Ofcom dismisses whinges about Lorna Bliss in a sexy outfit on the X Factor
|21st December 2012 |
See Broadcast Bulletin [pdf] from
See video from YouTube
The X Factor
ITV1, 9 September 2012, 20:00
The episode of The X Factor broadcast on 9 September 2012 was pre-recorded and showed early auditions that took place in London. One of the participants in this programme was a Britney Spears
impersonator named Lorna Bliss. The programme started at 20:00 and Lorna's performance was shown at approximately 20:50.
A total of 35 complainants alerted Ofcom to her act. In summary the complainants considered the performance was inappropriate
for broadcast during a family show because Lorna's outfit and performance were unsuitable for a child audience.
Ofcom noted that the programme featured a one and a half minute introductory piece about Lorna which included a short sequence filmed
backstage with another auditionee who described her outfit as a bit see through ; and a sequence prior to her performance on stage in which she was seen talking, in a flirtatious manner, to a member of the production crew and later bending over to
touch her toes (with her buttocks to camera) in order to warm up before her audition.
The sequence was followed by Lorna's one and a half minute performance to the audio track Dance 'Til the World Ends by Britney Spears, which consisted of:
Lorna singing the track and performing a dance routine on stage; sitting astride the judge Louis Walsh and pushing his head into her breasts (although this image was limited); chasing the judge Gary Barlow around the auditorium; lying across the lap of a
member of the audience who was seated; crawling across the floor and then walking back onto stage before the audio track was abruptly stopped. As she stood on stage, the camera briefly moved up her body, putting a focus on it and her outfit, before the
Throughout the programme Lorna Bliss was shown wearing a lime green bikini (which exposed her buttocks) with a fishnet body stocking over the top and black boots. By the end of her performance her body stocking had slipped below
her breasts, exposing her bikini top.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3:
Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
ITV said that:
By comparison, the outfit Lorna chose to wear on The X Factor consisted of an entirely opaque bra and thong, covered by a body stocking which was good deal less revealing than her Britney-style Toxic costume. ITV added
that: [T]he performance was carefully edited, with a preponderance of wide shots whilst she was on stage, clambering over the judge's table or running around the arena and diving into the audience. Close ups on her whilst she was receiving the judge's
(universally hostile) comments after the performance were focused on her face and her reactions to these comments.
The image of Lorna bending over to warm up prior to going on stage was included specifically to reflect Lorna's
character as a performer. She was clearly being flirtatious with the production crew prior to going on stage and deliberately playing up to the camera by turning around and bending over in this way, but the shot was relatively brief and not in close up,
and thus revealed no intimate detail of her anatomy, with her buttocks covered by her body stocking. The Licensee said that during her act Lorna did climb onto the judges' table and briefly grabbed Louis Walsh, who was clearly not responsive to this
overture, but this was a clumsy gambit for attention's sake that was comical rather than erotic in tone.
The single pan shot up her body whilst she stood on stage did not in our view render the sequence as a whole
inappropriate, given her costume still sufficiently covered her body. We therefore considered her audition throughout to be saucy rather than being overtly erotic or sexualised.
Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach
Ofcom noted that Lorna Bliss' performance had some flirtatious overtones and included images of Lorna Bliss adopting some mildly provocative positions at the start of her performance and throughout. The most noticeable examples were: firstly, prior to her performance when she was warming up backstage, she bent over to touch her toes and her buttocks (covered by a fishnet body stocking) were briefly visible in a mid-shot; secondly, when she was sitting astride the judge Louis Walsh; and thirdly, once her act had finished and she was back on stage, the camera moved up her body, putting a focus on her outfit which was a bikini and a fishnet body stocking.
We noted the performance was mostly shot from a wide angle, so minimising the potential impact of the flirtatious or limited sexualised overtones of the act and as ITV highlighted, where there were close-up images, these focused on her face only,
particularly to show her facial expressions when she received feedback from the judges, which was wholly negative. During Lorna's performance the camera shots changed quickly and the images were intercut with reactions from the judges and members of the
audience, resulting in her actions and shots of the performance being very brief. Further, we noted that Lorna was not clearly visible as she moved through the audience, due to the poor lighting in that part of the auditorium.
Guidance states that broadcasters should ensure that the content is suitable for family viewing throughout the duration of the programme . We considered that despite Lorna's performance being broadcast at 20:50, the images of Lorna straddling the
judge, Louis Walsh, and the single shot moving up Lorna's body, were potentially problematic given this was a pre-watershed programme.
However, we noted that these potentially problematic shots were very limited in terms of detail and duration. We
considered, on balance, that the performance, taken as a whole, was presented in a style which sought to derive humour from the participant's conduct and interaction with the judges and the audience, and did not convey an overtly sexualised theme. Ofcom
is nevertheless taking the opportunity to remind ITV to ensure that careful consideration is given to the use of such images in the broadcast of programmes scheduled before the 21:00 watershed.
Not in Breach of Rule 1.3
Ofcom throw the book at Scuzz TV for pre-watershed music video unsuitable for kids
|20th December 2012 |
See Broadcast Bulletin [pdf] from
See Undead by Hollywwod Undead (uncensored) from
Rock All Stars
Scuzz TV, 19 August 2012, 20:40
Scuzz TV is a UK digital satellite television channel that broadcasts rock and pop- punk music videos and music related entertainment programming on Sky and Freesat.
The licence for this channel is held by CSC Media Group.
During a block of music video programming called Rock All Stars, Scuzz TV broadcast a music video by the American rap-rock band Hollywood Undead performing a track
called Undead ( the video ) at 20:40. The video, which was set in a motel room, intercut footage of the band performing the track to camera with footage of the male band members partying with female performers and fans in various
locations including a motel bedroom, a bathroom and by a swimming pool.
The video, which lasted for just over three minutes and 30 seconds, included over 25 uses of language such as fuck , motherfuckers , fucking
and faggots ,
Ofcom was also concerned by the imagery included in this video. We noted in particular: over 35 brief but close-up shots of naked or near naked breasts; around 20 close-up shots of women's buttocks in
bikinis or underwear; frequent close-up shots of women climbing onto or simulating sexual actions with men and other women; scenes in which male band members fondled the breasts of female performers; footage in which two semi-naked female performers
simulated sex acts together in a shower cubicle while a male band member vomited into a toilet; shots of illegal drug paraphernalia; and a sequence in which a female performer appeared to take illegal drugs and then perform sex acts on herself and with
others. The video concluded with shots of the band members violently smashing up the contents of the motel room, and then throwing the broken items into the swimming pool.
Ofcom received two complaints from viewers about the
broadcast of this video on Scuzz TV. One complained that a music video containing unedited female nudity and obscene language throughout the video had been broadcast before the watershed. The other complained that the video was degrading
to women and was the closest thing to rape he had seen in a music video.
Ofcom considered rules:
- Rule 1.3: Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
- Rule 1.10: The use of illegal drugs, the abuse of drugs, smoking,
solvent abuse and the misuse of alcohol:...must generally be avoided and in any case must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised in...programmes broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television)...unless there is editorial justification.
- Rule 1.14: The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television)[.]
- Rule 1.16: Offensive language must not be broadcast
before the watershed (in the case of television)...unless it is justified by the context.
- Rule 1.21: Nudity before the watershed must be justified by the context.
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, sex, sexual violence, [and]
violation of human dignity[.]
The Licensee stated that as a result of this incident it: had removed the video from its catalogue, so that it will never be played again across our channels ; was implementing changes to its software having identified the
failure in the scheduling system ; and was checking the way in which all of its 24,000 plus music videos were marked up for compliance purposes. The Licensee apologised for any offence caused and gave assurances to Ofcom that it was confident it had
rectified the loophole in its scheduling system.
CSC Media also made detailed representations in response to Ofcom's Preliminary View that it had breached Rules 1.3, 1.10, 1.14. 1.16, 1.21 and 2.3, and that these
contraventions were so serious that they should be considered for a statutory sanction.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of the rules
This case involved the broadcast of material that was extremely unsuitable for
children and had the potential to be highly offensive to the audience. Ofcom therefore considers the breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.10, 1.14, 1.16, 1.21 and 2.3 in this case to be serious. Ofcom was particularly concerned that the Licensee described the
broadcast of this video before the watershed and during the school summer holidays as having occurred as a result of a loophole and staff error.
This music video may only have been broadcast once pre-watershed, but these
breaches of Code are in Ofcom's view sufficiently serious as to warrant consideration of a sanction. Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that it is considering these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.10, 1.14, 1.16, 1.21 and 2.3
Ofcom Annual Plan for 2013-4
|20th December 2012 |
See article from
See Draft Annual Plan
[pdf] from stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk
Ofcom has published its draft 2013/14 Annual Plan for consultation, outlining its strategy and work programme for the next financial year.
In terms of TV, VOD and Internet censorship it seems very much work as usual. However in the longer term
strategies section there is a note about developing a censorship 'framework' to be applied to all audio-visual content:
Strategic Priority under the heading Maintain audience confidence in broadcast content :
Develop approaches to future AV content regulation
Interim Outcomes: Develop options for a new framework incorporating appropriate minimum levels of protection and assurance for audiences across linear broadcast television
Final Outcomes: Effective framework for AV regulation within the scope of current legislation and contribute to the Government/European debate as appropriate for future legislation on AV content.
Ofcom's top 10 most whinged about films of 2012
|19th December 2012 |
Top 10 complained about shows to Ofcom (up to December 12)
Total complaints across the year: 16,666
- Big Brother (2,088)
More than half (1,139) concerned Conor McIntyre's threatening remarks about fellow housemate Deana Uppal.
- The X Factor Results (1,488)
Most complaints surrounding singer Carolynne Poole's
controversial exit after an executive was seen whispering in judge Louis Walsh's ear.
- This Morning (811)
Most complaints concerning the stunt which saw presenter Phillip Schofield brandish a list of names of alleged abusers that he
had found on the internet which he handed to Prime Minister David Cameron during a live interview.
- True Stories: Gypsy Blood (509)
- Live: The Silent Ascent (378)
- Sky News (364)
- The X Factor (305)
- Islam: The Untold Story (293)
- Citizen Khan (256)
- Keith Lemon's LemonAid (246)
Noor TV up for Ofcom sanctions after presenter preaches that those showing disrespect to Mohammed should be killed
||18th December 2012 |
See Broadcast Bulletin [pdf] from
Noor TV, 3 May 2012, 11:00
Noor TV is a digital satellite television channel that broadcasts programmes about Islam in a number of languages, including English, Urdu and Punjabi. It can be received in the United Kingdom,
Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The channel appears in the international section of the Sky electronic programme guide. Its aim, as stated on its website, is to present a balanced, moderate and true face of Islam to both Muslims and
non-Muslim communities across the globe . Its primary target audience is young Muslims, especially young people who have been born in the UK . The licence for this channel is held by Al Ehya.
A viewer alerted Ofcom to statements made
during the programme that appeared to the viewer to be inciting people to commit murder.
The programme was predominantly in Urdu, was approximately one hour and 30 minutes in duration and featured a presenter, Allama Muhammad Farooq Nazimi. Mr
Nazimi answered questions about a wide range of issues and personal conduct relating to Islam and Islamic teachings.
At approximately one hour and 18 minutes into the programme Mr Nazimi answered a question from a caller, who was identified as brother Yasir Nahif
( Mr Nahif ), who asked:
What is the punishment for the individual who shows disrespect for Prophet Muhammad?
In response to the question from Mr Nahif, we noted the following remarks
[amongst others] made by Mr Nazimi:
There is no disagreement about this [the punishment]; there is absolutely no doubt about it that the punishment for the person who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death. No one
[among the Islamic scholars] disagrees about this. No one disagrees about this. The Koran, hadeeth [orally transmitted quotes of Prophet Muhammad], the actions of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, all testify to this [punishment] and there is no room
for doubt in it. Whoever shows disrespect for Prophet Muhammad will be given death penalty. The procedure for carrying out the death penalty is that if there is an Islamic government operating in a country, then the Islamic government will carry out the
implementation of this punishment to the one who shows disrespect for the Prophet. However, if there are no Islamic laws [implemented], if Islamic Law is not being abided by, if the Islamic Law is being shredded and is in tatters - and this environment
prevails in Pakistan, then [drops the sentence]. You saw a few months ago, a man specifically said that the Islamic law which was especially designed to protect the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad, whom Allah praises and protects, was a black law. By saying
so, he slighted the law and committed insolence against Prophet Muhammad. Then what happened? You saw what happened. The man who did it [killed the Governor] is Mumtaz Hussein . He is a Ghazi and we can absolutely not say that his act was a wrong act
[because] the Koran and hadeeth [orally transmitted traditions], testify that the punishment of the one who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death.
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 religious programmes.
Al Ehya put forward various points arguing, in summary, that the statements made by the presenter were not likely to encourage or incite crime and did not reach the benchmark of
criminal liability. The Licensee suggested that Ofcom was taking a hard line and prejudiced view of this particular programme .
The Licensee said first that any impact that the statements made by the presenter might have had on young
Muslims would have been totally limited because at 11:00, the time at which the material was broadcast, younger people would have been at school or college.
Second, Al Ehya went on to suggest that there was nothing new or unknown in
the statements made by the presenter relating to the implementation of Islamic law: they are set out in the Koran and it is a requirement that they are taught to young Muslims. Further the Licensee referred to various instances of violence and sacrifice
in the Christian Bible, and suggested Ofcom was approaching this situation in quite a different way in that which it might if any Priest of the Christian Church was reading segments of the Bible that contained such remarks .
Licensee said that [w]hilst radicals and extremists exist Ofcom - in assessing the statements in the programme - showed scant regard to the fact that nothing has been said which is not in the everyday teaching of the contents of the Holy Koran
and other Holy documents. The interpretation of those is clearly something which is of the individual and becomes dependent on the circumstances of the particular Country lived in . It went on to say that [y]ounger people in the UK tend to speak
English rather than Urdu and observe the laws of the UK in relation to their religion .
The Licensee also criticised Ofcom for referring to examples of: [V]iolence in other [Western] Countries where blasphemy of the Prophet had taken place
(by non- Muslims) 8 ...Noor resents the implication that [the] broadcast [of the problematic statements] is likely to incite or create a situation in the UK or Western countries of a similar type of recrimination...[T]he violence in those Countries only
exemplifies that it is a known factor of the Holy Koran.
Ofcom Decision: Breaches of Rules 3.1 and 4.1
We considered that the broadcast of the various statements made by the Islamic scholar outlined above was likely
to encourage or incite the commission of crime.
A number of the remarks in Ofcom's opinion amounted to direct calls to action. In particular, we interpreted some of Mr Nazimi's comments to be a generic call to all Muslims (and not just members of
the Muslim community within Pakistan) encouraging or inciting them to criminal action or disorder by unambiguously stating that the appropriate penalty for showing disrespect to Muhammad was the death penalty. He stated that they (all Muslims) had a duty
to kill anyone who criticises or insults the Prophet Mohammed where the government had failed to take action, and praised Mumtaz Hussein for taking the law into his own hands and murdering Salmaan Taseer. We noted that such actions were couched as being
justified, and even required, as a duty on all Muslims, according to the tenets of Islamic law and theology. We believe that on a reasonable interpretation of the presenter's remarks, he was personally advocating that all Muslims had a duty to carry out
the actions he suggested.
In considering the likelihood of the inclusion of these statements in the service encouraging or inciting the commission of crime or leading to disorder, we also carefully considered the context within which the
presenter's words were broadcast. The self-stated purpose of Noor TV is to provide a service aimed at the Asian community both within the UK and in the Middle East and Asia, and in particular young people who have been born in the UK . As noted
already, the fact that Mr Nazimi gave his views directly to camera would, in our view, have been likely to have given additional authority to what he was saying, as he explained Islamic teachings to a Muslim audience without interruption or any challenge
being given to his views.
Ofcom is mindful that scriptures and sacred texts of various religions refer to acts of violence and punishments which by today's standards may be considered extreme and unacceptable by society as a whole. While the Code
does not prevent teachings of this kind being referred to, or discussed, in programmes, it is important that they are not presented in a way that would incite or encourage viewers to an extent that would breach the Code. In Ofcom's view the presenter's
statements in this case were held out to be the unequivocal teaching of the Koran, which Muslims had a duty to obey. The teachings were not presented in a balanced or wider context and further, the potentially mitigating material that was included could
not reasonably be understood to limit the scope of the remarks to only countries where Islamic law applied.
Ofcom reached the view that Al Ehya had broadcast material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder.
Accordingly, Ofcom has found the Licensee in breach of Rule 3.1 of the Code.
We considered that the broadcaster did not exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of this religious programme. The programme was in
breach, therefore, of Rule 4.1 of the Code.
The breaches of Rules 3.1 and 4.1 in this case are regarded by Ofcom as serious breaches 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.
Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
Breaches of Rules 3.1 and 4.1
Ofcom overturn ATVOD decision that a website of short video clips can be considered 'TV Like'
|17th December 2012
See article [pdf] from
Ofcom has upheld ChannelFlip's appeal against being designated as a VOD service (ODPS) and hence being liable to ATVOD censorship and ATVOD fees. Ofcom wrote:
Ofcom's Decision is that Channel Flip was not at the
relevant time an ODPS as the form and content of the audio visual material included in that service was not comparable to the form and content of programmes normally included in television programme services.
In making this
Decision, Ofcom notes that a significant period has elapsed since the original ATVOD Determination and subsequent appeal, during which time there have been a number of changes in the presentation of material on the Channel Flip website (and also in the
ownership of the service, which has been acquired by Shine Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation). Ofcom's Decision is based on its review of the service at the time of the original Determination and appeal, and it is for Channel Flip and its owners to
consider, on an ongoing basis and in light of this Decision, whether it starts to provide an ODPS at some point and to notify ATVOD if appropriate.
At the time of ATVOD's Determination and the subsequent appeal, Channel Flip was a
free to view service marketing itself as, the UK's finest video shows . The home page of its website, www.channelflip.com, featured a drop-down menu of Shows , below which was a revolving selection of Featured Videos and further
menus of Our Shows and Popular Videos . Clicking on an option took the user to a page featuring the selected video, which could be viewed. The viewing page provided links to other episodes in the series (where relevant), other shows and an
opportunity to comment or share via sites like Facebook. Videos could be viewed on the viewing page or enlarged to view full-screen.
Shows included comedy material (e.g. David Mitchell's Soapbox and F.C. Dave ) and
other light entertainment material (e.g. Richard Hammond's Tech Head ). Individual items were typically preceded by an advertisement or commercial sponsorship message and brief title sequence.
Most of the individual items
were short in duration; Richard Hammond's Tech Head and David Mitchell's Soapbox episodes were each around 3 to 4 minutes in length for example. However, a few were longer; as noted in the Determination, for example, episodes of F.C. Dave had a duration
of about 10 minutes. Individual items ended with brief credits.
It is noted that the particular items were not also broadcast on traditional television. It is further noted that series titles were consequently not likely to be
very well known, although several titles featured the names of well known individuals like David Mitchell and Richard Hammond. The style of the material was not amateur (the word used by CML in its appeal request) in the sense of a home movie
posted on a website like YouTube for example, but it is fair to say material appeared to be professionally made but on a limited budget (with simple, cheap graphics, for example).
Ofcom Whinges about daytime babes on ChatGirl TV
|16th December 2012
9th December 2012. See article [pdf] from
ChatGirl TV (Sky Channel 937), 22 August 2012, 07:30 to 08:30
GirlGirl is a segment of interactive adult chat advertising content broadcast on the licensed service known as ChatGirl TV (Sky Channel 937). The
service is freely available without mandatory restricted access and is situated in the adult section of the Sky electronic programme guide ( Sky EPG ). Viewers are invited to contact on- screen presenters via premium rate telephony services
( PRS ). The female presenters dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the PRS numbers.
The licence for ChatGirl TV is owned and operated by Playboy UK TV.
Ofcom received a complaint that content on this service, broadcast between 07:30 and 08:30, contained sexual images that were too strong to be shown at this time.
Ofcom noted that the advertising content featured a female
presenter on screen wearing a leopard skin print one piece outfit which consisted of a thin piece of material, covering her breasts but not her torso, under which she wore a black bra which covered the majority of her breasts. Over the top of the leopard
print one piece outfit she wore skimpy black hot pants which revealed some of the buttock. She also wore black stockings which she rolled up and down intermittently.
From 07:30 the presenter adopted one particular position: she
lay on her front gently thrusting and rocking her buttocks up and down and from side to side (albeit away from camera). While making these movements she rubbed and stroked her buttocks and upper thighs. On a few occasions the presenter varied her
position: lying on her side, opening her legs (albeit away from camera) and gently rocking her body backwards and forwards. In addition, the presenter made several invitations to callers to telephone her. These included her saying:
I'm helping you get up today boys in my stockings. I also have my boots today very close by... [I]f you want my boots putting on all you have to do is say the word and they will get on my long legs ; come and get me ;
have some fun on this bed ; you boys should give me a good work out! ; what are you waiting for boys? and want a bit of fun on my bed right now?
Ofcom considered this material raised issues
warranting investigation under 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.
Playboy TV said it viewed the material and confirmed that the Licensee considered the broadcast an unfortunate blip on our compliance record and that it immediately
took steps to prevent a recurrence. The Licensee stated that with all live programming there is always a small chance of content airing that strays close to the limits of the Code and that it took all such issues seriously and would do all it
could to prevent them.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 32.3
Ofcom noted that the female presenter was wearing clothing that did not adequately cover her body, in particularly high cut hot pants that
exposed some of her buttock. While wearing this outfit, the presenter acted in a sexualised manner: she was shown lying on her stomach for prolonged periods of time, repeatedly and clearly gyrating and thrusting her buttocks so as to mimic sexual
intercourse (albeit away from camera). She also touched, rubbed and stroked her upper thighs, legs and buttocks in a sexually suggestive manner and invited callers to contact her in a sexually provocative way. 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 chat during the day and before the watershed. This broadcast was
therefore in breach of BCAP Code Rule 32.3.
In light of this breach and concerns about the Licensee's compliance, Ofcom will be monitoring the Licensee's daytime content for a period of time
16th December 2012.
Not sure if this is connected to the Ofcom ruling, but the GirlGirl channel (937) has come to an end, and has been taken of the Sky EPG.
Britain's major adult VOD website fined 60,000 for failing to comply with unviably restrictive age verification requirements
||8th December 2012 |
So how can the depiction of something so basic to life, something that nearly everybody does and enjoy, something that everybody is well educated about from an early age, and
something that is so commonly discussed in so many social circles, be so 'seriously' harmful?
Ofcom and ATVOD speak of a 'precautionary' approach to age protection because of a lack of evidence or experts suggesting that porn actually 'is'
seriously harmful. Undesirable maybe, but 'seriously' harmful?
See article [pdf] from
Strictly Broadband, once a major British Video on Demand website has been fined £ 60,000 for breaches of the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ) Statutory Rules for Providers of Video on Demand. In
ATVOD Rule 11: If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made
available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.
Thereby being supposedly in contravention of section 368E(2) of the Communications Act 2003 (the Act ).
interprets Rule 11 as requiring an effective Content Access Control System (CAC System) verifying the user is aged 18 or over where R18 equivalent material 3 is made available. They state that confirmation of ownership of a card where the card holder
does not need to be 18 or over (such as a Debit, Solo or Electron card) would not be sufficient for this purpose. They also state that if age verification does not take place each time the user returns to the service, further access to such R18 content
when the user returns to the service should be controlled by the use of mandatory security measures such as passwords or PIN numbers.
ATVOD considered that the Service Provider had breached Rule 11 by having no CAC
system in place in relation to free material on the Service, and no effective CAC system in relation to paid access material on the Service. The Service provided R18 equivalent material without adequate measures to ensure that those under 18 would not
normally see or hear it.
In particular ATVOD's investigations of the Service found:
a. R18 equivalent material available to view free without registration.
The homepage of the Service (which appeared without a warning page as to the nature of the site's content or other indication that the material was unsuitable for under 18s) included a significant quantity of free material including
a banner window showing scrolling stills, a large number of thumbnail stills constituting links to available videos and movie trailers. These depicted R18 equivalent unsimulated sexual activity in explicit detail and could be viewed without registration
or payment (i.e. there was no CAC System).
b. R18 equivalent material available to view free with registration.
On registration, users were provided with a free ticket to rent
(i.e. view online) one full- length video for 14 days. Registered users could subsequently buy further tickets . Videos included material which was clearly R18 equivalent material involving unsimulated sexual activity in explicit detail.
c. Lack of an effective Content Access Control system at point of purchase.
Purchases could be made by debit card or SMS text message, neither of which did ATVOD consider to
constitute an effective CAC System. The material available to purchase was R18 equivalent and extensive.
The Service Provider replied to ATVOD on 4 October stating that the Service had been sold to an American company on 1
August 2012 and that the company Strictly Broadband Limited had been put into liquidation.
Ofcom uphold complaint about pre-watershed episode of American Dad!
|5th December 2012 |
See Broadcast Bulletin [pdf] from
FX, 11 August 2012, 20:30
American Dad is an irreverent animated comedy produced in the USA. It centres on a dysfunctional American family consisting of parents Stan and Francine, their children
(including son, Steve).
Ofcom was alerted by a viewer to scenes of violence in an episode of this programme broadcast before the 21:00 watershed on the FX channel, which included a character being stabbed with a knife and a
protracted assault on Stan.
The licence for the FX channel is held by Fox International.
We noted that the storyline revolved around Stan bullying his son, Steve, to make him stand up for himself. It
included at about 20:48 a flashback sequence of Francine's involvement in a knife fight when she was a teenager and stabbed and killed someone. This sequence lasted about 13 seconds and showed Francine with a punk haircut fighting another girl in an
underground fight club. Enormous slabs of raw meat were hanging from hooks on the ceiling, and the two young women were surrounded by a crowd of cheering men. The girl produced a knife and stabbed Francine in the shoulder. Francine pulled the knife out
of her shoulder, stabbed the girl in the stomach, punched her to the ground, and so killed her. Francine then triumphantly taunted the dead girl.
There was also a prolonged sequence lasting about 90 seconds broadcast at around
20:53 when Stan was repeatedly kicked and punched by a man who had bullied him severely when he had been a child. This section of the episode featured Stan: being tied to a children's roundabout and punched repeatedly in the face; being buried up to his
chest in the ground while a child's riding horse was used to beat him in the face; and receiving a powerful blow to his head. Stan's face showed the cumulative effects of the assault, with two black eyes, a broken nose and a badly swollen face.
Ofcom also noted there were three occasions when Stan, adopting the persona of a teenage bully, taunted his son by making sexual boasts about his mother (Stan's wife). For example, on one occasion after Stan stole Steve's bike, he
I'm gonna mount this and ride it hard. Like I did your mom last night.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code, which states:
Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Fox said that this programme should not have been broadcast in the form it was before the watershed. The fact it was broadcast at this time resulted from human error.
Breach of Rule 1.3
We noted there were two violent sequences in this episode. The fight involving Francine as a violent teenager in an underground fight club setting was intended to Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 219 3 December
2012 16 contrast with her current role as a caring mother in a comic way. Nonetheless, this sequence showed each character punching and then stabbing the other, with one girl dying, and Francine's delight in killing her opponent. The sequence showing
Stan being subject to a violent assault (receiving multiple kicks, punches and blows to the head without him fighting back, and showing his face at the end bloodied and bruised) was protracted. Ofcom's view was therefore that this material was unsuitable
Stan's sexual taunts to Steve about Francine were clearly made in the context of him fully adopting the persona of a bully to physically and verbally humiliate his son. The remarks were intended to shock Steve,
confronting him with the thought of his mother and father having sex. Ofcom's view was that this aggressive innuendo and sexualised language was unsuitable for children.
Ofcom concluded that children were not in this case
protected from unsuitable material by appropriate scheduling, and there was a breach of Rule 1.3.
40,000 fine for broadcasting blurred nudity, but just a 4,000 fine for broadcasting incitement to the torture of gays
|24th November 2012
See article [pdf] from
Ofcom have imposes a financial penalty of £4,000 against Asian Fever Community Radio for incitement to torture gays.
The Finding related to two episodes of the programme Sister Ruby Ramadan Special 2011 , broadcast on 17 August 2011 at
12:00 and 18 August 2011 at 11:00, each approximately fifty minutes in duration, which were broadcast in Urdu.
Ofcom found that two of the presenter's statements in the programme broadcast on 17 August 2011 were likely to encourage or to incite
the commission of crime or to lead to disorder. The statements were as follows:
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.
Ofcom found that these statements were likely to encourage or to
incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder. This was because Ofcom considered that the two statements could be objectively and reasonably regarded as not only condoning but encouraging violent behaviour against homosexual people.
of violence and hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation are prohibited by UK law. We considered that the broadcast of these two statements made by the presenter was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime, i.e. violence or other
unlawful acts motivated by hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. For the same reasons we concluded that these two statements were likely to encourage others to copy the sort of unacceptable behaviour towards homosexual people described by the
Ofcom found these and other sermons to breach their rules:
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 religious programmes.
Ofcom censures Peace TV for discussion about killing apostates
|21st November 2012
See article [pdf] from
Dare to Ask, Peace TV, 8 March 2012, 09:00
Dial Dr Zakir, Peace TV, 9 March 2012, 13:30
Peace TV is an international satellite television channel, which broadcasts religious and other programming from an Islamic
perspective. The licence for the channel is held by Lord Production Incorporated Limited. Lord Production is owned by Universal Broadcasting Corporation Limited ( UBCL ) of which Dr Zakir Naik is the Chairman. The IRFI is a UK registered charity
of which Dr Naik is also a trustee and Chairman. Dr Naik is of Indian origin and is an international speaker on Islam and comparative religion.
Following routine monitoring of Peace TV, Ofcom reviewed a number of
programmes on Peace TV and noted, in particular, the following content requiring further consideration.
Item 1: Dare to Ask, 8 March 2012, 09:00:
This programme consisted
of a speaker, Dr Zakir Naik, answering questions on Islamic theology in front of an audience. In response to a question as to whether or not apostates should be put to death, as part of his response, Dr Naik said the following:
One group of scholars, they say that if a Muslim, if he becomes a non- Muslim [inaudible] he should be put to death. There is another group of scholars who say that if a Muslim becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his new faith
against Islam then he should be put to death...I tend to agree more with the second group of scholars, who say that a Muslim, if he becomes a non-Muslim and propagates his new faith against Islam, that is the time this penalty is applied.
Item 2: Dial Dr Zakir, 9 March 2012, 13:30
At approximately six minutes into the programme, Dr Naik answered a question about individuals who criticise Islam. As part
of his response, Dr Naik said the following: Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 218 19 November 2012
As to those who wage a war against Allah...As to those who create mischief in the land you either execute them, you
either crucify them, or chop off the opposite limbs (that's right hand and left leg, or left hand and right leg), or you can put them in exile...This is the Islamic philosophy that everyone who wages a war against Allah...this is the consequence.
Ofcom consideed 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...humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...religion, beliefs and sexual orientation).
Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 2.3
In Item 1, a scholar on Islam, Dr Naik, expressed his views on two interpretations of Qur'anic texts on how apostates from Islam should be treated. He set out
both views and said he tended to agree more with the interpretation of Qur'anic texts which states that a Muslim who converts to another religion and who then propagates that religion should be put to death , as opposed to being put to
death simply for becoming a non-Muslim. In Ofcom's view, it is potentially offensive for any service to broadcast comments suggesting that it is acceptable to apply a penalty and kill any individual for renouncing their faith.
In Item 2, Dr
Naik answered a question about individuals who criticise Islam. As part of his reply Dr Naik stated that, according to the Qur'an, the appropriate response against those who wage war against Islam is to execute them, chop off their limbs, or exile
them. Dr Naik did not specify how he defined waging war against Islam. Ofcom noted that his reply was given in response to a question about individuals who criticise Islam. Ofcom considered that for an individual to state on air that it was acceptable to
execute, chop off limbs or exile anyone who waged war against Islam , where it was not specified what this phrase actually meant in practice, was potentially offensive
Ofcom concluded that the potential offence was not justified by the
context and the broadcaster did not apply generally accepted standards. Rule 2.3 was therefore breached.
Ofcom fine E! Entertainment for daytime showing of the bleeped and blurred Girls of Playboy Mansion
|17th November 2012
See article [pdf]
Ofcom has fined E Entertainment £40,000 for showing a censored version of Girls of Playboy Mansion during the daytime.
Ofcom investigated the programmes broadcast on 27 December 2011 at 10:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 21:001. Ofcom explained:
In Ofcom's opinion these episodes of Girls of 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 Playmate 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 the channel had previously fallen foul of Ofcom's censorship laws and
decided that a £40,000 fine was warrented
Ofcom launches further investigations into Channel 4's gypsy programmes
See article from
Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether Channel 4's Big Fat Gypsy Weddings unfairly racially stereotyped the UK's Gypsy and Traveller communities.
The TV censor has decided to investigate a complaint lodged by lawyers representing
the Irish Traveller Movement of Britain and a number of individuals that the communities were unjustly and unfairly portrayed and treated by Channel 4.
Ofcom has launched the investigation into the second series of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
and spinoff show Thelma's Gypsy Girls.
The censor will formally investigate the complaint lodged by ITMB's law firm, Howe & Co, which said that people from the Traveller and Gypsy communities were unfairly portrayed in an untrue and
damaging racially stereotypical manner . Howe & Co cited examples of unfair negative images showing the sexual assault of females as a cultural norm in these communities, depicting highly sexualised behaviour, and showing children as
wildly behaved, uncontrollable, foul-mouthed, illiterate, uneducated, violent and dangerous .
Ofcom has also decided that the complaint warrants a separate investigation into harm and offence, which is being handled by its 'standards' team.
Ofcom censors Russian propaganda supporting Syria
|9th November 2012
See Broadcast Bulletin [pdf] from
Russia Today, 12 July 2012, 10:00
Russia Today is a global news and current affairs channel produced in Russia, and funded by the Russian Government 1. In the UK, the channel broadcasts on the Sky digital satellite platform. The licence
for Russia Today is held by TV Novosti.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to a news report about the armed conflict in Syria between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition rebel forces. The complainant considered the news broadcast
was biased, because, in the complainant's view, an interviewee was crediting a massacre [in the Syrian conflict] to the rebels and not the government and was not challenged in any way .
A political commentator, Abayomi Azikiwe, interviewed
in the programme said that the backers of the Syrian opposition:
...have opposed any effort aimed at dialogue to bring about a political solution to this crisis. They have refused to acknowledge any type of
ceasefire. They have continued their aggressive activities against the Syrian Government, and as a result of that the Syrian Government has had no choice except to engage in these military manoeuvres that we've seen over the last couple of days. The onus
for the resolution of this crisis strictly lies with the armed opposition and also the opposition which is around the Syrian National Council as well as the other Islamist groups, which have refused all peace plans that have been put forward by the
United Nations Envoy, Kofi Annan.
Ofcom considered rule 5.1:
News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Ruler 5.1
After a long explanation, Ofcom concluded that, overall and on the specific facts of this case, the news bulletin broadcast at 10:00 on 12 July 2012 was not presented with due impartiality in respect of its treatment of the Syrian conflict. Ofcom
therefore recorded a breach of Rule 5.1 of the Code.
Ofcom noted that this breach follows other breaches of Section Five recorded against the Licensee in Bulletin 213 . Ofcom is therefore requiring the Licensee to attend a meeting to explain its
compliance procedures in this area.
TV censor whinges at innuendo in daytime speed dating show
|6th November 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
Channel 4, 2 and 9 June, 10:35 and 23 June, 09:50
Love Shaft is a speed dating series which was broadcast as part of T4, the weekend youth-oriented morning segment on Channel 4 aimed at 16-34 year olds. The programme is
largely set in a lift where a young male or female contestant seeking a date is presented with a series of potential dating partners as the lift stops at different floors. The contestant can only choose one potential partner to be with them in the lift
at any time. The aim of the programme is for the contestant to find a partner to take on a date by the time the lift reaches the penthouse floor. During the course of the programme, the voice of the lift (called Lift in the programme and in this
Decision) discusses events in the lift with the contestants and their potential dating partners, and makes comments about the participants. Meanwhile from the penthouse the family and friends of the contestants monitor the progress of the contestants in
the lift, consult with the contestant in the lift about their potential partners, and discuss the events taking place with the programme presenter in the penthouse bar.
Ofcom was alerted by a complainant to these three episodes of the programme
because they included adult themes throughout, sexual references and innuendo. They were broadcast at a time when young children were available to view on a Saturday morning. Ofcom reviewed the material and noted, for example:
Contestant Joel was
asked about his ideal girl. Joel replied:
I really love massive tits, a lovely arse...
The voiceover explained the premise of the programme:
[W]hen the lift stops
he [the contestant] will meet some hot to trot totty all desperate for a date in the lift with him but there is no room for a threesome...he will have a chance of a dream date with whoever is in the lift with him whether they are a stunner or a bummer.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code, which states:
Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Channel 4 stated that the
tone of this programme was cheeky, witty and full of entendre and risqué banter, especially from the voice in the lift who makes sassy and humorous remarks and asks probing questions to the contestant and potential date . The broadcaster
considered the programme was appropriate for a pre- watershed transmission and the content would not have gone beyond the generally accepted standards of the T4 audience and a T4 show.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3
The editorial premise of the programme was speed dating, in this case meeting potential dating partners after a brief experience of one another in a lift. Given this, the programme included a number of flirtatious sexual references and innuendoes
which were not necessarily sexually explicit when considered individually and in isolation. For example, Ofcom did not consider the words sausage and baps per se to be problematic.
However, in Ofcom's view, there were references and
language used in the programmes, including words such as massive tits and slut which were plainly sexual even when considered in isolation. Ofcom did not accept that children would not have understood the use of this type of language.
In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of all such references throughout the episodes was to heighten the adult nature and sexual theme. As such, Ofcom considered the material was unsuitable for children.
Breach of Rile 1.3
Cable and Satellite broadcasters propose PIN protected daytime TV that would currently be banned until the watershed
|30th October 2012
See article from
Broadcasters including Sky are seeking a rule change so that more adult TV could be shown pre-watershed if protected by a PIN.
The proposals being put forward by the Commercial Broadcasters' Association, a lobbying group for cable and satellite
broadcasters including BSkyB.
Currently peak-time dramas and comedies are not allowed to be shown before the watershed, unless they are cut to remove swearing, violence and sex. However, pay-per-view programmes and content on premium film
subscription channels are allowed before the watershed because viewers have to key in a pin code before they can watch them. Such a system is already in place for online catchup TV services.
The group representing broadcasters including Sky, UKTV
and MTV, has asked the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for regulations to be changed to extend this pin protection system to cover all other shows on cable and satellite channels.
It is understood that audiences would have to enter the pin
every time they wanted to watch a peak-time show before the watershed.
The Coba executive director, Adam Minns, said:
The system of pin protection is well established in the UK. It has proven to be effective
technically and is something with which audiences are familiar -- it is now used on a range of services. At the same time, it provides consumer protection that is arguably more effective than the watershed regime. Extending such a regime to other
services could potentially encourage innovative new forms of content delivery.
It is expected that such a move would need a consultation by Ofcom as it would require changes to the TV censor's broadcasting rules
Ofcom warn of licence revocation for Aden Live TV
|23rd October 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
Dama (Liverpool) Ltd holds the licence for Aden Live, a general entertainment service broadcast in Arabic.
On 8 May 2012, Ofcom imposed statutory sanctions on Dama for serious breaches of the Code . In the Sanction Decision, Ofcom stated that:
...in the absence of representations relating to the Preliminary View, Ofcom is directing the Licensee to provide information to Ofcom (details of which will be determined by Ofcom), including about the Licensee's
compliance procedures and arrangements in order to satisfy Ofcom that they are appropriate, and is asking the Licensee to attend a meeting with Ofcom to explain and discuss the same.
Dama has failed to comply with a direction to
provide specified information to Ofcom by no later than Friday 10 August 2012. Dama is therefore in breach of Condition 17(1) of the Licence.
This is a serious breach of Licence Condition 17(1) because, without the information, Ofcom cannot carry
out its statutory duties to assess whether Dama is providing the Aden Live service, whether it falls under UK jurisdiction for the purposes of directive 2010/13/EU (the Audiovisual Media Services Directive) and whether it is complying with its
obligations as a licensee.
The Licensee is put on notice that Ofcom is considering the imposition of a statutory sanction in this case which may include revocation of the Licence.
Ofcom easily offended by a few nasty words on a TV text chat service
|9th October 2012 |
See article [pdf] from
Chat Box, 6 July 2012, 21:23
Chat Box is an interactive chat messaging service that broadcasts on the Sky digital satellite television platform. Viewers are invited to send messages via premium rate text message to participate in
either a private exchange with another user or the text-based conversation shown on screen. The on screen conversation is moderated and hosted by a text jockey .
The licence for this service is held by 4D Interactive.
Interactive chat services predicated on premium rate telephony are classified as teleshopping services and so are regulated under the BCAP Code.
Ofcom received a complaint about offensive references to
cancer made by one of Chat Box's text jockeys. The text jockey made various comments to one of the users of Chat Box about another user he had encountered on another interactive chat messaging service (who had been purporting to be the text jockey and
with whom the text jockey had had various arguments via on-screen texts).
Text Jockey: lol it shows what a ghastly racist he is, i hope he gets cancer !, seriously i do :) cancer!
Jockey: lol banger 88 i hope he gets cancer .
Text Jockey: It's an evil disease and he needs a lil touch of it, In more enlightened times he would have been stoned to death haha, I have to say that I cannot defend the
jaw dropping racism he sends me daily, but its a reflection on him no one else, having the most ghastly disease on earth might be a leveller for people like him, showing him what a waste his life has been .
considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code, which states:
Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or
Ofcom Decision Breach of Rule 4.2
Ofcom noted the Licensee's acknowledgement that the material was unsuitable for broadcast. We also took account of 4D Interactive's
good compliance history and the measures it took to address the issues raised by this case in the form of an on air apology and extra compliance training for its staff. However, it was clear to Ofcom that the text jockey's repeated remarks in text
wishing that the customer gets cancer had the potential to cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted standards. Ofcom considered that it was unacceptable for the text jockey, representing the Licensee, to make comments of this
nature. The material therefore breached Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code.
Ofcom was concerned that the text jockey considered these comments acceptable for broadcast despite previous compliance training and his previous and extensive
experience as a moderator.
Breach of BCAP Rule 4.2