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2020: July-Sept

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Retribution...

Another religious broadcaster fined for inciting violence


Link Here21st September 2020
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Ofcom explained its fine for Panjab Radio:

Panjab Radio is a faith and cultural radio station for the UK Asian community, broadcasting in Punjabi.

On 24 August 2018 at 22:00 Panjab Radio broadcast the Shamsher Singh Rai Programme, an occasional show on the station, with around four editions per month. The programme focused on Punjabi poetry and featured live calls from listeners expressing their feelings through poetry.

During this programme, the presenter advocated, justified and supported violent retributive action against those he considered to have shown disrespect towards Sikh places of worship. He did this without challenge or other sufficient contextual justification.

In accordance with Ofcom's Procedures for the consideration of statutory sanctions in breaches of broadcast licences, Ofcom considered whether the Code breaches were serious, deliberate, repeated or reckless so as to warrant the imposition of a sanction on Panjab Radio.

Having considered the representations made to us, Ofcom has decided to impose a financial penalty of £30,000 and to direct the Licensee to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

 

Updated: Britain's got no talent for speaking openly about sensitive issues...

24,500 people complain to Ofcom about a Black Lives Matter dance performance on Britain's Got Talent


Link Here 17th September 2020
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing
Britain's Got Talent has been the subject of 10,267 viewer complaints from furious viewers over an act on the show. This is the second highest tally of complaints in the last ten years.

Ashley Banjo led the Diversity dance troupe in a Black Lives Matter routine. The performance, which saw Jordan's brother Ashley lying on the floor with a white police officer kneeling on him , referenced the death of George Floyd in the US. There were also backing dancers performing dressed in riot gear and the group took the knee during the performance.

Ashley reported that he had received a barrage of abuse over the performance. He tweeted:

So much to say... But I'll Just let the performance talk. Thousands of messages of Love and support - Thank you. For the thousands of messages of hate and ignorance - Thank you. You highlight exactly what needs to change. Sending nothing but love to you all. 

The Sun seemed a little reluctant to describe what the complaints were about but summarised that they were insisting that a political statement had no place on the talent show.

Update: More complaints

16th September 2020. See article from news.sky.com

TV censor Ofcom has confirmed the number of complaints for Britain's Got Talent have continue to rise over the weekend and now stand at 23,308.

 An ITV spokesman responded to the complaints:

Britain's Got Talent has always been an inclusive show, which showcases diversity and supports strong storytelling in all forms and ITV stands behind the decision to broadcast Diversity's performance on BGT.

Ashley and the group are a great example of the talent, creativity and diversity of modern Britain and their performance was an authentic, heartfelt response to many of the issues and events which have affected society in 2020.

Update: Ofcom dismisses the complaints

17th September 2020. See report [pdf] from ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom received approximately 24,500 complaints about this performance on Britain's Got Talent.

We also received a number of messages of support and praise for the performance. In summary, the complaints about the performance raised a range of concerns, including that it:

  • was unsuitable for a family audience due to themes of violence and racism;
  • encouraged societal division and was racist towards White people;
  • negatively portrayed White police officers, including in a depiction of the death of George Floyd, and encouraged violence against the police; and,
  • expressed support for the political organisation Black Lives Matter.
Ofcom has assessed this programme against the relevant rules in the Broadcasting Code. Our assessment is that this programme did not raise any issues which warranted investigation. In our view, Diversity's performance was an artistic expression of topical social issues and did not contain any content which was racist, unsuitably violent or otherwise inappropriate in the context of this programme.

Given the significant publicity surrounding this case and the high volume of complaints received, we have decided to publish our reasons for this assessment.

 

 

Sharing censorship...

Ofcom is consulting on updated EU censorship arrangements for video sharing platforms that are stupid enough to be based in the UK


Link Here6th September 2020
Full story: ATVOD Censorship on Demand...ATVOD appointed as internet TV censors
Ofcom commissioned research has identified (but not named) 2 adult video sharing sharing platforms that are based in the UK. It will be interesting to see how age verification requirements will effect these UK services trying to compete with the rest of world with no such requirements (for the moment).

Ofcom writes:

We are seeking evidence and information related to the new requirements that will apply to video-sharing platforms.

Video-sharing platforms (VSPs) are a type of online video service where users can upload and share videos. VSPs allow users to engage with a wide range of content and social features and are particularly popular among young people. 90% of adults and 98% of children aged 8-15 who use the internet have used a VSP in the past year.

Ofcom will be given new powers this autumn to regulate UK-established VSPs. This will include a duty to ensure that VSPs have in place appropriate measures to protect young people from potentially harmful content and all users from illegal content and incitement to hatred and violence. Services will also need to ensure standards around advertising are met.

This call for evidence sets out the background and legislative context to forthcoming VSP regulation in the UK and an overview of the VSP regulatory framework. It also sets out Ofcom's approach to VSP regulation based around some core principles: protection and assurance; freedom of expression; adaptability; transparency; enforcement; independence; and proportionality.

 

 

Daytime TV grows up...

Sky Atlantic and Sky Comedy start showing adult content during the daytime but with PIN protection


Link Here19th August 2020
Back in November 2018 Ofcom issued a statement changing the watershed rules for mainstream TV channels from January 2019.

At the time the existing rules allowed 15-rated films to be broadcast during the daytime on subscription film channels and up to 18-rated films on pay per view film channels, provided a mandatory PIN is in place.

The 2019 rule change extended this flexibility to all mainstream channels, at least those that had a system allowing for mandatory PIN protection.

And until recently, no TV channels took advantage of this new flexibility. Now it seems that Sky is taking the plunge on its Sky Atlantic channel:

  • THE WIRE is showing at Noon, in daily double-bills
  • THE SOPRANOS is showing in daily double-bills at 4:35pm
  • GAME OF THRONES is showing at 7:45pm.
The EPG warns of each show containing strong language/mature content.

Thanks to Jon who confirmed that the shows were completely uncensored, including the use of racially offensive language and all the f-words (and all the variations of it). He noted that indeed the shows have PIN protection for both the broadcast and the recording of it.

Sky Comedy (EPG 113) is also doing the same thing, showing adult shows during daytime hours, but PIN coded to stop underage viewers seeing the shows. VEEP, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, and SEX AND THE CITY, are being broadcast at 9am, 10:10am and 11:20am respectively.

 

 

A cabal of censors...

Ofcom announces a forum where censors can communicate together


Link Here1st August 2020
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and Ofcom have announced the launch of a new forum to help ensure online services work well for people and businesses in the UK.

The Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum strengthens existing collaboration and coordination between the three regulators. It aims to harness their collective expertise when data, privacy, competition, communications and content interact.

A statement outlining the Forum's objectives and how the three organisations will work together to support effective and efficient regulation across the digital landscape has been published. A news release summarising the initiative is also available.  

 

 

Offsite Article: Pressure grows on Ofcom to ban Chinese propaganda channel CGTN...


Link Here 27th July 2020
Full story: Diplomatic Censorship at Ofcom...Ofcom get caught up in international relations
Surely a decision that could possibly be part of a chain of events leading to World War 3 should be taken by government ministers and diplomats, not a TV censor

See article from digitaltveurope.com

 

 

Online Content Censors...

Ofcom announces a reorganisation with a new group in charge of censorship of Broadcasting and Online Content


Link Here22nd July 2020

New Ofcom groups to lead industry policy and engagement Ofcom

Kevin Bakhurst will continue to lead Ofcom's media regulation as Group Director of Broadcasting and Online Content. This group combines our work on broadcasting - including standards, licensing and policy work - as well as new duties to regulate video sharing platforms. The Broadcasting and Online Content group will lead Ofcom's regulatory regimes in these sectors, and manage relationships with its stakeholders.

 

 

So how will notorious censors respond to being censored themselves?...

Ofcom censures Chinese propaganda channel for parading a Briton making a forced confession


Link Here 6th July 2020
Full story: Diplomatic Censorship at Ofcom...Ofcom get caught up in international relations

China 24, News Hour
CCTV News, 27 August 2013, 12:00 and 14 July 2014, 21:002

CCTV News broadcast China 24, a news programme which reported on the arrest of Peter Humphrey and included footage of him appearing to confess to a criminal offence. It then broadcast a follow up report during News Hour, which reported on Mr Humphrey's subsequent conviction and included footage of him apologising for having committed the offence. He was named in both programmes, although his face was blurred.

Ofcom found that:

  • The programmes included footage of Mr Humphrey which had the potential materially and adversely to affect viewers’ perception of him. The Licensee did not take sufficient steps to ensure that material facts had not been presented, omitted or disregarded in a way that was unfair to Mr Humphrey.
     

  • The Licensee had not provided Mr Humphrey with an appropriate and timely opportunity to respond to the allegations of wrongdoing being made about him in the programmes as broadcast.
     

  • Mr Humphrey had a legitimate expectation of privacy in relation to the filming and subsequent broadcast of the footage of him without his consent. In the circumstances, Mr Humphrey’s legitimate expectation of privacy was not outweighed by the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression and the audience’s right to receive information and ideas without interference. The Licensee had therefore unwarrantably infringed Mr Humphrey’s privacy in respect of the obtaining of the material included in the programmes and in the programmes as broadcast.

Ofcom also considers that the breach of Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of the Code is serious. We are therefore putting the Licensee on notice that we intend to consider the breach for the imposition of a statutory sanction.


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