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Ofcom Watch

2014: Jan-March

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Updated: ASA rule on email privacy (not that there is any)...

We only read your emails for 'good' reasons not like the other lot, who read your emails for any old reasons

Link Here30th March 2014

A radio ad, for Microsoft Outlook, began with a character who stated, Ymay ivatepray e-mailway isway onway ofway eirthay usinessbay. The voice-over then stated Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail, because Gmail scans every word of your e-mails to sell ads. But doesn't. And you can choose to opt out of personalised ads. To stop Gmail from using your e-mails, use Learn more at and keep your e-mails ivatepray .

Two complainants challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that Outlook offered greater privacy than Gmail, because they understood that Outlook also scanned the contents of all e-mails, for purposes other than targeting ads.

Microsoft Corporation stated their belief that offered greater privacy than Gmail because the latter scanned e-mails for the purpose of targeting ads, whereas only undertook protective scanning for viruses and spam. They considered that the scanning of e-mails for ad targeting in the Gmail system was a significant privacy issue, particularly as users could not opt-out, and referred to news articles which they believed reflected concerns of both consumers and regulators.

Microsoft stated that the ad focused on the scanning of e-mails for ad targeting, as this was a key distinguishing feature between and Gmail of which consumers might not be aware. They referred to a survey conducted on their behalf by a third party that stated that 64% of consumers are unaware that some e-mail providers scan e-mail content in order to target ads, and that 83% considered it an invasion of privacy.

Microsoft said that to not undertake protective scanning of e-mails would be irresponsible. They believed that it was expected, accepted and encouraged by both consumers and government regulators, and that it was an issue of great importance within the industry. They explained that this protective scanning was not mentioned in the ad because, unlike scanning to target advertising, scanning for viruses and spam was standard practice of which consumers were likely to be aware. Therefore, they considered that omission of this practice in the ad did not render it misleading. They also highlighted that protective scanning did not involve the collection and retention of consumer data, unlike scanning to target ads. They said that the superiority claim in the ad was limited to scanning for ad targeting, and that the ad made no claims (whether explicit or implied) that did not use any other form of e-mail scanning.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

We acknowledged that scanned e-mails for viruses and spam messages, and that this was not referred to in the ad. However, we understood that this was standard practice for e-mail providers and considered that listeners were likely to expect this type of scanning to be carried out as a matter of course. We noted that the ad referred explicitly to Gmail scanning e-mail content for the purposes of targeting ads, and that this reference was immediately followed by the statement doesn't . We considered that listeners were likely to appreciate that this statement was only in relation to scanning for ad targeting, rather than protective scanning, and that the ad did not state or imply that no other forms of scanning were utilised. We noted Microsoft's belief that the two types of scanning were different, as targeting required the collation and retention of data whereas protective scanning did not, and considered that the use of personal data was likely to be a privacy concern for some consumers. Because the ad made clear that the privacy claims were in relation to ad targeting, which does not carry out, we therefore concluded that the ad was not misleading.

Offsite Article: Microsoft: Let's be clear, WE won't read your email -- but the cops will

30th March 2013. See  article from

Redmond rewrites T&Cs AGAIN -- and taps up privacy warriors for help

...Read the full article



Update: Big Fat Lawyer Earnings...

The Traveller Movement obtains judicial Review of Ofcom investigation into claims against the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings TV series

Link Here25th March 2014
Full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended
The Traveller Movement, a campaign group supporting gypsies and travellers, has won permission to seek a judicial review against the TV censor Ofcom.

The group claims that Ofcom conducted a flawed and biased investigation into accusations by the movement and eight individual women that the The Big Fat Gypsy Weddings series on Channel 4 perpetuated racist stereotypes.

They also complain the Channel 4 series broke broadcasting regulations regarding consent, sexually exploited traveller children and caused untold harm to social cohesion by reinforcing misconceptions and prejudices.

Ofcom has indicated it will defend its actions and contends the gypsy case is unarguable.



What possessed Prime TV to falsely use BBFC rating symbol?...

Ofcom censure Prime TV for daytime exorcism complete with a false BBFC PG warning

Link Here 19th March 2014

Maya Khan Morning Show
Prime TV, 11 September 2013, 16:00

Prime TV is a general entertainment satellite channel. Predominantly serving the Pakistani community, it primarily broadcasts in Urdui. The licence for this service is held by PAK (UK) TV Ltd.

Maya Khan Morning Show is a general interest magazine programme hosted by the Pakistani presenter, Maya Khan.

Ofcom received a complaint that the programme broadcast on 11 September 2013 featured what purported to be real-life exorcisms carried out on two girls, aged 17 and 11, who had allegedly been possessed by jinni .

A 55 minute segement featured an 11 year old girl, Muqades, together with her mother and the same three Islamic Pirs.

At one point, Mt Nuri, one of the Pirs, blew into Muqades' eyes saying: Present yourself [referring to the alleged jinni possessing the girl] .

Muqades began growling like an animal, at which point Nuri put his hand around the girl's throat and the following exchange took place:

Nuri: I will burn you to ashes. Do you want to get burned or tell your name? I am not against you but against your act which you are doing with this girl. Tell your name. Introduce yourself. Perhaps we could help each other. Speak up.

Muqades: [speaking in a deep growling voice] Will you not beat me up?

Nuri: Yes. Carry on .

Nuri blew into Muqades' eyes and grabbed and held her by her hair. He then raised a bottle of holy water and said:

Will you tell your name or should I burn you? Should I burn you?

Ofcom considered:

Rule 1.27: Demonstrations of exorcisms, occult practices and the paranormal (which purport to be real), must not be shown before the watershed (in the case of television) or when children are particularly likely to be listening (in the case of radio). Paranormal practices which are for entertainment purposes must not be broadcast when significant numbers of children may be expected to be watching, or are particularly likely to be listening.

Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.27 and 2.3

We considered that the presentation of the two purported exorcisms in this programme was likely to be capable of distressing and upsetting child viewers. Both Annam and Muqades were presented as possessed by evil spirits which needed to be cast out. They both appeared to be in pain and anguish, and shouted and screamed, as though their behaviour was controlled by such spirits. We considered that this likelihood of upsetting child viewers was increased because the subjects of the purported exorcisms were both under 18, one of them only 11 years old.

We noted the Licensee's representations that it had recognised that the content of this edition of Maya Khan Morning Show was not suitable for daytime transmission and it had been broadcast as a result of an error . We concluded that the programme was in clear breach of Rule 1.27.

Ofcom noted that the programme began with the following written warning (in English):

General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitetable [sic] for some children. Unaccompanied children of any age may watch. A 'PG' film should not disturb a child around eight or older. However, parents are advised to consider whether the content may upset younger or more sensitive children.

Ofcom considered that this particular warning also failed to give any specific advice about the type of content featured in the programme. In addition, the warning was contradictory, indicating to viewers that some scenes may be unsuitable for children yet unaccompanied children of any age may watch.

In addition, we noted that this warning was accompanied by the triangular symbol for the British Board of Film Classification's ( BBFC ) PG (Parental Guidance) certificate. The symbol was also shown throughout the programme in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. Ofcom was very concerned at this use of the BBFC's Parental Guidance symbol on a programme that had not been certified by it.

While the Licensee may have considered it was suitable to apply a rating to the programme, it was clearly inappropriate to do so in a way which was likely to have led viewers to believe this version had been officially certified by the BBFC, when in fact it had not.

This episode of Maya Khan Morning Show was broadcast at 16:00 on a Wednesday well before the watershed and, as we have already pointed out, contained material that had the potential to cause considerable offence. Taking all the factors into account, Ofcom concluded that this potentially offensive material was not justified by the context. Ofcom noted from the Licensee's representations that it: did not seek to justify the broadcast of this programme before the watershed; said that it had been shown as a result of an uncharacteristic error ; and, had taken various measures to ensure a similar mistake would not happen again.

Ofcom was concerned about the nature of the breaches in this case. We therefore considered it appropriate to record breaches of Rules 1.27 and 2.3, and further to put the Licensee on notice that there should be no recurrence of similar compliance failures.

Breaches of Rules 1.27 and 2.3



Update: Ofcom go for the throat...

TV censor gets aggressive about an aggressive altercation shown in Channel 5's Big Brother

Link Here18th March 2014

Big Brother
Channel 5, 15 July 2013, 22:00

Big Brother is a well-known reality show, broadcast by Channel 5.

Ofcom received 165 complaints regarding this programme. Complainants objected to an altercation between two Housemates Daley Ojuederie ( Daley ) and Hazel O'Sullivan ( Hazel ). In summary, complainants were offended by:

  1. Daley's threatening behaviour towards Hazel (which led to Daley being called to the Diary Room by Big Brother to account for his actions); and

  2. Big Brother intervening too late after Daley's threatening behaviour started

The sequence commenced with Daley and Hazel initially in their separate beds within the Luxury House laughing and joking, when a pillow fight between the two ensued.

Daley was shown standing on Hazel's bed, looking over Hazel, who was lying on the bed. Hazel then reached up and pulled down Daley's shorts. He jumped off the bed and pulled his shorts back up.

The argument developed until...

Daley was then shown crouching down with his face very close to Hazel's.

Daley: [Whispering] Let me tell you something, little girl, have some respect for your fucking elder, 'cause if you don't...

Hazel: What will you do about it?

Daley: I'll finish you .

Hazel: [Sitting up in bed] I think I'd finish you quicker .

Daley: What are you talking about? Huh?

Hazel: Huh? It's OK, I'm not afraid of aggressive men .

At this point Daley used one hand to push Hazel down on to her bed by her throat, while saying:

Daley: Pipe down and go to sleep now, do you understand me?

Hazel then made an attempt to grab Daley's neck in a similar fashion, which Daley resisted.

Daley: Who do you think you are? Fucking Terminator or something?

Daley was shown leaning over Hazel, who was still lying on her bed, and then pinning Hazel's arms down by the sides of her body.

Daley: Don't fuck with me, do you understand?

Daley: [Miming hitting his head against Hazel's] Before I nut you one

Big Brother then interrupted the exchange as follows:

Big Brother: This is Big Brother. Would Daley come to the Diary Room?

Daley was summarily evicted from the Big Brother house.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 which states:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

In this difficult case Ofcom's view is that Channel 5 did take a number of steps to seek to contextualise the offence in this case, including compressing the incident into one broadcast so that viewers could see the outcome, and ultimately evicting Daley from the House as a result of his violent behaviour.

However, the decision not to edit the material for the purpose of limiting offence --despite its clear potential to cause offence -- coupled with the generalised nature of the pre-broadcast warning 40 minutes before the incident and the lack of clarity that Daley's conduct was unacceptable when Big Brother first intervened led Ofcom to conclude that the offence to viewers was not justified by the context.

For these reasons, on balance, Channel 5 did not apply generally accepted standards and Rule 2.3 was breached.



Beeping Battlecam...

Ofcom rules that bleeping isn't enough to mask strong language as easily offended viewers guess what was said

Link Here20th February 2014

Battlecam Comedy
FilmOn.TV, 15 November 2013, 15:30

FilmOn.TV is an entertainment channel broadcasting on digital satellite platforms.

The programme Battlecam Comedy was a recording of highlights of a stand-up comedy competition compared by Alki David, the owner of FilmOn.TV.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to adult material contained within the stand-up routines, that they considered inappropriate to be broadcast at 15:30.

Ofcom assessed the episode. Although all instances of offensive language had been bleeped , much of the comedy was adult in nature. By way of example, we noted the following: The first comic, while discussing what it would be like if he were a gynaecologist, mimed inserting his fingers into an imaginary woman's vagina. He then tasted his fingers and said syphilis?

Later, he said:

Men, we love you ladies, but we just love your [bleep] a little bit more...if we could remove the [bleep] from the chick and just take it to work and just pull it out and use it during the day in our 15 minute break...we would .

Ofcom also noted there were 48 occasions where strong language had been bleeped over the course of the programme's 16-minute duration.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3: Children protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .

  • Rule 1.16: Offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television)..., unless it is justified by the context. In any event, frequent use of such language must be avoided before the watershed .

  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence .

FilmOn said it was truly sorry and explained that an internal compliance request had been made before the broadcast to make sure that any offensive words are bleeped out when a show is shown outside of the watershed . The Licensee said that the problem is our compliance team have taken that literally and instead of taking into account the tone and suitability of a program they have just gone by our instruction and not used common sense

Ofcom decision: Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.16 and 2.3

Ofcom first considered whether the programme was suitable for children. We noted that the programme featured a series of stand-up comedy routines which made references to subjects of an adult nature frequently and throughout (see examples listed above). In Ofcom's opinion, broadcast material dealing so clearly, graphically and unambiguously in the context of comedy entertainment with adult subjects such as pornography, masturbation, sexual acts, and incest was clearly not suitable for children.

Ofcom understands that FilmOn.TV had only begun broadcasting a few days before 15 November 2013. There had therefore been little opportunity for the expectations of the potential audience for this new service to have developed. Nonetheless in Ofcom's view (as was acknowledged by the Licensee), the audience for freely available television channels broadcast pre-watershed would not expect material of this nature, clearly aimed at an adult audience, to be broadcast before the watershed.

When offensive language is bleeped, viewers cannot identify what expletives have been used but can of course guess. In its guidance Protecting the Under-Eighteens: Observing the watershed on television and music videos 1, Ofcom noted that: If the use of the masked offensive language in a programme is frequent, such that the programme requires multiple instances of bleeping, there can be a cumulative effect on viewers similar to that of the offence caused by repeated broadcast of the unedited offensive language.

Taking this into account, Ofcom considered that the 48 instances of bleeped language in this case did amount to frequent use of offensive language.

Although Ofcom acknowledges that FilmOn.TV was a new service at the time of the broadcast of this programme in this case, we were concerned that the Licensee's comments reflected a lack of understanding by its compliance team of the requirements of the Code. Licensees must ensure that they have compliance arrangements in place from the moment they start broadcasting to ensure compliance with the Code.

Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.16 and 2.3



Update: Unlucky to Get Caught...

Ofcom whinges at babe channels for linking to adult website without age verification

Link Here19th February 2014
Full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels
  • Get Lucky TV
    Get Lucky TV (channel 908), 9 October to 2 December 2013, various times between 21:00 and 05:30

  • Lucky Star
    Lucky Star (channel 909), 9 October to 2 December 2013, various times between 21:00 and 05:30

  • Party
    Party (channel 175), 9 October to 20 December 2013, various times between 00:00 and 05:30

Ofcom received a complaint that the website was being promoted openly on-screen on the service Get Lucky TV intermittently throughout the day. The complainant said that on accessing the Babestation website by means of this URL it was possible to view content which was clearly R18 and beyond . Ofcom viewed the Get Lucky TV channel and noted that references were made to the website by way of a graphic, positioned in the top left-hand corner of the screen, which showed the URL. Ofcom viewed the channel's output between the hours of 21:00 and 05:30 at various times and on various dates. On all occasions when the presenters were on screen, the URL was visible.

After receiving the complaint Ofcom accessed the website and noted and retained records, including video and screenshots, of the following:

  • The homepage featuring a selection of thumbnail images of women. On clicking on the image of a woman, the user was taken to a second page with further images of the woman and the option to see her in what was described as a ¡§live show¡¨ by selecting a choice of payment methods.

  • Ofcom noted that when scrolling through the homepage, a small number of the thumbnail images of the women were explicit, for example showing some with their legs open and their genital area fully visible. In one instance, the image was more explicit, showing a woman masturbating with her fingers inserted inside her vagina. These images were available to view without any restrictions.

  • Once a thumbnail image of a woman was selected and the user accessed the second page of images, the user was able to make payment to enable live webcam streaming and live interaction with the woman. The payment could be done through the use of a PRS number, which generated a PIN, which in turn could be entered into the website. This allowed full access to the website until the call was disconnected. Access could also be purchased by a credit card.

  • Ofcom noted that when the PRS number was dialled and the PIN received (or payment was made using a credit card), users were able to view the live webcam feed and interact with the woman in the original thumbnail via a text chat window. To the right of the screen, a scrollable window displayed live images from other webcam feeds and, in many instances, these were images of women masturbating (equivalent to British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) R18-rated content1). On clicking on any one these live images, users were taken to their chosen live feed, and many of these feeds included R18 equivalent material, predominantly of close-up images of the women's genitals as they inserted items such as vibrators into their vaginas.

  • When accessing these live webcam feeds via the PRS number the user was at no time asked to verify they were over the age of 18.

Ofcom considered BCAP Code Rule 30.3, which states:

Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only.

The Licensee accepted that there had been a compliance failure and apologised. It said it had taken immediate action following Ofcom contacting the broadcaster. This action included removing the Babestation URL from Get Lucky broadcasts and, as an additional measure, ensuring that anyone attempting to access the site was redirected to (which the Licensee said was managed by internal personnel and was wholly compliant with the BCAP Code).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 30.3

Ofcom noted that the Licensee apologised for this compliance error and has introduced new training and procedures as a result of this incident. Nonetheless the broadcast of promotional references to the website on Get Lucky TV for extended periods between 9 October and 2 December 2013 breached Rule 30.3 of the BCAP Code.

Ofcom was particularly concerned that in this case the advertising led to a website which contained R18 equivalent material without any appropriate age verification process.

 Breaches of BCAP Code Rule 30.3

Similar breaches of the rules were recorded against associated channels, Lucky Star, and Party.



Update: Bigger, Fatter, Richer Lawyers...

Traveller campaigners seek judicial review of Ofcom's decision to not uphold complaints about Channel 4's Big Fat Gypsy Weddings

Link Here13th February 2014
Full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended
A campaigning group representing the Gypsies and Travellers is seeking a judicial review of an Ofcom ruling dismissing concerns about unfair racial stereotyping in Channel 4' s Big Fat Gypsy Weddings.

The Traveller Movement claimed the TV censor treats powerful broadcasters more favourably than ordinary people. It is seeking a judicial review over Ofcom's decision in November last year to dismiss complaints that Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and spin-off Thelma's Gypsy Girls perpetuated racist stereotypes, broke regulations regarding consent to be filmed and reinforced misconceptions and prejudices towards the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Ofcom's ruling followed a year-long investigation, after receiving about 340 complaints about the show.

The Traveller Movement claimed Ofcom's ruling was reached following a "flawed investigation", with Channel 4 named as an "interested party" in the proceedings. It is also complaining that under Ofcom's standards procedures only the broadcaster, in this case Channel 4, is allowed to see and challenge a draft report of the investigation findings.



Mr Selfridge Moans...

Ofcom considers the depiction of sex in a pre-watershed showing of the drama, Mr Selfridge

Link Here9th February 2014

Mr Selfridge
ITV3, 30 September 2013, 20:00

Mr Selfridge is a fictional drama series loosely based on the lives of the London department store founder Mr Selfridge, his family and fictional characters representing various members of staff in the department store at the start of the twentieth century.

The series was originally broadcast on ITV at 21:00. This episode was part of a repeat of the series broadcast from 20:00 on ITV3, which specialises in repeats of programmes of contemporary and classic dramas.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a sex scene broadcast at 20:15 which featured the character Lady Mae Loxley, a London socialite, and Victor Colleano, a waiter at Selfridges & Co. The complainant considered it to be unsuitable for broadcast before the watershed. The scene in question took place in Lady Mae's bedroom and was approximately ten seconds in duration. It started immediately after the end of the first advertising break in the programme with sounds of heavy panting. It showed Victor on top of Lady Mae having sex and the couple reaching a sexual climax. During the sequence the couple were shown naked from the waist up, with the rest of their bodies covered by a duvet, and with Lady Mae's long hair fully covering her breasts.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.20 of the code which states:

Representations of sexual intercourse must not occur before the watershed (in the case of television)...unless there is a serious educational purpose. Any discussion on, or portrayal of, sexual behaviour must be editorially justified if included before the watershed...and must be appropriately limited.

ITV said that this period drama had very little content that would be problematic for children and was expected to appeal to adult viewers rather than children. Although ITV accepted that the scene was briefly sexual it considered it was editorially justified by the context because it revealed a turning point in the relationship between Lady Mae and Victor. ITV said that the scene was post-coital...and neither character was shown nude . It also considered that despite some sexual content the scene was sufficiently brief and that there was no explicit depiction of intercourse . However, ITV apologised for the offence caused and said it had reconsidered the content in light of the concerns raised. Consequently, the Licensee said it would edit the scene for any future scheduling before the watershed and would reserve the original version for 21:00 transmission only.

Ofcom Decision

Rule 1.20 states that any representations of sexual intercourse must not be broadcast before the watershed unless there is a serious educational purpose, and that any portrayal before the watershed of sexual behaviour must be editorially justified and appropriately limited. We noted ITV's comments that the scene was briefly sexual and that there was no explicit depiction of intercourse . Although the sequence was brief and only showed the characters' naked bodies above the waist, it clearly depicted the couple having sex and reaching a climax.

Given that this scene was featured in a period drama series for general entertainment, there was clearly no editorial intention for this scene to be considered as having a serious educational purpose as required by Rule 1.20. Further, it was Ofcom's view that, although this scene had some editorial justification in the context of this period drama, this was not sufficient (and nor was the sequence appropriately limited) to justify its broadcast in this programme at 20:15.

Ofcom took into consideration however that this scene was relatively brief, limited to some extent in what it showed, and was scheduled on ITV3, which typically broadcasts dramas with a greater appeal to adults. Ofcom also took into account that ITV would edit the scene for any future showings of this programme before the watershed. We therefore concluded that this matter should be resolved.



Investigating Crimes Against Compliance...

Investigation Discovery set for sanctions after crime reconstruction series found to be too violent for daytime TV

Link Here25th January 2014

 Deadly Women
Investigation Discovery, 16, 18 & 20 August 2013 at various times during the day

Deadly Women is a true-life crime series about female killers. Each episode, which had a scheduled duration of 60 minutes, relayed the crimes of three different murderers through dramatic reconstructions of specific crimes and interviews with experts in criminal behaviour, including forensic pathologists. It is TV-14 rated for US TV.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to graphic depictions of violence contained within an episode broadcast at 09:00 on 20 August 2013. Ofcom assessed this episode, along with another seven episodes shown between 06:00 and 17:00 on 16 and 18 August 2013. We noted that each episode was preceded by variations of the following warnings:

  • The following programme contains scenes of a violent nature which some viewers may find disturbing ; or

  • The following programme contains scenes of murder or violent crimes that have been re-enacted.

We had concerns about a large number of the dramatic reconstructions included within the series.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 1.3: Children protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .

  • Rule 1.11: Violence, its after-effects and descriptions of violence, whether verbal or physical, must be appropriately limited in programmes broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television)...and must also be justified by the context .

  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context... .

Discovery apologised for the broadcast of this content. The Licensee stated that: We accept that some of the content in these episodes was beyond the expectations of a daytime audience, even on a specialised crime channel such as [Investigation Discovery]. The Licensee also said that upon being alerted to the original complaint in this case, the content was reviewed and then immediately taken out of the daytime schedule.

It said that all the programmes in this case had been from series six of Deadly Women and none of these programmes were intended for transmission in daytime . While all the other series of Deadly Women had been correctly certified as post watershed , Discovery said that this had not happened in the case of series six. The Licensee stated that this deeply unfortunate incident had occurred as a result of an error of judgement by a less experienced member of the re-versioning team during the certification process for series 6 [which] meant that it was accidentally certified as suitable for audiences with a low child index .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rules 1.3, 1.11 and 2.3

Ofcom considered that these programmes were unsuitable for children, and that a number of the episodes would have been likely to have greatly troubled younger viewers in particular.

Ofcom reminds all broadcasters to ensure they are adequately resourced to ensure all their programming complies with the Code. Further they must have sufficient resources and appropriate arrangements in place to monitor as necessary output as it is broadcast to ensure that if, as here, a compliance mistake is made the licensee has a reasonable opportunity to spot the error and correct it before broadcast. In this case, the Licensee was seemingly unaware that it had broadcast wholly unsuitable material before the watershed until it was alerted by Ofcom.

We considered that the repeated broadcast during the daytime of very violent material in the form of prolonged and disturbing dramatic reconstructions of torture, mutilation and murder resulted in serious contraventions of the Code. Ofcom therefore puts the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches of the Code for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.11 and 2.3

Update: And again

4th February 2013. See  article [pdf] from

Scorned: Crimes of Passion
Investigation Discovery, 24 September 2013, 17:00

The Ofcom complaint was re-run in the following Complaints Bulletin with the same compliancy process failure blamed for an incorrectly scheduled programme. And another breach of Rule 1.3 recorded

Update: And again

4th February 2013. See  article [pdf] from

Embarrassing Bodies
TLC (Poland), 25 July 2013, 14:00

TLC (Poland) is a channel run by Discovery. Again the issue was a daytime broadcast of a post watershed content. This time the issue was a programme about sexual problems. Discovery argued that factual information about sexual health was not so much of an issue in Poland. But again Ofcom recorded a breach of Rule 1.3.



Widespread Offence of One Person...

Ofcom censors mildly sexy material after 10pm on babe channel, Red Light 2

Link Here10th January 2014
Full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Red Light Central
Red Light 2, 31 August 2013, 22:00

Red Light Central is interactive adult sex chat advertising content broadcast on the service Red Light 2, which is available freely without a requirement for mandatory restricted access on Sky channel number 902. The licence for this service is owned and operated by Playboy UK TV Limited.

Ofcom received a complaint that at 22:10 two female presenters appeared on-screen together miming sexual acts with one another. The presenters, who wore white thongs and white lace vests (which for much of the time were pulled down to reveal their breasts), were in a set designed to look like a bathroom. During the broadcast they were shown touching each other's breasts and buttocks, rubbing their breasts against each other and miming sexual acts together. At approximately 22:48 the presenters went into the bathtub and rubbed water onto each other's breasts and buttocks and continued to mime sexual acts such as masturbation and oral sex. The presenters, when addressing the viewers, said that this was a special two for one and it was the first official two for one on the service and that the presenters were horny for each other .

Ofcom considered Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code, which states:

Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards. .

Ofcom also considered censorship rules for babe channels published in February 2013: licensees should:

Take particular care if two or more presenters appear together on-screen. If there is any contact between the presenters of an erotic or sexual nature (for example kissing, stroking or contact between thighs, breasts or genital areas) or any miming or simulation of a sexual act performed by one presenter on another, in Ofcom's view there is a high risk of causing serious or widespread offence against generally accepted standards.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of BCAP Code Rule 4.2

Between 22:10 and 22:48 the two female presenters adopted a variety of sexual positions, such as on all fours with their buttocks facing the camera, and lying back with their legs apart, and touched, stroked and rubbed one another with the intention of making viewers think that they were engaging in sexual acts with one another. These acts, which were mimed, included stroking the other's buttocks and massaging the other's breasts, rubbing their breasts together, and miming oral sex as one presenter lay back with her legs apart. In addition, the presenters moved continuously rubbing their bodies together so that their breasts rubbed against the other's body, including her buttocks. At 22:48, the two presenters got into the bathtub, pulled each other's tops down to their waists, and rubbed water and foam into one another's breasts. In addition, one presenter sat in the bathtub with her legs wide open as the other presenter mimed oral sex.

Ofcom noted that the actions were mimed and no genital or anal detail was visible. However, in Ofcom's view the material clearly showed continuous contact between the presenters as they stroked each other's breasts and buttocks and the material featured the miming of sexual acts by one presenter on the other. This is clearly at odds with the Guidance. In Ofcom's view, the broadcast of this material in adult chat advertising content was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Ofcom has noted that in this instance the Licensee accepted immediately that this content was at odds with the published Guidance. Ofcom therefore advises licensees, providing similar long-form advertising and PRS material, that to ensure compliance with the BCAP Code there is no contact between presenters of an erotic or sexual nature when two presenters appear on-screen at the same time.

Preliminary View: Breach of BCAP Code Rule 4.2



For Services to Censorship...

TV censor made a dame in the 2014 New Year Honours list

Link Here4th January 2014
The Chairman of the TV censor Ofcom, Colette Bowe has been appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to media and communications.

An article in Tablet, the international catholic news weekly, revealed her religious background, perhaps explaining some of the moralistic censorship of UK TV channels, particularly adult TV. Bowe is a director of Tablet magazine.

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