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A UK TV reference guide for walking on PC eggshells...

Ofcom categorise words according to their levels of 'offensiveness'

Link Here30th September 2016

Today's viewers and listeners are less tolerant than ever before of discriminatory or racist language, Ofcom research claims.

People also say they are more likely to tolerate swearing on TV and radio provided it reflects real world situations and is set in the 'right' context.

The findings are from new research on people's attitudes towards potentially offensive language and gestures in broadcasting, the biggest study of its kind carried out by Ofcom.

The research used a mixture of focus groups, in-depth interviews, online surveys and discussions involving people from around the UK. It looked at 144 words, exploring what people were likely to find unacceptable, and the reasons why certain words were judged to be offensive.

For the first time the research also included six offensive physical gestures and included some newer and more obscure language than when Ofcom last examined this area in 2010.

The research found that viewers and listeners take into account context, such as the tone, delivery and time of broadcast, when assessing whether offensive language is acceptable. People says they are more likely to tolerate some swearing if it reflects what they would expect to see in real world situations.

Clear racist and discriminatory language was the most unacceptable overall. Such words were viewed as derogatory, discriminatory and insulting. Many were concerned about them being used at any time, unless they were particularly justified by the context. Many said that discriminatory and racist words were harder hitting, carrying more emotional impact than general swear words.

Sexual terms were seen in a similar way to the stronger general swear words. They were viewed as distasteful and often unnecessary, but people said they found them more acceptable if used after the watershed, when they would be more prepared.

Occasional, accidental strong language before 9pm was seen as more acceptable on live TV and radio than in pre-recorded material. People agreed it was sometimes hard for broadcasters to control live programmes, but they were less accepting if they felt broadcasters had acted carelessly or deliberately.

Swearing substitutes, and the bleeping-out of offensive language, were viewed as less acceptable when used frequently. The research found that most people would often understand which word was being substituted, and so the effect was similar to using the actual word being used, especially if it was repeated.

Tony Close, Ofcom's Director of Content Standards Licensing and Enforcement, said:

We set and enforce rules to protect viewers and listeners from potentially harmful and offensive content on TV and radio. To do this, it's essential that we keep up to date with what people find offensive, and what they expect of broadcasters.

These findings will help us strike a balance between protecting audiences from unjustified offence, especially before the watershed, and allowing broadcasters to reflect the real world.

...And lets not forget that oh so important sound bite from Mediawatch-UK. Sam Burnett, of the morality campaign group said:

Ofcom is remarkably out of touch with the viewing public. This is just the latest signal of the declining standards on our screens.



Harry Hill begs Ofcom's pardon for an 8 year old Burp...

Flippant mockery of a trans documentary was acceptable 8 years ago but now has to be censored

Link Here30th September 2016

Harry Hill's TV Burp
Dave, 23 May 2016, 16:00

Dave is a television channel aimed at a predominantly male adult audience.

A viewer alerted Ofcom to an episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp including an item which referred to a Channel 4 documentary entitled The Pregnant Man . The documentary was about Thomas Beatie, a transgender male who was able to conceive and carry a baby because he had chosen to retain his female reproductive organs. The item intercut clips of the Channel 4 documentary with content featuring the comedian Harry Hill as he sat behind a desk in the studio and commented on the various clips.

The viewer considered that the item contained references which were offensive and discriminatory towards the transgender community.

The item started with  brief clip of the documentary including footage of Thomas Beatie and his wife, Nancy, was then broadcast, with the following voice-over from the original Channel 4 documentary: For years, he's been a devoted husband to his wife, so much so that when Nancy discovered she was unable to conceive, Thomas came up with a novel solution . [Images of a pregnant Thomas Beatie were shown]. He got pregnant . [This was immediately followed by laughter from Harry Hill's studio audience]... And continued in pretty much the same vane.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code:

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...gender...). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

The Licensee said it had given due consideration to this item prior to its broadcast, and had removed one minute of potentially offensive material from it, because it did stray away from mocking the documentary as a whole to mocking Thomas Beatie personally . UKTV argued that as a result of the edit, any potential offence had been sufficiently contextualised.

The Licensee also referred to the fact this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp was originally broadcast on ITV in December 2008 and had been investigated by Ofcom following complaints about the programme. Noting that Ofcom had not upheld these complaints, UKTV said that this does suggest that at the time neither the ITV audience nor Ofcom considered Harry's review of The Pregnant Man to be offensive or in breach of the Code .

Nonetheless, the Licensee acknowledged that public awareness of, and attitudes towards trans issues have changed since the episode was originally recorded in 2008. The Licensee therefore asked that Ofcom acknowledge that it had ruled on this episode in February2 2009 and did not find it in breach . It added that it felt that this is a pertinent point as it demonstrates not only that audience attitudes shifted, but those of the regulator have altered too

In conclusion, UKTV said that given the change in public attitudes to trans issues, it had therefore re-edited this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp to remove this item entirely from any future broadcast.

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

Given all the above, we did not agree with UKTV's argument that Thomas Beatie and his wife were not the object of Harry Hill's mockery. We considered on the contrary that the overall portrayal of Mr Beatie was significantly discriminatory towards him and to transgender people generally. This was because it presented, over a relatively prolonged sequence, Mr Beatie's transition as an object of mockery and humour, and could have been understood by some viewers as making a clear association between Mr Beatie and a Victorian freak show . We therefore considered that the material was clearly capable of causing offence.

Ofcom was of the view that Harry Hill's comments about Thomas Beatie had the potential to cause considerable offence, particularly to transgender people but also to viewers in general. Ofcom noted that the Licensee said it took steps to edit the item before transmission in an effort to limit the potential for offence (because it could have caused offence to the transgender community as it did stray from mocking the sensational titles of Channel 4 documentaries to mocking Mr Beatie personally ). UKTV also acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was first recorded and broadcast in 2008. We acknowledged that these steps taken by the Licensee helped to mitigate the offence to some extent. However, we considered that, even in its edited version, the item still had the potential to cause considerable offence in particular to the transgender community but also to the audience more widely.

Taking all the elements above into account, we were of the view that the offensive material would have exceeded the audience's likely expectations and was not justified by the context. We concluded that the material was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

However, Ofcom noted that the Licensee: did take steps to edit the item before transmission; acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was recorded and broadcast in 2008; and, had therefore edited out this item completely from this episode going forward so the item would not be broadcast again by UKTV.

In light of these steps taken by UKTV, Ofcom's Decision was to consider the matter resolved.



Commented: Undercover censorship...

Ofcom clears a few non explicit, non nude shots suggesting Love Island reality show contestants were having sex

Link Here15th September 2016

Love Island
30 June 2016, ITV2, 21:00

Love Island is an ITV2 reality programme in which a group of young single people look for romance while staying in a luxury villa.

Ofcom received seven complaints about the episode broadcast on 30 June 2016 at 21:00. Viewers objected to a scene in which housemates Emma and Terry had sex. This was broadcast shortly after the watershed.

The individual housemates got into bed with their partners. The lights in the communal bedroom were turned off and the following images were shown in the form of footage taken using night vision cameras:

  • Emma and Terry in bed together and kissing, with their upper bodies visible above the duvet (with Emma wearing a slip);
  • Emma and Terry looking at each other in medium close up;
  • a wide shot from behind of Emma as the duvet slipped from her shoulders down to her lower back, which indicated that under the duvet she was straddling Terry;
  • a series of three brief close-ups of Emma’s back and shoulders as the couple had sex; and
  • a shot from behind of Emma pulling the duvet back up over her shoulders afterwards.

These shots were interspersed with images of the shocked reactions of the other housemates in the villa's bedroom while Emma and Terry had sex, as well as interview footage of them afterwards recounting their view of what had happened.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 1.6: The transmission to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed…For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule.
  • Rule 2.3 In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to…sex…Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach of Rules 1.6 and 2.3

Rule 1.6

We noted that Love Island is a relatively well-established reality show format and that this episode formed part of the programme's second series (which began on 30 May 2016). The series focuses on the romantic entanglements of a group of young single people, and we recognised that sexual activity between housemates had occurred in this and the previous series, and is often a key element of the programme's ongoing narratives.

We took account of other specific contextual factors that we considered reduced the explicitness and overall sexual tone of the material. In particular, we observed that the images of the sexual activity were recorded using night vision cameras so that they were in monochrome and relatively indistinct, and the shots of Emma straddling Terry while they were having sex were very brief (approximately six seconds in total duration). We also noted that none of this sexual activity was shown in any explicit way: the couple were covered by a duvet below the waist and Emma was wearing a slip throughout, and there were no images of full nudity during these scenes. We considered that the use of music, and the intercutting of the shots of Emma and Terry with the housemates’ reactions, lightened the tone and further reduced the potential impact on viewers of the sequence. We also took account of the clear warning before the programme that alerted viewers to “scenes of a sexual nature”.

Ofcom had regard to the fact that the programme was broadcast on ITV2, a channel that is aimed at a young adult audience. In light of this, much of this channel’s postwatershed schedule includes reality programmes as well as films and comedies targeted at adults. We therefore considered it likely the audience would have a greater expectation for content potentially unsuitable for children to be shown shortly after the watershed on this channel, compared to the audience for the main ITV public service channel.

We also noted that this episode of Love Island was immediately preceded by a double-bill of the sitcom Two and a Half Men. This programme typically includes some limited discussion of adult and sexual themes and does not aim to attract child viewers. We considered these factors helped, in this case, to ensure that the transition to stronger material after the watershed was not unduly abrupt. In addition, given the brevity and relative inexplicitness of the content, we did not consider it amounted to the strongest material . For all these reasons, our Decision was that Rule 1.6 was not breached.

Rule 2.3

We considered that the Licensee had ensured that this potentially offensive material was justified by the context. Therefore, our Decision was that it did not breach Rule 2.3. In the particular circumstances of this case, Ofcom has found this material did not breach of the Code.

However, as noted above, we consider that content including real sex may carry a greater potential to raise issues under the Code than depictions of sex in a drama or film. Broadcasters should take particular care and exercise caution when scheduling material of this type soon after the watershed.

Moralists fall out of love with the TV censors

Of course a few moralist campaigners were non pleased by Ofcom's decision and were happy to provide the Daily Mail with a few sound bites.

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, whinged:

Schools work hard to encourage children not to experiment with sex and these kinds of programmes present sex as some kind of Victorian freak show, offered up for entertainment.

Sam Burnett, acting director of Mediawatch-UK, whinged:

Apparently it's now OK to show two people having sex nine minutes after the watershed as long as you play some jaunty music over the top of it.

Ofcom's lip-service regulation is leading to a freefall in television standards, and it's the viewers who are losing out.

Conservative MP Sir William Cash whinged:

The bottom line is that this was inappropriate. I would agree with those who have said it's deplorable.

Offsite Comment: The Daily Mail has a rant about Ofcom

15th September 2016. See  article from . By Stephen Glover for the Daily Mail

What IS the point of a TV watchdog if it rules a couple having sex on a mainstream programme is acceptable?



Update: Double Censorship...

Horror Channel put on final warning for showing a version of I Spit On Your Grave without all of the BBFC censor cuts

Link Here13th September 2016
Full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity
This is a fine example of double TV censorship. Ofcom demand that if a film has been subject to censorship then only a BBFC approved version can be shown. But the system is doubly biased in favour of censorship. Ofcom do not accept the converse, that a film approved by the BBFC is therefore suitable showing on TV (at the appropriate hour). Ofcom censorship rules still apply. So broadcasters effectively have to submit their films for both BBFC and Ofcom censorship.

Now Ofcom have put the Horror Channel on final notice for showing a version of the 2010 remake of I Spit On Your Grave that did not include all of the 17 cuts demanded by the BBFC. The Ofcom report is as follows:

Horror Channel is available free to air on cable, satellite and digital terrestrial platforms. The licence for the service is held by CBS AMC Networks.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a broadcast of the film I Spit on Your Grave – a 2010 remake of the 1978 film of the same name. Both films chronicle the sexual torture and subsequent revenge of the principal character Jennifer Hills. The complainant alleged that the version of the film broadcast on Horror Channel contained material that the British Board of Film Classification (“the BBFC”) had required to be cut before the film’s release in the UK.

The BBFC guidelines1 list “material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing” as an example of the type of content that may be cut as a condition of classification. The BBFC confirmed to Ofcom that, prior the film’s release in the UK, the BBFC had required 17 cuts to the version of the film submitted by the distributor before it awarded the film an ‘18’ certificate. The BBFC said that cuts were made “in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case, shots of nudity that tend to eroticise sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer complicity in sexual humiliation and rape)”.

At Ofcom’s request, the BBFC compared the BBFC’s 18-rated version and the version broadcast on Horror Channel. The BBFC confirmed that the version broadcast on Horror Channel was a combination of the distributor’s and the BBFC ‘18’ rated versions because some of the shots that it required to be cut for the film to have been awarded an ‘18’ certificate were still present either wholly or partially in the version broadcast on Horror Channel.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.22:

No film refused classification by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) may be broadcast unless it has subsequently been classified or the BBFC has confirmed that it would not be rejected according to the standards currently operating. Also, no film cut as a condition of the classification by the BBFC may be transmitted in a version which includes the cut material unless:

  • the BBFC has confirmed that the material was cut to allow the film to pass at a lower category; or

  • the BBFC has confirmed that the film would not be subject to compulsory cuts according to the standards currently operating.

Rule 2.1:

Generally accepted standards must be applied to contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.

The Licensee said the BBFC confirmed that the ‘18’ classification of the uncut version of the film related to its UK “theatrical release”.
With regard to Rule 1.22, AMC said that it had acquired the “theatrical release” version of the film from its distributor, which the Licensee “believe[d] complied with rule 1.22 prior to scheduling the film”. It said when initially viewing the content for compliance purposes, it had noted the presence of a “slate prior to the content indicating it as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) R rated version of the film, where the MPAA R rating is defined as ‘Restricted’”. The Licensee confirmed that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”.

AMC said its compliance process in this case included referring to the BBFC website to confirm whether the content had previously been awarded a certificate. It said that in the case of I Spit on Your Grave, the Licensee “found there to be two versions submitted to the BBFC and subsequently awarded an 18 certificate in 2010, one which had been cut by 43 seconds (duration [107 minutes 45 seconds]) and one passed as 18 uncut (duration [103 minutes 24 seconds])”. AMC said by contrast that the MPAA R rated “theatrical release” version of the film which had been broadcast had a duration of 101 minutes and 23 seconds, which was therefore shorter than the two versions described on the BBFC website.

The Licensee said that having been made aware by Ofcom that it had broadcast a version that had not been certified by the BBFC, it submitted this version to the BBFC for classification. AMC said the BBFC required six cuts to this version in order for it to be given an ‘18’ classification.

Ofcom Decision: Breech of ruler 1.22 and 2.1

Rule 1.22

We took into account that the Licensee’s confirmation that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”. We recognised that AMC’s compliance process included viewing the content in full prior to airing. However, we were concerned that the Licensee appeared in part to have based its decision to broadcast this version on the certification rating that had been awarded by an overseas organisation with a different set of standards to the UK’s film classification body. Moreover, particularly given the nature of the film in this case, we were concerned that the Licensee considered overall it had applied a sufficiently robust process to ensure compliance with Rule 1.22.

The broadcast of this material clearly breached Rule 1.22 of the Code.

Rule 2.1

Ofcom next considered whether adequate protection from the inclusion of this potentially harmful material was provided for members of the public. In this case the film was preceded by the following pre-broadcast warning by a continuity announcer:

“Now for a programme with a warning that comes in threes: strong language, violence and scenes of a sexual nature”.

This was followed by an on-screen slate which said:

“The following programme contains scenes which some viewers may find disturbing”.

However, bearing in mind that the version of the film broadcast contained a number of shots which the BBFC had specifically required to be cut as a condition of the award of an ‘18’ certificate, we did not consider that these warnings were sufficient to alert viewers to the potential harmful content within this film. Ofcom therefore considered that the Licensee had failed to provide adequate protection to viewers from potentially harmful material and had consequently not applied generally accepted standards. Accordingly, the material also breached Rule 2.1 of the Code.

Ofcom is concerned about the nature of these breaches and the adequacy of AMC’s compliance processes and therefore puts the Licensee on notice that further compliance failures in this area may result in the imposition of a statutory sanction. Furthermore, we are requesting that the Licensee attends a meeting to discuss the issues raised in this case.



Ofcom press censors...

The government and Ofcom discuss censorship powers for text based internet news

Link Here10th September 2016
Under the BBC's new 11-year operating agreement, known as its royal charter, its governing body -- the BBC Trust -- will be axed next year and censorship powers will be handed to Ofcom.

But industry sources have told us that this has presented a dilemma around online news, which has become a focus of recent discussions between the BBC, government, and Ofcom.

Abolishing the BBC Trust will effectively create a loophole in censorship powers, meaning the BBC will not be accountable to an independent body for the text articles it publishes on Ofcom does not have the power to regulate online news text and, in the case of the BBC, is reluctant to do so. It has no experience of regulating online text and is only set up to regulate video content.

Sources also said that Ofcom has made clear to the government that taking on this task for the BBC could set a tricky precedent. They expressed concern that if Ofcom begins regulating, the door is then open for these powers to be extended to other broadcasters and publishers. Would you end up with Ofcom regulating Mail Online? asked one person with knowledge of the matter.

Discussions are ongoing and no decisions have been made. An Ofcom spokesman said: We're still in discussions with the government on how the content of the white paper will be delivered.

A Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) spokesman said the BBC's draft charter will make clear how we are addressing this issue when it is published later this month.



'Did you sleep with the milkman?'...

TV censor puts the kibosh on Jeremy Kyle's daytime chat show from poking around in people's sex lives

Link Here23rd August 2016

The Jeremy Kyle Show ITV
27 March 2016, 11:25

The Jeremy Kyle Show is a popular daytime talk show broadcast on ITV, hosted by Jeremy Kyle, in which members of the public discuss relationship problems in a frank and often confrontational manner in front of a studio audience.

Ofcom was alerted by a complainant to an episode, broadcast on Easter Sunday1 morning, which, in the complainant’s view, featured inappropriate content for broadcast at that time.

The 60-minute episode included three separate items. The first item lasted for approximately the first 36 minutes of the programme, and centred on an individual called Sarah, her ex-friend, Kat, and Sarah’s partner, Carlos. The item also focused on the paternity of Kat’s baby and revealed the results of DNA tests involving three men (Carlos, Kat’s ex-partner David, and Luke, another man with whom Kat had had sex) one of whom might be the father of Kat’s child.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code:

Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 13

In our view, taken as a whole, the cumulative effect of: various sexual themes; examples of violent confrontations between contributors; and the significant number of examples of the sound being dipped to mask offensive language, produced content that was unsuitable for children. We have set out our reasons for this view below.

There were a number of sexual references from the very outset of the programme:

  • the first item was introduced by the following caption: “Did you sleep with my boyfriend and is he your baby’s dad?”;
  • a clip from a previous episode was broadcast in which Jeremy Kyle asked Kat: “Have you had sex with Luke? ...Have you had sex with Carlos?...Have you had sex with David?”.
  • Jeremy Kyle was shown asking Sarah if her partner Carlos had had sex with Kat. Sarah said Carlos could not remember and Jeremy Kyle replied: “He can’t remember having sex? How can you not remember?... You can’t remember having sex? [Addressing the audience] Can anybody in this audience, have you ever forgotten about having sex?”; and
  • Sarah referred to Kat smelling of “fish” and “raw sex” and having “a really bad smelly fishy smell”.
  • Sarah described watching Kat having sex, during which the bed made a “creaking noise” (at which point Jeremy Kyle imitated the sound of a creaking bed), and Sarah said she had heard “orgasm noises”. At this point Jeremy Kyle asked one of the programme’s security guards “do you know your average orgasm noise for a woman? I’ve got to ask you this, they’ll probably cut it out, have you got an orgasm face?”.

We acknowledged ITV’s argument that “the discussion of sexual matters in the editorial context of the attempted resolution of relationship issues is a very regular feature of the show”. However, we did not agree with the Licensee that the sexual references were “in no way a detailed or explicit description of sexual behaviour”. In our view, at various times the language and actions used by Jeremy Kyle and his guests gave a level of detail descriptive of sexual behaviour which would be unsuitable for children. We did not consider that the use of humour by Jeremy Kyle would have materially lessened the unsuitability of the sexual references to any children in the audience. Rather, at times we considered Jeremy Kyle underlined the detail in the discussion of sexual themes, for example, by imitating the creaking noises of a bed when referring to a couple having sex, and also asking one of the programme’s security guards whether he knew the “average orgasm noise for a woman” and whether the security guard had “an orgasm face”.

Given all the above we did not agree with ITV’s argument that taken together the sexual references were “suitably limited in terms of explicitness”. We took the view that the cumulative effect of all the above references throughout the episode rendered the material unsuitable for children.

Breach of Rule 1.3



A Whittingdale Whippet...

Ofcom recruits a new director presumably in the new role of BBC censor

Link Here5th August 2016
Ofcom has appointed Kevin Bakhurst, a former BBC news executive and currently the deputy director-general of Ireland's public service broadcaster, RTÉ, as its new content group director.

He will join the communications watchdog in October as it prepares to assume responsibility for overseeing the regulation of the BBC .

Bakhurst spent 23 years with the BBC after joining as a researcher in 1989. He went on to hold a series of key jobs in the news division, including editor of the 10 O'Clock News, deputy head of the BBC newsroom and controller of the News Channel.



Tens more TV censors at Ofcom...

Ofcom boss plans on extra staff for the upcoming extension of remit to cover censorship of the BBC

Link Here23rd July 2016
A new BBC charter will come into force next year which hands over much of the censorship and complaints handling to Ofcom.

Commenting on the plans for this new job, Ofcom's chief executive Sharon White says the new unitary board at the BBC must be strong enough to act as the first port of call for any complaints so that the regulator could be the backstop for the most serious issues: It will be for the BBC to deal in the first instance with accuracy and impartiality.

That means that despite the BBC attracting 10 times as many complaints as the total for the public service rivals currently overseen by Ofcom -- 250,000 v 25,000 -- White only expects investigations handled by her organisation to roughly double to about 500 a year. She is planning to appoint tens more people to cover the expanded role.

White also says she is opposed to making the regulation of its online content a statutory duty and that the BBC will simply be integrated into its current responsibilities for regulating all other public service broadcasters. She said:

We recognise that the BBC has special status, but we are not planning to give it special treatment. The advantage of [this] is it has to to be consistent and fair with the decisions we would take on ITV, Sky or C4.

White says she was personally very wary about new legislation to give Ofcom greater power to regulate the BBC's online content. Currently, it is regulated by the trust while there is no formal oversight of written content from other broadcasters. While the government white paper stressed that there would be no diminution in the degree of oversight on website text , White is keen to avoid statutory oversight, which would make Ofcom the first government-appointed regulator in the UK to regulate written content online.



A frightful cock-up...

Virgin media make a mistake and broadcast the 15 rated Stage Fright during the day without PIN protection.

Link Here19th July 2016

Stage Fright
Sky Movies Premiere1 and Virgin Media EPG, 26 March 2016, 13:00

Stage Fright was classified as a 15-rated film by the BBFC in 2014 due to strong bloody violence, strong language, sex references .

15 rated films are allowed to be shown during the day on encrypted subscription channels providing that children are protected by a mandatory PIN entry system.

The film was shown on Sky Movies Premiere via the Virgin Media cable platform but unfortunately a Virgin Media worker got the classification wring for a daytime showing. The rating was incorrectly entered into the system as PG rather than 15. This PG rating was then advertised to viewers via the Virgin EPG and also allowed viewers to watch the film without being bothered by the mandatory PIN entry. Ofcom wrote:

Sky and Virgin Media confirmed that the film Stage Fright had been available on Sky Movies Premiere on the Virgin Media platform between 25 March 2016 and 28 March 2016 with the following description on the Virgin Media EPG: Stage Fright PG Blood begins to spill after the daughter of a Broadway diva wins the lead in the summer showcase at a performing arts camp . The Licensees confirmed that during this period it was possible for a proportion of its viewers to view Stage Fright without mandatory restricted access on the Virgin Media platform.

Virgin Media said that although the Virgin Media EPG is not a broadcast channel, we apologise to any viewers who inadvertently viewed the movie based on the incorrect EPG PG rating . It added that this was caused by human error due toâ?¦exceptional circumstance[s] . Virgin Media said that while it had processes and systems in place which identified the errorâ?¦it was just highly unfortunate that [an] editor mistook the 2014 film with the 1950's film of the same title which was rated PG, To our knowledge this issue has never arisen previously . Virgin Media also commented that, although its third party supplier did have safeguards in place to prevent unverified [films] being played out, this required manual action. Unfortunately, on this occasion despite several prompts requesting verification of the [film] this was not actioned which resulted in the film being broadcast.

Sky commented that this i15 rating nformation for Stage Fright was correct on all of the Sky systems and therefore any metadata that was exported with the content should have automatically ensured that this was a '15' if it used our Information .

Ofcom censured Virgin for the mistake but considered that for Sky the matter was resolved.



Revenge via a nasty suffocation with red tape?...

Horror Channel edit of I Spit on Your Grave 2 submitted to the BBFC and passed 18 uncut

Link Here7th July 2016

Earlier this year in May, Ofcom announced that it was investigating a complaint about a broadcast of the remake of I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March. The sequel to the remake I Spit on Your Grave 2 was being shown at the same time and it was noted that maybe this could be involved in the complaint too. also pointed out that a January showing of I Spit on Your Grave wasn't actually a BBFC approved version. The website concludes that the Horror Channel did its own edit, which although cut, was stronger than the BBFC version.

Surely this complaint, and the possibility of interim versions, is behind this week's BBFC new classification of I Spit on Your Grave 2, submitted by AMC Networks International, owners of Horror Channel.

The BBFC passed this latest version as 18 uncut for strong bloody violence and sexual violence. The BBFC noted it as a pre-cut version. Assuming a PAL speed up, the running time is about half way between the uncut version and the cut UK version ( which is also the cut US Rated version). If the pal speed up theory is not correct, then the new cut was 3 minutes shorter than the cut UK version.

So perhaps the Horror Channel did indeed find an alternative version, and now in the light of investigation by the TV censor, has submitted that version to the BBFC for their opinion. Hopefully the BBFC passing this version uncut will help their case.

I wonder how much money been wasted by Horror Chanel execs, lawyers, Ofcom and now the BBFC, pursuing what was probably a single complaint on grounds of morality.



Offsite Article: Unbalanced...

Link Here5th July 2016
Ofcom censures Russian propaganda channel for not seeking Turkish propaganda as balance

See article from

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