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 1.14 of the Code, which states:
The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed...
The Licensee said that the genre and storyline of The Commissioner was a strong fit for the daytime audience profile of Movies4Men. It said that, through the removal of strong language [it] made a version suitable for
a PG audience . It went on to explain that, unfortunately, while around eight and a half minutes of material were removed, the offending sentence was missed due to human error.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.14
Rule 1.14 of the Code states unequivocally that the most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed… . The broadcast of the word fucked twice in this programme was therefore a clear breach of
The BBFC confirmed to Ofcom that it had rated the original DVD release of this film at 15, and had not rated any edited versions of the film at PG. Ofcom was therefore concerned that the Licensee had used a BBFC-style
PG certification symbol on an edited version of the film that had not received official PG certification by the BBFC. While the Licensee may have considered it was suitable to apply a reduced rating to the version it had edited for pre-watershed
transmission, Ofcom does not consider that it was appropriate to do so in a way which was likely to have led viewers to believe this version had been officially certified as such by the BBFC, when in fact it had not.
broadcasters should note that the BBFC symbols are the property of the BBFC and cannot be used unless under licence. Ofcom advises broadcasters not to use BBFC symbols or similar-looking symbols without prior consultation with the BBFC
|9th May |
DM Digital censured by Ofcom for inciting violence and is to be considered for sanction
See article [pdf]
Rehmatul Lil Alameen
DM Digital, 9 October 2011, 18:30
DM Digital is a television channel primarily aimed at an Asian audience in the UK, which features broadcasts in a number of languages including English, Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi, Kashmiri and
Hindi. The service is also received in the Middle East and parts of Asia. The licence for this channel is held by DM Digital Television Limited.
The programme above, which was in Urdu and was approximately one hour in duration, featured a
presenter who introduced an Islamic Pir (a religious scholar) who delivered a live televised lecture about points of Islamic theology with reference to the shooting dead in early 2011 of the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer by his bodyguard Malik Mumtaz
Qadri. Salmaan Taseer had been a vocal critic of Pakistan's blasphemy law.
This law punishes derogatory remarks against notable figures in Islam and carries a potential death sentence for anyone who insults or is judged to blaspheme against
the Prophet Mohammed. At certain points the presenter of the programme made comments or asked the religious scholar for clarification.
A viewer alerted Ofcom to statements made during the programme that it was acceptable to murder any person
thought to have shown disrespect to the Prophet Mohammed, and that the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was an acceptable target for murder. The Ahmadiyya religion is a comparatively small Islamic movement founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani
that grew out of mainstream Islam in the nineteenth century, whose followers believe themselves to be true Muslims.
Ofcom noted in particular the following remarks from the Islamic scholar's lecture:
the guidance from Islamic texts it is evident that if a Muslim apostatises, then it is not right to wait for the authorised courts; anyone may kill him . An apostate deserves to be killed and any man may kill him. For this, you do not need to
contact the authorised courts. Because the prophet did not question Omar's act.
...if someone denies the existence of God, you may have a defensive war with them but if someone insults the Prophet, you should not be
defensive but you should aggressively attack them. You should go to their homes and fight them there .
The man who has killed [Salmaan Taseer] has done an act of great love and proved his loyalty. It was his duty to do so.
Some people say that he was supposed to guard [Salmaan Taseer] but a man's first duty is to protect his father and Abu Ubaydah killed his own father because the latter denied the apostolate of Prophet Mohammed….When Abu Ubaydah killed his father,
Allah praised him because he had killed in the love of the Prophet Muhammed. Such an act does not fall into the category of terrorism .
I hail those who made this law [i.e. Pakistan's blasphemy law] which states that one
who insults the Prophet deserves to be killed – such a person should be eliminated .
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules, in particular Rule 3.1
We are also aware of various and very serious threats and
attacks made in Western countries in recent years against individuals or entities perceived as insulting or making pejorative remarks about the Prophet Mohammed . The possibility of remarks like those of the Islamic scholar in this case encouraging crime
or disorder is therefore in Ofcom's opinion likely.
Ofcom concluded that the statements quoted above when assessed in context did amount to direct calls to action and were likely to incite or encourage crime or to lead to disorder. It is clear
from the statements above that the scholar went beyond merely stating what the blasphemy law of Pakistan was. He did not issue any direct death threats, but he commented on and praised the law in such a way that, in Ofcom's view, his comments were likely
to encourage crime or disorder against those perceived to insult or make pejorative remarks about leading Islamic figures and the Prophet Mohammed in particular, and against apostates. In Ofcom's opinion this result was likely whether the remarks were
seen by Muslim viewers of Pakistani origin who were already aware of Pakistan's blasphemy law or not.
Ofcom considered this a breach of Rule 3.1:
Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or
to lead to disorder must not be included in television and radio services
The breach of Rule 3.1 in this case is regarded by Ofcom as a serious breach of the Code. This is because Ofcom views any incident where a licensee has allowed
content to be broadcast that is likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder as a significant contravention of the Code. In this Broadcast Bulletin, Ofcom has also recorded serious breaches of the Code against DM Digital,
which Ofcom is also considering for the imposition of a statutory sanction .
Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider this breach for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
Digital, 25 November 2011, 19:00 and 4 December 2011, 21:00
Ofcom also found another programme from DM Digital similarly in breach of their rules and is also to be considered for sanction.
|9th May |
Ofcom dismiss complaints about a Jeremy Clarkson quip about the Elephant Man
Ofcom has cleared Jeremy Clarkson's comparison of a Japanese car to the Elephant Man of breaching the broadcasting code. Ofcom had received about 40 complaints that it was offensive to people suffering from facial disfigurement.
a Japanese car/camper van hybrid to people with growths on their faces in an edition of BBC2's Top Gear in February.
The controversial presenter deployed gestures as if he had a disability and slurred his speech in a way that seemed to
mimic Joseph Merrick, the so-called Elephant Man, saying that the car looked like something you would not talk to at a party. Co-presenter Richard Hammond called it the elephant car.
An Ofcom spokesman said:
Ofcom recognises that the comments were potentially offensive to individuals living with facial disfigurement. However, on balance we believe that they would not have exceeded the likely expectation of the audience, and any potential offence was justified by the context. We have informed the BBC of the issues raised by the complainants so they can be taken into consideration for future programmes.
|2nd May |
ATVOD told to get their hands off BBC Worldwide service operating from Italian Mediaset platform
See article from atvod.co.uk
Ofcom Appeal Decision re BBC Worldwide [pdf] from
ATVOD responded to Ofcom's decision to overrule an ATVOD determination that a BBC Worldwide VOD service was subject to ATVOD censorship:
Decision turned on new evidence not made available to ATVOD
An appeal by BBC Worldwide against an ATVOD determination that it was providing an on demand programme service on the Italian Mediaset platform has been upheld by Ofcom.
In order to fall within the scope of the
regulations overseen by ATVOD, a service must satisfy a number of statutory criteria, as set out in section 368A of the Communications Act 2003. In 2011, BBC Worldwide asked ATVOD to determine whether its involvement in the provision of programmes made
available on demand on the Mediaset platform in Italy constituted provision of an on demand programme service.
The decision turned on whether BBC Worldwide or Mediaset exercised general control over the selection and
organisation of the programmes comprising the relevant video on demand service. The ATVOD decision had been taken on the basis of contractual evidence provided by BBC Worldwide following a request by ATVOD for all relevant information.
Ofcom's decision to uphold the appeal takes into account new evidence from BBC Worldwide which was not made available to ATVOD at the time of its Determination.
Commenting on the decision, ATVOD Chief Executive
Pete Johnson said:
This is a complex area and the appeal system is a vital part of the process, giving service providers, in particular, greater clarity over issues such as where regulatory responsibility lies when two or more
parties are involved. In this case, it is unfortunate that ATVOD was not provided with all relevant information at the appropriate time - doing so ensures that unnecessary regulatory costs are avoided.
|26th April |
Massively edited made for TV ghost movie not edited enough for daytime TV
See article [pdf]
Secrets in the Walls
Channel 5, 20 January 2012, 15:15
A complainant alerted Ofcom to the pre-watershed broadcast of the film The Secrets in the Walls because of concerns that it contained supernatural and
horror themes and images unsuitable for a child audience.
Ofcom noted that this was a made-for-television film about a mother who moves into a new home with her two daughters where, it is later revealed, a young
teenage bride had been murdered. Her malevolent spirit now seeks to free itself by possessing the older daughter. The film featured the following scenes:
- the unexpected appearance of the spirit in front of the daughters and at the window of the house, and their reactions of fear and distress;
- supernatural activities such as unexplained music
from a jewellery box, slamming doors and flickering lights;
- the older daughter was trapped in the wardrobe screaming and scratching as the light in the wardrobe flickered on and off (it was later revealed that she
lost two fingernails from her frantic scratching to get out);
- an attempted exorcism to banish the spirit from the house; and
- the possession of the older daughter by
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code:
- Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Channel 5 said that in total 18 edits were made to the film with the aim of reducing the overall horror/thriller tone of the film and this was the version that was broadcast. However, having reviewed this broadcast version,
Channel 5 stated:
we are of the view that further significant edits would have been required to make the programme suitable for a 3.15pm timeslot, or, the programme should have been scheduled at a time when
children were not likely to be watching. Re-scheduling this version of the programme would have been the preferable solution as further edits...seem likely to compromise the editorial narrative of the programme, distort its meaning and/or confuse viewers.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3
This film contained themes, sequences and images of menace, threat and suspense as well as specific examples of supernatural activity, exorcism and
possession which are typically found in horror films aimed at adult viewers. In one particular example, the mother was asleep in darkness when a shrill scream came from her older daughter's bedroom, piercing the silence. The mother and younger daughter
ran to the bedroom and loud scratching and screams for help and I can't breathe could be heard. The light in the cupboard flickered on and off as the mother pulled open the doors to release her daughter, whose hands were injured from scratching at
the closed doors to escape. These scenes were accompanied throughout by menacing sound effects and music. Further scenes featured the spirit appearing to the daughters unexpectedly in the mirror and at windows; and an attempt to exorcise the spirit that
resulted in the woman conducting the exorcism being knocked down violently.
In Ofcom's view these themes, sequences and images were unsuitable for child viewers and hence in breach of Rule 1.3
|25th April |
Not enough to save Girls of Playboy Mansion from Ofcom censure for daytime viewing
See article [pdf]
Girls of the Playboy Mansion
E! Entertainment, 27 December 2011, 10:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 21:00
Girls of the Playboy Mansion is a reality television series, filmed in the USA home of Hugh Hefner, the American magazine
publisher and founder of the adult entertainment company Playboy Enterprises. It features the day to day activities of a group of women who live with Hugh Hefner in his house, known as the Playboy Mansion. The series was broadcast on the cable and
satellite television channel E! Entertainment.
During routine monitoring, Ofcom noted various episodes (each of about thirty minutes duration) of the Girls of the Playboy Mansion broadcast consecutively throughout the day and
evening on E! Entertainment on 27 December 2011. The programmes featured:
- at 10:54 a male stripper wearing a pouch thong (his buttocks were blurred and genitals covered) thrusting his buttocks into the face of the mother of one of Hugh Hefner?s girlfriends during a lingerie party at the Playboy
Mansion with the accompanying comment: she needed a good ass in her face (this scene and comment were also broadcast as part of a preview at the start of the episode);
- a number of sequences showing women and
female glamour models, posing and being photographed during casting sessions for the 55th anniversary Playmate cover (with naked breasts, genitals and buttocks blurred) in consecutive episodes broadcast between 16:00 and 21:00; and
numerous examples of bleeped and masked offensive and most offensive language.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code, which states:
Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Universal on behalf of the Licensee apologised for the inappropriate scheduling of this material. It explained that as soon as the Licensee was alerted to Ofcom's concerns about the content, E Entertainment placed a post-22:00 scheduling restriction on
the entire series of Girls of the Playboy Mansion until it was fully re-complied and re-edited where necessary.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3
In Ofcom's opinion these episodes of Girls in the Playboy
Mansion were clearly unsuitable for children.
They included prolonged sequences of nudity (albeit with breasts, buttocks and genitals blurred), particularly during the consecutive episodes showing the search for the 55th Playboy
glamour model. These sequences featured numerous scenes of the models being filmed as they posed and were photographed during casting sessions for Playboy magazine. In addition, there was a sequence of the lingerie party at the Playboy Mansion which
featured numerous scantily clad Playboy glamour models posing for the cameras; and shots of a male stripper wearing a thong thrusting his buttocks in the face of the mother of one of Mr Hefner?s girlfriends, with a commentary: she needed a good ass in
her face .
The episodes also featured repeated bleeped and masked offensive language throughout, which (taken together with the scenes of nudity) demonstrated in Ofcom's opinion that these programmes contained themes of an
adult nature and were aimed at an adult audience.
Ofcom noted that various episodes were broadcast consecutively at various times during the day on a Bank Holiday during the Christmas period when it was likely that children, some
unaccompanied by an adult, might have been watching. Also no announcement whatsoever was made before the start of, or between, any of the programmes to warn viewers in advance about their content. In Ofcom's view this material was clearly not scheduled
These broadcasts were therefore in breach of Rule 1.3.
Ofcom recently found that on two separate occasions in September 2011 the Licensee broadcast programmes that breached Section One of the
Code3 . In the second of the two recorded breaches in Bulletin 195, Ofcom stated that it had put E Entertainment on notice that it is particularly concerned about the Licensee's compliance procedures and will proceed to consider further regulatory
action should any similar incidents occur. Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider this breach for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
|24th April |
Babe channel Get Lucky TV takes its turn for a smacking from the TV censors at Ofcom
See article [pdf]
Get Lucky TV (Channel 909), 15 February 2012, 21:01 to 21:30
Dirty Wives is a segment of interactive adult chat advertising content broadcast on the licensed service known as Get Lucky TV (Sky Channel 909). The
service is freely available without mandatory restricted access and is situated in the „adult section of the Sky electronic programme guide. Viewers are invited to contact onscreen presenters via premium rate telephony services. The female
presenters dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the premium phone numbers. The licence for Get Lucky TV is owned and operated by Grandiose Limited.
Ofcom received a complaint that
some content broadcast immediately after the watershed contained sexual images that were too strong to be shown at this time.
Ofcom noted there were three female presenters on screen during the broadcast. The female presenter on
the left of the screen was wearing a pink leopard print top, a black high leg thong, black stockings and shoes. From 21:04 this presenter adopted various positions. She knelt facing the camera with her legs open and mimed sexual intercourse and knelt
with her bare buttocks to camera at times lifting up a leg to reveal her crotch area in greater detail. On one occasion while in this position, she pulled tightly on her thong and lifted it to reveal anal detail.
Rule 32.3, which states:
Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 32.3
Ofcom noted that between 21:01 and 21:30, the female presenter on the left of the screen wore a high leg thong that revealed her outer genital area. In
addition, at approximately 21:07 she was on all fours, with her bare buttocks to camera and briefly pulled tightly on her thong on three occasions to reveal her anal area. While wearing this very skimpy clothing, she adopted sexual positions such as
lying on her back with her legs open to camera thrusting forward with her hips, and kneeling facing the camera miming sexual intercourse. The same presenter later but before 21:30: rubbed oil onto her outer genital area and breasts (through her top);
slapped her buttocks; massaged her breasts and stroked her outer genital area; and while kneeling with her buttocks side on to camera, pulled her thong down to under her buttocks and gyrated her hips. In Ofcom's view, the revealing clothing and sexual
positions and other inappropriate images, including that of anal detail, were intended to be sexually provocative in nature. In light of this behaviour and imagery, Ofcom concluded that this material was clearly unsuitable for children.
The broadcast of such sexualised content was inappropriate to advertise „adult sex chat so soon after the 21:00 watershed.
This broadcast was therefore in breach of BCAP Code Rule 32.3.
|19th April |
Ofcom make a submission to the Leveson Inquiry advocating industry self regulation
See article from
See Ofcom Submission to
the Leveson Inquiry [pdf] from media.ofcom.org.uk
Further regulation will strangle British websites,
MailOnline publisher claims from telegraph.co.uk
In a paper submitted to the Leveson inquiry, the TV and radio censor, Ofcom, said reform of press regulation can be achieved if the body which takes over from the Press Complaints Commission is set up with a more robust framework and the power to impose
proper sanctions on errant newspapers. Ofcom added:
Properly constituted, effective and independent self-regulation could be the basis of a new model of press regulation.
But the censor said that in
order for self-regulation to work certain elements of the new regime, such as rules governing membership, may need to be recognised by a statute.
In the areas of membership and governance, there could be concerns about
whether self-regulation would be sufficient to develop a system with genuine legitimacy and capable of building public trust. A minimal enabling statute -- or recognition in statute -- could be necessary in these areas.
|8th April |
Mediawatch-Uk and Ofcom reported to be on the back of soap producers
Claims that Daniel Bartlam's horrific crime might have been inspired by a Coronation Street storyline has fuelled nutter calls for TV soap opera bosses to show more restraint.
The scene in which John Stape murders a colleague with a
hammer was found on the teenager's computer along with a montage of violent scenes from other soap operas including Hollyoaks and Emmerdale , horror films and TV crime dramas.
Nutter group Mediawatch-UK has pleaded with producers to
take greater responsibility , stressing the dangers sensational storylines pose to young impressionable fans.
In the past five years 18 murders have been committed in the UK's three main soaps and TV watchdog Ofcom is reported to be seeking
assurances from broadcasters about the levels of violence being shown.