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Ofcom Watch


2019: Oct-Dec

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As censorial as a motherfu...

Advert censor bans alcohol free beer poster alluding to strong language


Link Here18th December 2019

An outdoor poster ad for an alcohol-free beer by BrewDog, seen in October 2019, included text which stated SOBER AS A MOTHERFU next to the image of a beer can with the text BREWDOG, PUNK AF and ALCOHOL FREE IPA written on it.

The ASA received 26 complaints:

  1. All the complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

  2. Sixteen complainants also challenged whether the ad was inappropriate for display in a medium where it could be seen by children. Response

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA understood the ad was featured in billboard media on which no restrictions had been placed and that it was therefore viewable by a general audience, including children.

One complainant identified that the ad was placed immediately outside a primary school. We considered older children and adults who saw the ad would understand MOTHERFU was a truncated version of the expletive motherfucker. We acknowledged that the word was not displayed in its entirety; however, we considered the word motherfucker was clearly being alluded to, and motherfu would therefore be understood as a clear reference to that swear word. We considered that word was so likely to offend a general audience that such a reference should not appear in media where it was viewable by such an audience. We concluded the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence and that it was not appropriate for display in media where it could be seen by children.

The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told BrewDog plc to ensure they avoided causing serious or widespread offence by, for example, avoiding references to expletives in media targeted to a general audience which included children.

 

 

Stumped...

TV censors sledge Sky Cricket over strong language caught by on field microphones


Link Here16th December 2019

The Ashes, Sky Sports Main Event, 24 August 2019, 13:50
Live Vitality T20 Blast Cricket, Sky Sports Main Event, 4 September 2019, 20:10
Ashes Cricket, Sky Sports Ashes, 14 September 2019, 13:40

Ofcom received complaints about the broadcast of offensive language across three separate live cricket matches.

In the live coverage of The Ashes on 24 August, a player who had just been bowled out could be heard shouting fuck off...fucking prick...fuck you as he walked off the pitch, while the commentators discussed the bowler's achievement.

In the live coverage of T20 Blast Cricket on 4 September, a player shouted fuck .

In the live coverage of Ashes Cricket on 14 September, a commentator said they haven't got a fucking clue.

Sky explained that during the 24 August broadcast the use of an on-board camera microphone led to the strong language being captured. It said that upon realising this, the production team cut to a replay and did not return to the player.

The Licensee said that the use of a stump microphone during the 4 September coverage, which allows for dramatic sounds to be captured as the ball strikes the wicket, picked up background language from the batting player nearby.

Sky said that the incident on 14 September occurred due to the commentator David Gower believing his microphone had been muted following his passing of commentary duties from the studio to the match team. It said that upon realising this, the production team muted all microphones and requested that Gower's fellow commentator Shane Warne offer an immediate on-air apology, which was delivered immediately. It said that this apology would have lessened any offence that may have occurred.

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom took into account that the language had been broadcast live in error and that the Licensee had taken steps to prevent recurrence. However, in the case of The Ashes broadcast, the most offensive language was delivered in an aggressive manner and appeared to be directed at an individual (fuck off...fucking prick...fuck you).

Ofcom found both incidents to be breaches of their censorship rules.

Of David Gower's mike error:

Ofcom took into account that the language had been broadcast live in error and the steps taken by the Licensee to prevent recurrence. We also took into account that an on-air apology was delivered immediately. Ofcom's Decision therefore is that this matter is resolved.

 

 

Commented: Another radio station gets in trouble for airing the banned song Melting Pot...

The song was written 50 years ago to promote racial harmony, but some of its terms are now dated and considered 'problematic'


Link Here 9th December 2019

Geoff Ruderham
Black Diamond FM 107.8, 2 September 2019, 12:23

Black Diamond FM is a community radio station in East and Central Midlothian. The licence for this service is held by Midlothian Community Media Association (MCM).

Ofcom received two complaints about offensive language in the music track Melting Pot by Blue Mink broadcast in a music programme presented by Geoff Ruderham. No introduction to the track was broadcast, or any other content discussing it. The track included the following lyrics:

“Take a pinch of white man,
Wrap him up in black skin,
Add a touch of blue blood,
And a little bitty bit of Red Indian boy.
Oh, Curly Latin kinkies,
Mixed with yellow Chinkies,
If you lump it all together
And you got a recipe for a get along scene;
Oh what a beautiful dream
If it could only come true, you know, you know.

What we need is a great big melting pot,
Big enough to take the world and all it’s got
And keep it stirring for a hundred years or more
And turn out coffee-coloured people by the score”.

Ofcom recently published a Resolved Decision for the broadcast of this track by another radio station, Gold. Ofcom were not happy about the broadcast but because the radio station had apologised and promised not to do it again, Ofcom said the matter was resolved.

We considered that references in the lyrics (including yellow Chinkies, Red Indian boy, curly Latin kinkies and coffee-coloured people) raised potential issues under the following Code rule:

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, offensive language discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of race ) Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

We considered the demographic of the station's audience as set out in its Licence, which makes clear that it has a particular focus on youth and disadvantaged communities. We considered that young people would be unlikely to have an existing knowledge of Melting Pot and the contextual background of the track's release and would therefore be an audience more likely to require contextual justification to mitigate the potential for offence -- for example, some on air explanation of the song's purpose at the time of its release, or a warning about the language it included. Ofcom's offensive language research, which was conducted with people of all age groups, shows that the use of derogatory language to describe ethnic groups carries a widespread potential for offence. Therefore, in Ofcom's view, the likely audience expectations did not mitigate the potential for offence in this case.

Breach of Rule 2.3

Update: A melting pot of offence

9th December 2019. See article from reprobatepress.com

So is the modern age, with its tightly proscribed wrong words and correct words, made for an any more harmonious society? Doesn't seem so to me. Society is more fractious now than it has been for a long time.

 

 

Surely a job for diplomats, not TV censors...

Ofcom set to investigate complaint against Chinese propaganda channel CGTN


Link Here29th November 2019
Full story: Diplomatic Censorship at Ofcom...Ofcom get caught up in international relations

A former employee of the UK's consulate in Hong Kong has filed an official complaint to Ofcom about the broadcast by China's state-run CGTN of a confession he says he was forced to make.

Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK government for almost two years, was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in August. Mr Cheng says he was forced to confess to soliciting prostitution.

CGTN aired the confession in the UK as evidence of his alleged guilt.

The channel is the international arm of China Central Television (CCTV) and airs on UK platforms including Sky.

Ofcom told the BBC: We have received a complaint about a programme broadcast on CGTN which we are assessing as a priority.

In September, the media regulator said it was investigating whether CGTN broke impartiality rules in its coverage of the Hong Kong demonstrations. In May, it launched an investigation into a confession aired by CGTN of a British investigator.

 

 

Rest in Peace Peace TV...

Ofcom suspends broadcasting licence after repeated broadcast of religious material inciting murder


Link Here28th November 2019
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Ofcom issued a draft notice to suspend the broadcasting licence of Club TV Limited, after its channel Peace TV Urdu repeatedly rebroadcast material that we had previously found incited murder.

Ofcom has a duty to suspend a broadcast licence if we are satisfied that the licensee has broadcast a programme likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime; that it has therefore contravened its licence conditions; and that the contravention justifies the revocation of the licence.

On 18 November 2019, having received Ofcom's draft suspension notice, Club TV surrendered its licence. Its sister company Lord Production Inc Limited, which held the licence to broadcast the English language Peace TV service, also surrendered its licence at the same time.

The Peace TV and Peace TV Urdu services are no longer broadcasting.

 

 

Strong words...

Ofcom to consider sanctions for a channel airing threatening language directed at a critic of the sikh faith


Link Here24th November 2019
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Ofcom has rapped KTV, a channel broadcasting to UK Sikhs, for a show in March 2019, in which a viewer complained of material shown in the live discussion programme Panthak Masle .

Presented by Jagjit Singh Jeeta, it featured a panel of guest contributors, five of whom were spiritual and community leaders. The topic of discussion was Harnek Singh, also referred to in the programme as Neki, a Sikh radio presenter resident in New Zealand who has been raising questions on and criticising various aspects of the Sikh faith since 2013.

The viewer complained that the programme was likely to encourage or incite crime or violence. The complainant said that the programme tried to incite fear and terror towards Harnek Singh and included threats of violence directed towards him.

KTV said that during the live discussion, the presenter was shocked -- and didn't expect this sort of language from such religious people. It said that the host initially did not know how to react but maintained his professionalism and later did mention that these comments were not the views of KTV and that Ofcom would not appreciate them. KTV added that after the programme, the host was extremely upset as he felt he had been misled by the guests and was shocked that such religious members of the community would behave in such a way.

Ofcom considered the Licensee failed to provide sufficient and effective challenge or context to the extreme views presented within this programme. For all the reasons, Ofcom considered that the programme provided a platform for several guests to express views which amounted to indirect calls to action and were likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder. In Ofcom's view, this indicated a fundamental lack of understanding of the Licensee's compliance obligations under the Code.

Ofcom considered the breaches in this case to be extremely serious. Ofcom has put KTV on notice that it will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

 

A warning to babe channel broadcasters...

Ofcom announces a targeted monitoring exercise to ensure that babe channels are following the rules


Link Here19th November 2019
Full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Note to Broadcasters

Daytime chat and adult chat television services

Recent complaint assessments and investigations1 about television channels promoting telephone chat services have highlighted concerns about the sexual nature of content on some of these services. This note reminds broadcasters responsible for such services of Ofcom’s guidance on daytime and adult chat services.

Channels promoting audience interaction through premium rate services are subject to the BCAP Code as they are long-form advertising services. The BCAP Code contains rules that ensure audiences, including children, are protected from material that may cause them harm or is offensive.

Ofcom’s guidance published in July 2013 states that channels offering ‘daytime chat’ and ‘adult chat’ services must be placed within the ‘adult’ or similarly identified section of a platform’s electronic programme guide. The guidance also clearly sets out what Ofcom considers to be acceptable to broadcast on these services, both before and after the watershed.

During daytime chat content, presenters’ dress and behaviour should be non-sexual in tone and apparent intent. Therefore, presenters should wear clothing that adequately covers their bodies (in particular their breasts, genital areas and buttocks). Presenters should not wear revealing underwear, swimwear, gym wear or fetish clothing.

Between 21:00 and 05:30 on cable and satellite platforms and midnight and 05:30 on terrestrial platforms, broadcasters may promote adult chat services. Adult chat broadcasters should ensure that the transitions to more adult material at 21:00, and from adult chat to daytime chat at 05:30, are not unduly abrupt. For example, no shots of bare breasts should be broadcast before 22:00. Additionally, the guidance lists examples of content that these broadcasters should avoid altogether. These include images of presenters’ anal, labial or genital areas, real or simulated sex acts and sexually explicit language.

Ofcom has made clear to licensees in published decisions what sort of material is unsuitable in daytime chat or adult chat advertising content broadcast without mandatory restricted access.

Ofcom is putting daytime chat and adult chat broadcasters on notice that as a result our concerns about these services’ compliance with the BCAP Code, we are commencing a targeted monitoring exercise of all services broadcasting daytime and adult chat content. Ofcom will consider any breach relating to the broadcast of sexual content on these services to be potentially serious and will consider taking appropriate regulatory action, which could include the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

 

Online harms prefect...

Ofcom selects a new chief TV and internet censor


Link Here10th November 2019
Ofcom has chosen Melanie Dawes, one of the UK's most senior civil servants, to be its new chief executive, the Guardian has revealed. Dawes is currently permanent secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The offcial announcement of a successor to Sharon White is not likely to be confirmed until after the general election and that could have an impact on her appointment, which needs to be agreed by the culture secretary.

Ofcom has said Jonathan Oxley, its group director of competition, will become interim chief executive as White is leaving at the end of November. Ofcom said Oxley did not apply to be permanent chief executive.

 

 

Maybe Google and its AI can do it cheaper...

Ofcom sets out its stall in a report finding that internet censorship, as per the Online Harms Bill, will be very vague, very open to unintended consequences, and presumably very expensive


Link Here28th October 2019
Full story: Online Harms White Paper...UK Government seeks to censor social media
Ofcom writes:

We have today published an economic perspective on the challenges and opportunities in regulating online services.

Online services have revolutionised people's personal and working lives, generating significant benefits. But some of their features have the potential to cause harms to individuals and society. These can include exposure to harmful content or conduct, loss of privacy, data or security breaches, lack of competition, unfair business practices or harm to wellbeing. In May, our Online Nation report set out the benefits to consumers of being online and their concerns about potential online harm.

Today's paper aims to contribute to the discussion on how to address these harms effectively, drawing on Ofcom's experience as the UK communications regulator. It looks at the sources of online harms from an economic perspective, which can inform the broader policy assessment that policymakers and regulators may use to evidence and address them.

 

 

A sigh of relief for the few remaining British Video On Demand adult services...

Ofcom rewrote its Rule 11 censorship rules on for VoD services in line with BBFC censorship laws applying more generally to porn websites. Presumably it will now cancel the changes


Link Here22nd October 2019

The focus of Age Verification has been on the censorship of general porn websites since the Digital Economy Act was passed in April 2017. However there is a smaller subset of adult Video on Demand websites that have been under the cosh, under the auspices of the EU's Audio Visual Media Services directive, since several years earlier. 

Don't ask what's difference between a general porn website and a Video on Demand website subjected to AVMS Rules. The EU law governing this is pitiful and it is impossible to determine this difference from the law as written. ATVOD, the first official porn censor to have addressed this issue, must have wasted thousands of pounds trying to refine the laws into something that may make sense to the business affected. They failed, and so then Ofcom wasted thousands more arbitrating on this impossible task and writing some incredibly long explanations to justify their decisions.

Peter Johnson was the chief censor at ATVOD and he put in motion the morality campaign against porn in the name of age verification. He put in place onerous rules, requiring strict age verification for access to porn. The rub was that the rules only applied to British business, and this effectively put an end to the British adult internet trade. UK companies simply could not compete with overseas websites that are free and open to access. Nearly all British businesses had to either close, move their operations abroad, or sell out to foreign companies.

For example Simply Broadband was very successful up and coming business that could have become a major competitor with its knowledge of British pron favourites. The company was promptly sold abroad. Another major loss was the European branch of Playboy TV that operated from the UK at the time. The company simply moved somewhere else.

Eventually Ofcom saw where this was going, Ofcom sacked ATVOD and took on the censorship role itself. A few small niche websites were saved, but the vast majority of the UK business had already been lost to foreign interests.

And of course no kids were being protected by the AVMS rules. Foreign tube sites rules the roost, and if anything they gained from British competitors being snuffed out.

Presumably it was this observation that led to the introduction of porn censorship via age verification in the Digital Economy Act. This time round the Age Verification would also apply to foreign companies.

Recalling that there still a few British businesses that are still subject to age verification requirements via Ofcom's AVMS regime, Ofcom decided that it needed to update the AVMS rules to reflect the changes expected through the Digital Economy Act. Ofcom more or less proposed to adopt the DEA rules into its own codes. Ofcom launched a public consultation in September 2018 to square away its proposed rules with the remnants of the British adult trade.

In fact, rather confirming the mass extinction of British business, only two VoD companies responded to the the consultation. Portland TV (who run the softcore Television X channel) and Virgin Media who runs a Video on Demand service which includes a few 18 rated softcore porn films.

In fact Virgin Media was pretty miffed that the new rules meant that 18 rated porn material had to be brought into the age verification regime. In particular it noted that it was not easy for set top boxes to be adapted for age verification, not to mention the fact that customers electing to use such boxes were probably not those most computer literate types who would be happy to mess round with apps to get their age verified.

Ofcom decided to more or less rewrite the AVMS rules to reflect the BBFC censorship regime, and the updated rules are given below. However thankfully Ofcom made it clear that the rules would not come into force until the Digital Economy Act rules came into force. So presumably these updated rules are now also canned.

So the few remaining British porn companies can heave a sigh of relief, at least until the next moral panic, maybe the Information Commissioner's Age Appropriate Design rules to be announced towards the end of next month (November 2019).

Ofcom's censorship proposed rules for British Video on Demand services

Rule 11: Harmful Material: Protection of Under-18s (Specially Restricted Material)

An ODPS must not contain any specially restricted material unless the material is made available in a manner which secures that persons under the age of 18 will not normally see or hear it.

“Specially restricted material” means—

(a) a video work in respect of which the video works authority has issued a R18 classification certificate;
(b) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would issue a R18 classification certificate; or
(c) other material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral
development of persons under the age of 18;
(d) a video work—

  • (i) in respect of which the video works authority has issued an 18 certificate, and

  • (ii) whose nature is such that it is reasonable to assume that its principal purpose is to cause sexual arousal, or

(e) material whose nature is such that it is reasonable—

  • (i) to assume that its principal purpose is to cause sexual arousal, and

  • (ii) to expect that, if the material were contained in a video work submitted to the video works authority for a classification certificate, the video works authority would issue an 18 certificate.

In determining whether any material falls within (b) or (e), regard must be had to any guidelines issued by the video works authority as to its policy in relation to the issue of classification certificates.

Guidance on ‘Specially restricted material’:

In considering any particular case, Ofcom’s approach in the first instance will be to determine whether the content in question falls within the definition of ‘specially restricted material’.

Content which complies with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, or that has been classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in any category except ‘R18’ or as a ‘sex work’ at ‘18’, would not normally be considered as material that “might seriously impair” and would not normally be subject to the requirements of Rule 11.

R18 and R18-equivalent material, sex works at 18 and material equivalent to sex works at 18, and any other material which might seriously impair under 18s is subject to the requirements of Rule 11. All ‘material’ in the ODPS, including still images and other non-video content is subject to this requirement.

By ‘sex works’ we mean works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation. Sex works at ‘18’ includes sex works that contain only sexual material which may be simulated. The R18 certificate is primarily for explicit works of consenting sex (including non-simulated sexual activity) or strong fetish material involving adults.

The R18 certificate and the 18 certificate are issued by the British Board of Film Classification in respect of video works being supplied on a physical video recording such as a DVD. There is no requirement for material being provided on an ODPS to be classified by the BBFC, but Ofcom must have regard to the BBFC Classification Guidelines when determining whether material on an ODPS is R18-equivalent (i.e. if it was contained in a video work submitted for classification it is reasonable to assume that the BBFC would issue an R18 certificate). Ofcom must also have regard to the BBFC Classification Guidelines when determining whether material on an ODPS is equivalent to sex work material at 18 (i.e. it is reasonable to assume that its principal purpose is to cause sexual arousal and if it was contained in a video work for classification the BBFC would issue an 18 certificate).

For more information on the R18 certificate and the 18 certificate for sex works, and the type of content likely to be awarded  these certificates, see the British Board of Film Classification’s website: www.bbfc.co.uk .

We note that the BBFC has regulatory duties to assess whether ‘pornographic material’ is not normally accessible by under 18s on online commercial services available in the UK (excluding the ODPS regulated by Ofcom). In outline, ‘pornographic material’ includes both R18 equivalent material, and 18-equivalent material with a principal purpose of sexual arousal. In assessing whether content falls within the definition of ‘specially restricted material’ under Rule 11, Ofcom will have regard to any advice issued by the BBFC on its approach to assessing whether content is ‘pornographic material’, including advice on what content can be displayed without age-verification.

Guidance on Age Verification:

Provided the material is not illegal or otherwise prohibited (see Rule 14), content which Ofcom considers to fall under this Rule (i.e. ‘specially restricted material’) may be made available on an ODPS, provided access is controlled in a manner which secures that people aged under eighteen ‘will not normally see or hear’ such material.

In assessing age-verification arrangements under Rule 11, Ofcom will follow the BBFC’s principle-based approach for assessing the compliance of age-verification solutions on online commercial services available in the UK. Ofcom recognises that the BBFC’s principles were designed in relation to online services, and that age-verification solutions on ODPS in practice may vary across different platforms. However, the same principles apply on ODPS regardless of the platform on which the service is delivered.

The criteria against which Ofcom will assess whether an age-verification solution secures that ‘specially restricted material’ is not normally seen or heard by those under 18 are set out below:

  • a. An effective control mechanism at the point of registration or access to the specially restricted material by the end-user which verifies that the user is aged 18 or over at the point of registration or access

  • a. [note repeated (a) is in original document] Use of age-verification data that cannot be reasonably known by another person, without theft or fraudulent use of data or identification documents or be readily obtained or predicted by another person

  • b. A requirement that either a user age-verify each visit or access is restricted by controls, manual or electronic, such as, but not limited to, password or personal identification numbers. A consumer must be logged out by default unless they positively opt-in for their log in information to be remembered

  • c. The inclusion of measures which authenticate age-verification data and measures which are effective at preventing use by non-human operators including algorithms

The following are features which Ofcom does not consider, in isolation, comply with the age-verification requirement under this Rule:

  • a. relying solely on the user to confirm their age with no cross-checking of information, for example by using a 'tick box' system or requiring the user to only input their date of birth

  • b. using a general disclaimer such as 'anyone using this website will be deemed to be over 18'

  • c. accepting age-verification through the use of online payment methods which may not require a user to be over 18. (For example, Ofcom will not regard confirmation of ownership of a Debit, Solo or Electron card or any other card where the card holder is not required to be 18 or over to be verification that a user of a service is aged 18 or over.)

  • d. checking against publicly available or otherwise easily known information such as name, address and date of birth

When considering the compliance of age-verification solutions with Rule 11, we will have regard to the BBFC’s assessments of age-verification used by online adult services to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements, as published on its website.
Ofcom recommends that ODPS providers adopt good practice regarding data protection in the design and implementation of age-verification solutions. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is responsible for enforcing data protection legislation and providers should have regard to its guidance in this area.

Where they are required, age-verification solutions must be fit for purpose and effectively managed so as to ensure that people aged under eighteen will not normally see or hear specially restricted material. Ofcom will consider the adequacy and effectiveness of age-verification solutions on a case by case basis and keep them under review in the context of ODPS. Responsibility for ensuring that any required age-verification solution is in place and is operating effectively rests at all times with the person with editorial responsibility for the ODPS. The ‘Guidance on who needs to notify’ document explains how to determine the person with ‘editorial responsibility’ for the ODPS.

 

 

Brownface Blackface...

Bizarre PC censorship from Ofcom about a Pakistani comedy take on Chris Gayle


Link Here21st October 2019

Nawab Ghar
PTV Global, 29 March 2019, 18:25

Nawab Ghar is a situation comedy series on PTV Global which is available on satellite in the UK. PTV Global is an Urdu language general entertainment channel aimed at a Pakistani audience.

The title of this comedy programme translates to The Lord's House, the central character is called Nawab, which translates to Lord. This programme included members of Nawab's family hoping to secure a partner for marriage. Chris Fail, who is presented as a distant relative, visited Nawab's home with his niece in order to arrange her marriage. The Chris Fail characters seems to be a take on the cricketer Chris Gayle.

During the visit to Nawab's home, Chris Fail falls in love with Guddo, Nawab's sister-in-law. Ofcom received a complaint about racially offensive references in the above programme. The complainant felt that the programme was racially offensive due to the use of 'blackface'

In this programme, Chris Fail was described as a visitor from Africa. Chris Fail was portrayed as having dark skin (which appeared to have been achieved with dark make-up) and long grey curly hair (a wig) under a black headscarf. In the programme he sang and danced when he started conversations with other characters.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3:

broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context206Such material may include206offensive language206discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of206race206). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

We considered that the more general portrayal of Chris Fail was based on a stereotypical view of a black-African person. The factors that contributed to this included:

• the dark make-up apparently applied to his skin;
• the significance of his name, which we understood to be a play-on-words of the West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle;
• the tribal-style drumming played in the background when he sang and danced; and,
• the way he chanted and shouted over the tribal-style drumming.

we considered that the fact that the programme was a situation comedy with a range of fictitious characters and guests from different backgrounds did not, in itself, provide sufficient editorial justification for a stereotype of this nature to be used.

We considered that the way Chris Fail's character had been broadcast as a clearly stereotypically black-African person did not reflect the care that broadcasters should take in portraying culturally diverse people and was not editorially justified. We also considered that the likely audience of the channel, which is aimed at Pakistani people, some of whom would be living in the UK, would not have expected this portrayal.

Ofcom's Decision is that this potentially offensive material was not justified by the context and was therefore a breach of Rule 2.3.

 

 

Believe that you'll believe anything!...

Ofcom fines christian TV channel for promoting 'miracle spring water'


Link Here16th October 2019
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

Ofcom has imposed a £25,000 fine on Greener Technology Ltd in relation to its service BEN TV for failing to comply with our broadcasting rules. It has also directed the licensee to not repeat the programme and to broadcast a summary of our findings on the channel.

On 28 January 2018, Ben TV broadcast Peter Popoff Ministries , a programme featuring footage from televangelist Peter Popoff's religious services. The programme contained frequent invitations for viewers to order free miracle spring water and a number of testimonies from individuals who claimed, or strongly implied, using the water had cured serious illnesses, including cancer.

As set out in Ofcom's Decision published on 3 December 2018 in issue 367 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom considered that the claims made in the programme had the potential to cause harm to members of the audience who may have been led to believe that the miracle spring water alone was sufficient to cure their health conditions and that it was unnecessary to rely on, or continue receiving, conventional medical treatment.

Ofcom concluded that Greener Technology Ltd did not take steps to provide adequate protection for such viewers and there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been improperly exploited by the programme. Ofcom also concluded that the programme promoted a product -- the miracle spring water in breach of the Broadcasting Code.

 

 

Wrongly guided...

The Islam Channel is set to be fined for broadcasting highly offensive antisemitic content


Link Here9th October 2019
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

The Rightly Guided Khalifas
Islam Channel, 11 November 2018, 23:00

Islam Channel is an Islamic-focused, English language satellite television channel broadcast in over 136 countries worldwide, including the UK. Its output includes religious instruction programmes, current affairs, documentaries and entertainment programmes, all from an Islamic perspective.

The Rightly Guided Khalifas1 is a religious education series on the history of the Qur'an, detailing its origins, its written compilation and the measures used to preserve its original wording.

During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified potentially antisemitic content during the programme. Eg

The graphic was shown at the same time as this narration. It appeared to be an on-screen graphic of a letter written in Arabic. Translated into English, it read: Israel, that was established on tyranny and oppression with its beliefs and sacred aspects, continues to practice its troublemaking and continues with its poisonous acts with its attempt to change the meaning of the Qur'an. It wants the obliteration of our beliefs and religion and in this way, it continues to practice what their forefathers had engaged in the past, particularly in their practice of changing the words in the past.6 Signed: Shaykh Al Azhar

We considered both the spoken content in Arabic about events in 1961 and the English subtitles of that narration raised issues under the following Code rules:

Rule 3.2: Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television206programmes...except where it is justified by the context.

Rule 3.3: Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television206services...except where it is 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...Such material may include, but is not limited to206discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of206race, religion or belief...).

Ofcom Decision: Breaches of Rules 3.2, 3.3 and 2.3

The broadcast of this potentially very harmful and highly offensive antisemitic content represents serious breaches of the Code.

We are putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these breaches for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

 

Studio 66 is now set for an Ofcom spanking...

Ofcom returns to whingeing about babe channels being too sexy for daytime TV


Link Here7th October 2019
Full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Studio 66 TV
Studio 66, 15 April 2019, 10:00
Studio 66, 28 April 2019, 18:30
Studio 66, 8 May 2019, 11:10
Studio 66, 20 May 2019, 10:00
Studio 66, 23 May 2019, 10:00

Studio 66 TV is interactive daytime chat advertising broadcast on the service Studio 66, which is available as part of a standard satellite subscription package. The content consists of presenters inviting viewers to contact them via premium rate telephony services (PRS). Studio 66 is available without mandatory restricted access and is situated in the adult section of Sky's electronic programme guide ('EPG'). The licence for the service is held by 914 TV Limited.

Ofcom received five complaints, each about a different broadcast. In each case, the complainant considered that the presenters were not wearing suitable clothing, their bodies were inadequately covered, and in some instances their behaviour was sexualised.

Having viewed the material, Ofcom identified five examples: eg on 15 April 2019, 10:00 The presenter lay on her side wearing a small black dress, which on several occasions was hitched up at the bottom partially exposing her thigh and buttock; and on several occasions, the presenter stroked and thrust her buttocks.

Ofcom considered Rule 32.3:

Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 32.3

Ofcom’s published guidance on the advertising of PRS ‘daytime chat’ services (“the Chat Service Guidance”) sets out what Ofcom considers to be acceptable to broadcast on these services.

The Chat Service Guidance requires ‘daytime chat’ services to be placed within the ‘adult’ or similarly identified section of EPG listings. It also states that the “presentation of daytime chat should always be suitable for wide audiences, that is for audiences including children and young persons…should they come across it unawares”. It requires that “all dress and behaviour should be non-sexual in tone and apparent intent”, and specifically that ‘daytime chat’ broadcasters should:

• “ensure that presenters are wearing appropriate clothing, that adequately covers their bodies, in particular their breasts, genital areas and buttocks”;
• “not broadcast images of presenters touching or stroking their bodies in a suggestive manner, in particular avoiding breasts, thighs, crotches and buttocks”; and
• “not broadcast images of presenters mimicking sexual intercourse by rocking and thrusting their bodies, or otherwise adopting sexual poses.”

Ofcom considered the content across these five broadcasts did not reflect the elements of the Chat Service Guidance listed above. It featured presenters who were positioned and dressed in such a way that resulted in significant exposure of their buttocks, thighs or breasts. Further, in some cases, the presenters:

• touched and stoked their buttocks and breasts in a sexual way; and
• repeatedly thrust or gyrated their breasts or buttocks, mimicking sexual activity.

In light of the above, Ofcom considered that in all five cases, the presenters’ clothing and behaviour were sexual in tone and apparent intent.

On 8 April 2019, in Issue 376 of its Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom recorded a breach of Rule 32.3 against the Licensee for the pre-watershed broadcast of content featuring three presenters who behaved inappropriately and were inadequately dressed. While we acknowledged the Licensee's apology and recognition that the material was non-compliant, we are very concerned that a further breach of this nature occurred just seven days later, and then on four further occasions across a matter of five weeks.

Ofcom considers these repeated breaches to be serious and we are therefore putting the Licensee on notice that we will consider these cases for the imposition of a statutory sanction.


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