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Ofcom Watch

2015: April-June

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Plunging Viewing Figures...

Ofcom decides not pursue censorship of sexy dresses on Britain's Got Talent

Link Here30th June 2015
TV censor Ofcom will not be investigating complaints about sexy outfits worn by Britain's Got Talent judges Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.

Some 89 viewers whinged to the censor and a few more contacted ITV, claiming that the pair's outfits with plunging necklines, were inappropriate for a family show .

An Ofcom spokesman explained:

We assessed a number of complaints about the clothing worn by two female judges being unsuitable before the watershed, but won't be taking the matter forward for investigation. In our view, the dresses appropriately covered the judges and they were not portrayed in a sexualised way.

Amanda Holden previously spoke about the whingers saying in The Sun:

I don't give a shit. Well. It's important we listen to everyone's voice but 50 complaints in 10.5million viewers is a 0.000005 per cent share. Plus, I think an Amanda Holden Chest Appreciation Society would have more than 50 members.



No More Trust...

Government denials suggest that Ofcom looks set to be given the job of censoring the BBC

Link Here26th June 2015
Government sources have denied reports that media regulator Ofcom was set to take over regulation of the BBC.

The forthcoming green paper on the BBC is likely to call for the abolition of the BBC Trust without backing an alternative regulator, according to sources close to the government.

There is going to be an open consultation, said one source. To say a decision has been taken is just nonsense.

Options for alternative regulatory structures are likely to form part of the green paper set to be published before parliamentary recess on 20 July. The consultation exercise is likely to include a cross section of people within the industry as well as the public.

According to sources, there are due to be four or five key themes that the green paper will explore, including governance and, perhaps more controversially, privatisation or part-privatisation of BBC Worldwide .



Pandering to the easily offended...

Ofcom reports on audience attitudes to TV, internet TV, and radio

Link Here20th May 2015
Ofcom has published a survey on audience attitudes to TV and radio. This covers what people find 'offensive' on TV and radio, their awareness of and attitudes towards censorship, and their understanding of advertising and product placement. Unsurprisingly the survey supports Ofcom in its role in 'protecting' viewers, especially children.

The survey reported that most people (79%) had not been offended by anything on TV in the past year. However, one in five had found something offensive, rising to a third (33%) for people aged 65 and over. Those aged between 16 and 24 were least likely to be offended (9% compared with 33% of over 65s). Of course these figures exaggerate the 'offensiveness' of TV as they include people who have reported, minimal offensive programming ,or even just one incident in a year.

Of those who had been offended, bad language (44%), violence (41%) and sexual content (41%) were the top issues. Adults below 45 years old were more likely to say they had been offended by some type of discrimination (29% compared with 19% of over-45s).

On average, about half of all people thought current levels of sex (57%), violence (47%) and swearing (52%) on TV were acceptable. 43% felt there was too much violence, 40% too much swearing, while 28% said there was too much sex.

The vast majority of adult TV viewers (90%) knew about the 9pm watershed, with 57% saying about 9pm was the right time while 27% said the watershed should be later.

The report found a clear understanding about broadcast content is controlled via censorship rules, with 82% of adults aware that TV is censored. Most adults felt the current levels of TV and radio censorship were about right (61%), or did not have an opinion (18% for TV and 33% for radio).

Ofcom noted that it has a duty to 'protect' viewers from supposedly harmful and offensive material on TV and radio, as well as TV like content on internet connected devices.

Ofcom also notes that it is working with government, other censors, and industry bodies to bring about a common framework for media standards applying to TV, on-demand and radio. This will help ensure people are 'protected' and understand what is censored, and the protections in place.



Lack of Trust...

Tories keen that the TV censor Ofcom should extend its reach to include the BBC

Link Here14th April 2015

George Osborne has signalled that he favours the handover of BBC regulation from the BBC Trust to the current media censor Ofcom. Speaking to the Radio Times, Osborne said:

The trust arrangement has never really worked. I've never understood why the BBC is so frightened of regulation by Ofcom. It's not as if ITV is poorly regulated. Ofcom has proved itself to be a robust regulator.

The BBC Trust was established in 2007, taking on the responsibilities formerly exercised by the board of governors for setting a strategic direction for the BBC and exercising oversight of its work in the supposed interests of licence-fee payers.



Attitudes to Online and On Demand Content...

Ofcom publish report noting that parents are most worried by their kids watching violent internet video

Link Here2nd April 2015

Parents are more worried about their children being exposed to violent videos than pornography or bad language, according to new research. A report from Ofcom reveals that violent images tops the list of concerns for parents when it comes to their children watching footage on the internet.

The report by the TV censor ranked the concerns of parents, with 39% of those who had expressed worries naming violence as a key issue, sexually explicit content and bad language followed shortly after with 33% and 28% respectively.

Vivienne Pattison, director of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said:

The people that I speak to are terribly concerned because of tablets and smartphones because people can just wander off with them.

This is a whole new level of challenge that parents have never had to deal with before. Devices are so small now and they move, we're still working this out and we're playing catch up.

She added that she was not surprised violence came out on top of the list and said the results chime with her own research.

The Ofcom report, Attitudes to Online and On Demand Content , claimed that more than one in ten people who had watched videos online has seen something that concerned them. An Ofcom spokesman said:

We know children now watch programmes in a variety of ways, and on different devices, and we recognise this poses new challenges for parents and regulators. This is why we're working closely with the Government and other bodies, like the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, to ensure children are protected across different media.

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