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2012: July-Sept

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The Daily Star Recommends...

A Twitter trickle of complaints about MTV's reality show, The Valleys

Link Here27th September 2012

The Daily Star is hyping up MTV's new reality show, The Valleys. According to the tabloid, the programme has been branded the filthiest series ever on British TV.

It follows nine young people from the Welsh Valleys as they move to a swanky pad in Cardiff to try to make it in the big city .

But their boozed-up, X-rated antics were deemed so debauched and jaw dropping that they sparked a flood of complaints to TV censor Ofcom. If not a flood at least a Twitter trickle. The launch show on Tuesday night featured orgies, flesh flashing and binge drinking.

'Shocked viewers', including a couple of celebrities, took to Twitter to brand the stars of the show a disgrace .

Radio 1 producer Aled Jones said: I am watching The Valleys on MTV -- slightly speechless.

And Swansea City footballer James Loveridge tweeted: What am I seeing and hearing on The Valleys? Who are these people, why are they embarrassing themselves? Shocking.They are like animals.

Viewers were apparently left speechless after watching Nicole Morris urinate on her hunky new housemate Aron Williams in the bathroom. The pair jumped in the tub with Leeroy Reed, and Lateysha Grace for an orgy. But Leeroy and Lateysha quickly jumped out when they realised what the lass was doing to her fella.



The Miserable BBC...

Comedian reveals that the BBC banned comedy for the duration of the Olympics

Link Here26th September 2012
Full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control

TV comic Russell Howard has criticised the BBC for censorship of comedy during the London 2012 Olympics.

The stand-up comedian explained to Digital Spy:

I was quite upset really. There was no comedy on during the Olympics at all. None whatsoever.

There's too much money in it. The powers that be didn't want people making jokes about the Olympics, it's too important apparently.

We'd have made jokes about the Olympics in the same way as we always do. It would have been a light touch and we'd have only touched on things that were genuinely funny like Boris on the zip wire, the Queen during the Opening Ceremony with the most bored face ever.

But nobody ever commented on these things because of a weird censorship. No, no comedy allowed during the Olympics.



Comment: Making it Up...

Complaints about TV documentary questioning the early history of islam

Link Here14th September 2012

Islam: The Untold Story has triggered nearly 550 complaints to both the television regulator Ofcom and Channel 4 itself.

Since it was screened last week, presenter and historian Tom Holland, has been subjected to a torrent of abusive tweets, some of which have included physical threats. He is accused of distorting the history of Islam by claiming the Koran makes little or no reference to the religious city of Mecca.

The Islamic Education and Research Academy has published a lengthy paper denouncing the programme. The Academy claims the programme's assertion that there are no historical records detailing the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad is flawed: Holland appears to have turned a blind eye to rich Islamic historical tradition.

But historians have rallied to Holland's defence. Dan Snow, who has presented history shows for the BBC with his father Peter, described the programme as a triumph , tweeting: Dear angry, mad people -- it is conceivable that you know more than the world's leading scholars, but very unlikely.

Holland said:

The origins of Islam are a legitimate subject of historical inquiry and this film is wholly in keeping with other series and programmes on Channel 4. We were of course aware that we were touching deeply-held sensitivities and went to every effort to ensure that the moral and civilisational power of Islam was acknowledged.'

Update: 1200 complaints

4th September 2012. See  article from

The number of complaints about historian Tom Holland's Channel 4 documentary questioning the origins of Islam has now reached 1,200.

Channel 4 has now received about 1,000 complaints about the documentary, broadcast on Tuesday, with another 200 complaining to media regulator Ofcom.

Tom Holland has also written a detailed blog post responding to the main criticisms of his documentary

Update: Screening Cancelled

12th September 2012. See  article from

A screening of a controversial documentary on the history of Islam has been cancelled on security advice after its presenter was threatened. Holland was threatened online with a torrent of abusive messages on Twitter.

Historian Tom Holland's Channel 4 film Islam: The Untold Story sparked more than 1,000 complaints when it was broadcast.

A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: Having taken security advice, we have reluctantly cancelled a planned screening of the programme Islam: The Untold Story. We remain extremely proud of the film which is still available to view on 4oD.

The private screening was due to take place at the broadcaster's London headquarters on Thursday before an audience of historians and opinion formers .

The documentary is due to be repeated late on Thursday night TV and can be viewed online.

There appears to be no mention of the police following up the violent threats, perhaps they are too busy with following up trivial un-PC insults to worry about a violent attack on free expression.

Opinion: The Chilling Effect of Censorship by Violent Threat

14th September 2012. See

The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain would like to make public its support for Tom Holland's Channel 4 documentary Islam: The Untold Story . We are indignant to learn that due to threats made on Holland, Channel 4 has cancelled a repeat screening of the historical inquiry into the origins of Islam similar to the kind of inquiry that has been applied to other religions and histories in Britain for many years.

The threats and concerted attempt to stigmatise the documentary and its producers by attacking its credibility and even legitimacy as a field of inquiry is nothing less than an attempt to impose a blasphemy taboo by stealth and coercion against programming that scrutinises Islam.

Caving in to the coercive pressure of Islamists will have catastrophic effects on free inquiry and expression where it pertains to Islam. It would not only further silence academic, historical and theological scrutiny of Islam but would also have the chilling effect of exerting added pressure on Muslims and ex-Muslims who wish to dissent from and question Islam.

CEMB spokesperson Maryam Namazie says:

Here's my question to Channel 4: what about the threats on our lives for being apostates, ex-Muslims, atheists, freethinkers, secularists, 21st century human beings?

What part of our thoughts, lives, and bodies do you recommend we cancel to appease the Islamists?

If only there was such an 'easy' 'solution' for those who are languishing under Islam's rules.

You may accept censorship and cowardly silence in the face of Islamist threats and intimidation but we cannot afford to do so. And we never will.

The CEMB urges you to view the documentary [UK only] and write to Channel 4 and Ofcom (contact information below) calling for a repeat screening.

Update: Ofcom rules that the complaints are groundless

21st October 2012. See  article from

Ofcom has decided not to investigate Tom Holland's documentary questioning the origins of Islam, despite Channel 4 receiving more than 1,000 complaints from angry members of the public.

The documentary, Islam: The Untold Story , was presented by Holland and claimed there was little contemporary evidence about the origin of the religion.

Holland, who came in for criticism and abuse on Twitter following the broadcast of the documentary in August, questioned when the Qur'an was written and suggested that Mecca may not have been the real birthplace of the prophet.

Ofcom assessed the complaints but ruled on Monday that it would not be investigating the documentary further to see if it is in breach of the UK broadcasting code.



Update: Brawlers Out of their League...

Ofcom to consider whinge about EastEnders bar brawl

Link Here11th September 2012
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Ofcom is to investigate a recent EastEnders scene on the grounds that it may have been too violent .

The scene, which took place in an August 31 edition of the soap, saw a fight erupt amongst the Queen Vic football team after they were told they had been kicked out of the local pub league.

The scene lasted for nearly two minutes and featured furniture being thrown, glasses being smashed and the pub being left in total disarray.

Broadcast reports that Ofcom received a single complaint about the episode, with a viewer saying it was too violent for the timeslot.



Update: Judged UnPC...

Whinges about Lorna Bliss on X Factor

Link Here11th September 2012
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

Lorna Bliss who got noticed for tame stripper antics on Britain's Got Talent returned for an audition on the X Factor.

A few TV viewers have apparently complained to Ofcom about her costume consisting of a bra, g-string and a fishnet body stocking.

Ofcom spokesman Rhys Hurd said the regulator had received a number of complaints, adding: A decision will be taken whether we hold an investigation into the act.

Lorna, who was rejected by judges, at one stage wiggled her bottom at the audience. She gyrated in judge Louis Walsh's face and chased Gary Barlow through the audience.

The show was screened between 8pm and 9pm on Sunday evening.



Updated: Khan't Complain...

BBC get 200 complaints about muslim family sitcom

Link Here31st August 2012

It was probably unlikely that a TV comedy series about a Muslim community leader would pass without comment.

And so it was that in the region of 200 complaints were made to the BBC yesterday after it broadcast the first episode of Citizen Khan .

It was claimed that the programme takes the mickey out of Islam , was guilty of stereotypes about Asians and was disrespectful to the Koran .

One scene that particularly provoked anger was where a heavily-made up girl, Khan's daughter, rushed to put on a hijab and pretended to be reading the Koran when her father entered.

Update: Comment from the BBC

30th August 2012. See  article from


We've received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy about Citizen Khan's portrayal of the Muslim community.


We have received a number of appreciations from members of the Muslim community in praise of the show and for creator Adil Ray, who like the family portrayed, is a British Pakistani Muslim. Alongside these appreciations, a small percentage of viewers have complained to the BBC regarding the show's portrayal of the Muslim community. New comedy can provoke differing reactions from the audience, and as with all sitcoms the characters are comic creations and not meant to be representative of the community as a whole.

Update: 700 complaints

31st August 2012. See  article from

The creator of the BBC's controversial new comedy series Citizen Khan has insisted that it does not stereotype Muslims. Writer Adil Ray, who also takes the lead role, said it is simply a British family sitcom.

More than 700 people have complained to the BBC and 20 people have made representations to Ofcom, prompting the regulator to consider launching an inquiry into whether the broadcasting code has been broken.



ITV Get a Good Tanning...

It didn't notice the lyrics to The Sun has got his Hat On

Link Here30th August 2012

Calendar News
ITV Yorkshire, 22 May 2012, 06:00

Calendar News is ITV Yorkshire's half-hour early evening local news programme.

The edition broadcast on 22 May 2012 ended with a montage of clips illustrating the exceptionally sunny weather being experienced at that time and accompanied by the song, The Sun Has Got His Hat On .

A viewer alerted Ofcom to the broadcast of offensive racial language in the first two lines in the second verse of the song:

The sun has got his hat on, hip-hip-hip-hooray
The sun has got his hat on and he's coming out today
Now we'll all be happy, hip-hip-hip-hooray
The sun has got his hat on and he's coming out today

He's been tanning niggers out in Timbuktu
Now he's coming back to do the same to you
So jump into your sunbath, hip-hip-hip-hooray
The sun has got his hat on and he's coming out today

Ofcom considered Rules:

Rule 1.14 The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed.

Rule 2.3 In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.... Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, ... discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race...).

ITV explained that the music was selected for the montage by an editor from the news library on the assumption that the title and words of the song were appropriate to the theme of the montage. It was assumed, because the tune and opening verse are very well known, that the rest of the song was equally innocuous. ITV said that the editor and other newsroom staff were completely unaware that the original version of the song contained the offensive language. Unfortunately, given this mistaken assumption, the whole song was not reviewed before being selected for the montage, nor was the edited item reviewed by the news producer before broadcast.

Shortly after the broadcast and the bulletin had come to an end, it was recognised that inappropriate language had been used. Calendar News took swift action to prevent the repetition of the language in a further broadcast, ensuring that the offensive language was dipped on the ITV1+1 service. Also an apology was broadcast on the later news bulletin that day stating, Finally Calendar would like to apologise for a piece of music we transmitted at the end of tonight's six o'clock programme, which contained offensive language. It was transmitted in error.

Ofcom Decision: Complaint Resolved

Ofcom research on offensive language1 clearly notes that the word nigger is generally considered by audiences to be among the most offensive language. Therefore the use of this word before the watershed without any justification was a clear breach of Rules 1.14 and 2.3.

Ofcom however took into account that: ITV identified the error almost immediately on transmission, took steps to dip the sound during the repeat on ITV1+1, broadcast an apology during the later news bulletin the same day and took various further measures afterwards to ensure there was no recurrence of this problem.

In view of the action taken by the broadcaster, Ofcom therefore considers the matter resolved.



Extract: The 1936 Berlin Olympics?...

International blocking of BBC radio as Olympic Rules Kick In

Link Here31st July 2012
Full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control

The impact of the commercialisation of the Games, with lucrative sponsorship and rights deals, means another British virtue - freedom of speech - is rather less free than normal for the duration of London 2012. A particularly disturbing example of this is the BBC - which has said that due to rights restrictions various radio programmes, ranging from the prestigious Radio 4 Today news programme to the lighter Radio 2 Chris Evans' Breakfast Show and Radio 5 Live, whether live or on i-Player, may not be available to audiences abroad for the duration of the Games.

While the BBC World Service has a proud history of broadcasting into authoritarian regimes, faced with its lucrative rights deal for UK broadcasting of the Games, the BBC is blocking its own output from being available internationally. It has a helpfully succinct explanation:

The BBC's agreement with the International Olympic Committee means we are not allowed to broadcast anything online outside the UK from the Olympic Park or Olympic venues. As a result this programme may need to be blanked for International listeners due to rights issues surrounding Olympic content in programmes.

Perhaps conscious of quite how ludicrous this is, and damaging to the BBC's own image and values, by Sunday the BBC had apparently carried out some damage-limitation negotiations with the International Olympic Committee so at least the Today programme could be restored to international listeners:

After discussion, the IOC and the BBC have agreed that there is no need to block our international streams of Radio 4 programmes with a wide news agenda. Radio 5 Live (apart from the news programme Up All Night) and 5 Live Olympics Extra will remain available only in the UK.

...Read the full article



Britain's Got a Talent for Prudery...

Ofcom clears Beatrix Von Bourbon's Burlesque act

Link Here24th July 2012

Britain's Got Talent
ITV1&2, 31 March 2012, 20:00 repeated at 13:00 and 19:00
Britain's Got Talent: Live Semi-final
ITV1&2, 9 May 2012, 19:30 repeated at 16:00

Britain's Got Talent is a talent series, broadcast on ITV1, which aims to find an unknown star from the general public to perform at the annual Royal Variety Performance.

The episode of Britain's Got Talent broadcast on 31 March 2012 was pre-recorded and showed an early audition stage that took place in Blackpool. One of the performances in this programme was a burlesque act performed by a woman named Beatrix Von Bourbon. This item was shown at around 20:25. A total of 75 complainants alerted Ofcom to her act. In summary the complainants considered the performance was inappropriate for broadcast during a family show because it contained images and themes unsuitable for a child audience.

Ofcom noted that the programme included: a brief introductory piece about Beatrix Von Bourbon in which she explained that she had a background in ballet and tap dance; her two minute burlesque act performed to the audio track Feeling Good by the band Muse, during which she removed her skirt, jacket and bra (underneath she wore nipple tassels and her breasts were masked with an on-screen graphic), leaving her wearing a corset, knickers, stockings and shoes.

The live semi-final broadcast on 9 May 2012 starting at 19:30 also included a performance by Beatrix Von Bourbon. Ofcom noted that approximately one hour into this programme a brief introductory piece about Beatrix Von Bourbon was broadcast and her performance followed. It lasted approximately one and half minutes. She began by wearing a long sleeveless gown and gloves, both of which she then removed to reveal a pair of gold satin camisole knickers, shoes and a top that comprised a bra and large beaded necklace. While her back was turned to the audience, Beatrix Von Bourbon then removed this top and she concluded her act in this position. This shot of her was partially obscured by two assistants who held large ostrich feather fans. Prior to receiving feedback from the judges, she was handed a large, knee-length fur wrap to wear, which covered her torso and thighs.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3:

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

Ofcom Decision: Not in breach of Ofcom rules

Ofcom is aware that some viewers may find the sexualised nature of burlesque performances potentially offensive. However we noted that the images of Ms Von Bourbon adopting mildly provocative positions and limited and partial nudity were fleeting, and the act itself was performed in the manner of a dance that required skill and training. As already pointed out Ofcom guidance states that: It is important to note that in pre-watershed content, Ofcom would not expect to see singers and dancers wearing clothing that does not adequately cover their bodies (in particular their breasts, genital area and buttocks) . The performance included a very brief image of the performer's partially obscured buttocks when she unzipped her skirt. We considered this image was on the margins of acceptability and remind the broadcaster to take particular note of Ofcom's guidance cited above in future.

The programme is part of a long running series on ITV1 and ITV2 that includes a variety of acts that appeal to wide range of viewers including children and adults. We noted that the programme was repeated after its original broadcast on both services at various times of the day before the 21:00 watershed during the following six day period. We also noted that the format and style of the series, including the types of acts included, were similar in nature to the previous series that have been broadcast over recent years. In our opinion this programme, and in particular this burlesque performance by Ms Von Bourbon, would therefore not have exceeded the likely expectations of the vast majority of the ITV1 and ITV2 audience – either when originally broadcast or when repeated.

The performance and partial nudity was in Ofcom's opinion appropriately limited and suitably brief in duration. We considered that while some forms of burlesque dancing would be considered inappropriate for a child audience, this performance was presented carefully by the broadcaster to take account of the pre- watershed audience and did not convey an overtly sexualised theme.

We therefore concluded, on balance, that this performance was appropriately scheduled and the broadcaster complied with Rule 1.3.



Updated: The Riots: In Their Own Words...

Rioters' words banned by court order

Link Here21st July 2012
Full story: A Riotous Blame Game...So what is to blame for the 2011 hoodie riots

A court has banned the BBC from broadcasting a film about last summer's riots. The film, about the experiences of rioters during the disturbances, was due to be broadcast on BBC2.

The two part series is a dramatisation based on the testimony of interviews conducted for the Guardian and London School of Economics research into the disorder. It features actors who play anonymous rioters speaking about their experiences of the riots last August.

In a blog posted before the film was pulled, a BBC producer on the project said that using the important and illuminating interviews in the drama would provide insight into why and how the riots had happened .

The BBC did not give details about the nature of the court order.

Update: Murder trial judge banned documentary over possible issues of sub judice

20th July 2012. See  article from

A judge prevented the BBC from broadcasting two documentaries about last summer's riots without having watched the films -- and later prevented the media from reporting his injunction.

Mr Justice Flaux, who was presiding over the murder trial of eight men who were acquitted at Birmingham crown court on Thursday, made the injunction on the grounds that the film raised issues which echoed arguments put before his jury.

He used an unusual power under section 45 of the Senior Courts Act 1981, which in some circumstances grants crown court judges the same powers as those used by the high court, to prevent the film from being broadcast.

The BBC and Guardian had sought to challenge the ruling, on the grounds that the films made no reference to the case being considered by the jury and did not even mention rioting in Birmingham.

However, the judge rejected the appeal, saying the films touched on issues related to his case, and if he were to allow the films to be broadcast, jurors could potentially have social contact with others who watched the programmes.

The end of the trial rendered the orders redundant.

Update: Disquiet about censorship

21st July 2012. See article from . Thanks to Nick

The BBC has spoken about a court order that banned it from showing two drama-documentaries about last summer's riots, as legal experts questioned the excessive injunction. In a statement, the BBC said:

The BBC was of the firm view that as the programmes did not contain any reference to the incident which was the subject of the trial their broadcast could not have affected the trial's outcome.

As makers of current affairs programmes we felt this was a critical point regarding the freedom of the media to discuss matters that are of general public interest. We were disappointed by the judge's ruling which prevented the programmes from being broadcast until the jury returned its verdicts. Now that has happened, we are pleased to be able to show the programmes.

Legal experts have also said the injunction raises troubling questions about the freedom of the media to report on issues in the public interest. Media law expert David Banks said:

It is very worrying in that it effectively negates the section 5 'discussion of public affairs' defence in contempt of court which is at the heart of the 1981 act and which balances freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial. I think the judge was wrong in saying the right to a fair trial outweighed the interest in broadcasting the programme -- there is a balance to be struck and one right does not automatically outweigh another.

David Allen Green, the legal commentator and head of media at law firm Preiskel & Co, said there was a strong public interest in the documentary being shown:

For a court to order a national broadcaster not to show such a programme really should only be done if there was direct evidence of prejudicial content. As it was, the film was anonymised and we are told it did not refer to the Birmingham incident at all. If so, the court order was excessive and misconceived.



Offsite Article: Keith Allen defends radical drugs documentary...

Link Here17th July 2012
Health campaigners seem to dislike the idea of a TV programme that studies the actual effects of recreational drugs, rather than simply relaying what the health campaigners say are the effects

See article from



Update: Big Bother...

Ofcom receives 1,225 complaints about racist abuse and Parliament receives 1 from Keith Vaz

Link Here14th July 2012
Full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother
Keith Vaz has had a whinge about Big Brother via an Early Day Motion in Parliament. It has only attracted 5 signatures so far.

EDM 382: Racism in the Big Brother House

That this House:

  • strongly condemns recent abusive comments made in the Big Brother house in the Channel 5 television programme Big Brother, some of which have been perceived as racist;

  • notes, in particular, that a total of 1,225 complaints were made by members of the public following those comments, 1,108 of which followed one specific, particularly severe comment;

  • further notes that Big Brother has been warned in the past about racist comments made in the Big Brother house; and

  • calls on Ofcom to ensure that Big Brother enforces its rules more effectively.



Update: Drowning in Sensitivity...

Coronation Street loses story detail of a body being found in a canal

Link Here14th July 2012
Full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges

Coronation Street producers have changed a number of scenes from the soap as they were too similar to the recent death of Stone Roses fan Chris Brahney.

Brahey's body was found in a canal in Manchester after going missing following the band's gig at Heaton Park on 30 June.

The soap was to feature references to a body being pulled out of a canal as part of a plot involving Peter Barlow. Although the scenes did not feature a body being recovered, it included a policeman making multiple references to one being found in a canal.

The new replacement scene will now make no reference to where the body was found.



Update: Mediawatch-UK Recommends...

Ticked pink by Big Brother's Bit on the Side

Link Here13th July 2012
Full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother

The nutter campaigners of Mediawatch-UK have slammed Big Brother bosses for airing footage of Ashleigh Hughes pleasuring Luke Scrase.

A clip of the 21-year-old housemate putting her hand up the 24 year old's shorts in front of the rest of the group aired on Tuesday's (10.07.12) spin-off show Big Brother's Bit On The Side , much to the anger of Mediawatch-UK.

In the footage, Ashleigh giggled and said: tickle, tickle, tickle , while Luke writhed on the bed, telling his housemates he was aroused .

Mediawatch-UK Director Vivienne Pattison whinged:

This is just TV titillation. How low does the show need to get to get ratings? It's a sorry state of affairs if this is entertainment.

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