Ofcom confirm a new broadcasting code that will ban Jews from hating Nazis, religions from hating gays, feminists from hating men, progressive commentators from Hating Trump, and the BBC from hating Brexiteers
Ofcom have released a statement about new TV censorship arrangements following Brexit. Ofcom writes:
Ofcom is today confirming changes to our Broadcasting Code and Code on the Scheduling of Television
Advertising following consultation.
The changes reflect new requirements on broadcasters under the revised Audiovisual Media Services Regulation 2020 , and also take account of legislative changes
following the end of the transition period for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.
In brief, we are amending:
the definition of hate speech in Section Three (Crime, disorder, hatred and abuse) of the Broadcasting Code;
Section Nine (Commercial references on TV) of the Broadcasting Code, to reflect new
product placement provisions; and
the Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising (COSTA), to reflect advertising provisions under the European Convention on Transfrontier Television.
We are also making other minor and administrative updates to the Broadcasting Code.
Both the revised Broadcasting Code and the revised COSTA will take effect from 23:00, 31 December 2020, when the
Brexit transition period ends.
In fact the definition of 'hate speech' is incredibly wide and seemingly covers many instances where 'hate' is currently totally acceptable, or even encouraged. Ofcom's definition is:
Meaning of "hate speech": all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance on the grounds of disability, ethnicity, social origin, sex, gender, gender reassignment, nationality,
race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, colour, genetic features, language, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth or age.
Ofcom also details the legal aspects of the changes:
The UK statutory framework that shapes the regulation of UK television services is changing.
The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations came into force on 1 November 2020. The AVMS Regulations
implement the revised Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) into UK law. They amend Section 319 of the Communications Act 2003, which sets the standards objectives that underpin Ofcom's Broadcasting Code.
From 1 January
2021, the AVMS Directive itself and the country of origin principle will no longer apply as they did to UK television services that broadcast into the EU. However, the content rules set by the AVMSD prior to that date will still apply. This means both
the rules that already existed, and the ones on which we have been consulting to implement the AVMSD, will still apply, and our rules which implemented the AVMSD will be interpreted as they were before.
In addition, the European
Convention on Transfrontier Television (ECTT) framework will still apply and the legislation requires Ofcom to implement it. This means that services established in the UK and that broadcast to ECTT countries are required to comply with broadcast
standards set out in the ECTT, which include those on the amount of advertising broadcasters can transmit and where this is scheduled.
On 24 November 2020, Ofcom published a consultation on proposals for amendments to the
Broadcasting Code and COSTA resulting from the legislative changes. This statement sets out the amendments we are making in light of stakeholders' responses.
Ofcom has received 214 complaints about Channel 4's deepfake Christmas broadcast. It depicted the British Queen dancing and joking about Megxit.
Computer trickery meant that 48-year-old actress Debra Stephenson, who delivered it, looked just like the
One viewer tweeted Ofcom asking: Can you please do something to stop this horrifically disrespectful, treasonous assault on the senses? Another fumed: I would rather go to the kitchen and hold my hands down on the
hot plate for 10 minutes than watch this 'woke' rubbish.
2020 has been a year like no other, with Ofcom receiving record complaints about some of the UK's biggest shows.
Throughout the year in telly, the British public took offence
to everything from explosive interviews, to pre-watershed violence and scenes of puking.
Britain's Got Talent received more complaints from viewers than any rival show
Raking in major viewings as usual, the show made
headlines on September 5 when dance troupe Diversity performed a routine to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Almost 28,000 people reportedly complained about very political dance routine. Ofcom did not agree with the wrong sort of
Good Morning Britain also racked up a hefty number of Ofcom complaints throughout the year.
By October, the show had received 9,000 complaints from viewers, with Piers Morgan at the centre of a number of concerns. In
particular, Piers' April interview with Conservative Health and Social Care Minister Helen Whately received over 3,200 calls, with the presenter being accused of bullying.
Morgan's interview with Health Secretary Matt Hancock also drew in hundreds
of complaints, as did an appearance from MP Victoria Atkins. When Piers compared the PM, Boris Johnson, to Worzel Gummidge -- a scarecrow from a kids' TV series -- another 390 picked up their phones to vent.
This Morning presenters Ruth
Langsford and Eamonn Holmes hosted a segment titled Should chemists tell their customers they are fat?
Ofcom confirmed the show had received 3,496 complaints about the discussion about pharmacists.
Sky News received 840
complaints from viewers. In August, one Sky News report was met by fury after it filmed a live broadcast of migrants crossing the Channel by sea.
The broadcast was slammed by Labour MP Zarah Sultana, who said it reminded her of a grotesque reality TV
show. We should ensure people don't drown crossing the Channel, not film them as if it were some grotesque reality TV show, she said.
Emmerdale chipped in with a remark made in the lockdown special which caused a backlash, when Jimmy King
thanked the deadly virus for suspending his parenting duties.
Ofcom confirmed 75 disgruntled fans had got in touch to raise their concerns.
Qatar's National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has welcomed the decision of the UK's TV censor, Ofcom, condemning Abu Dhabi TV channel for broadcasting an interview that it claimed were confessions of Qatari citizen Hamad al-Hammadi during his arbitrary
arrest and detention in Abu Dhabi prisons in 2013.
Ofcom said that the channel, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC), which has a licence from Ofcom, broadcasted an interview on June 22, 2017 alleging they were confessions of a Qatari
intelligence agent, who was discrediting the UAE. Ofcom said that broadcasting the interview against al-Hammadi's will, who was tortured and ill-treated in prison, was a severe breach of the principles of fairness and privacy set out in the Ofcom
Ofcom found that Mr Al-Hammadi was treated unjustly or unfairly in the programme as broadcast and that his privacy was unwarrantably infringed both in the obtaining of the footage of him and in its broadcast.
considers that the breaches of Rules 7.1 and 8.1 of the Code are serious and Ofcom is therefore putting the Licensee on notice that Ofcom intends to consider the breachesfor the imposition of a statutory sanction.
BBC Radio 1 will not play the original version of Fairytale of New York by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl this Christmas, seemingly because it thinks its audience of snowflakes will be easily offended by the lyrics.
Radio 1 said young
listeners were particularly sensitive to derogatory terms for gender and sexuality. It will instead play an edited version with different lyrics sung by MacColl. A BBC spokesman said:
We know the song is considered a
Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience.
The new edited version changes two lines - one swapped for an alternative version in
which MacColl sings You're cheap and you're haggard in place of You cheap lousy faggot.
In Radio 1's newly-edited version, another unspecified line, sung by Shane MacGowan in the second verse, has a
word removed entirely.
But the 1987 original will still be played on Radio 2, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two versions.
The duet is one of the most enduring Christmas pop songs, having returned to the UK top 20 every year since
2005. MacColl originally sang the censored line on Top of the Pops in 1992. The same wording was used by Ronan Keating and Moya Brennan in their 2000 cover version. When Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie performed the song in Radio 1's Live Lounge in
2017, she opted to call him a cheap lousy blagger.
Islam Channel is an English language satellite television channel broadcast in 136 countries worldwide, including the UK. Its output includes religious instruction programmes, current affairs, documentaries and entertainment programmes, all from an
On 11 November 2018 at 23:0 0 Islam Channel broadcast an episode of The Rightly Guided Khalifas , 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.
A segment of the programme ascribed a perpetually negative characteristic to Jewish people; namely corrupting Holy Books and seeking the destruction of Islam in both ancient
and more recent times. It conflated Israel and Jewish people, characterising Jewish people as tyrannical and having an evil mind . The programme also used further negative and stereotypical terms to describe Jewish people.
In Ofcom's Decision published on 7 October 2019 in issue 388 of the Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, Ofcom's Executive found that this programme contained uncontextualised hate speech4 and breached Rules 2.3, 3.2 and 3.3 of the Code.
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...discriminatory
treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race, religion or belief....
Rule 3.2: Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television...programmes...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 television...services...except where it is justified by the context....
Ofcom put the Licensee on notice that it considered these breaches to be serious, and that it would consider them for the imposition of a statutory sanction.
Ofcom's Decision is to impose a financial penalty of
£20,000, to direct the Licensee to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom and not to repeat the programme without edits to remove content in breach of the Code.
The BBC has issued new guidance on social media usage, which will force staff to maintain impartiality. Employees will be told not to express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or controversial subjects. Staff will also be told
they must not bring the BBC into disrepute or criticise colleagues in public.
The new guidance on social media will apply to staff whether they are using online platforms professionally or personally.
The announcement follows new director
general Tim Davie's pledge last month to impose new social media rules.
The BBC said it had considered impartiality in the context of public expressions of opinion, taking part in campaigns and participating in marches or protests.
also be issued on avoiding bias through follows, likes, retweeting or other forms of sharing. The BBC said there would be tougher guidelines for some staff in news, current affairs, factual journalism, senior leadership, and a small number of presenters
who have a significant public profile.
The guidance states staff should avoid using disclaimers such as My views, not the BBC's in their biographies and profiles, as they provide no defence against personal expressions of opinion. It also advises
staff against using emojis which could reveal an opinion and undercut an otherwise impartial post, and to always assume they are posting publicly even if they have tight security settings.
The guidance states employees should avoid virtue signalling
and adds: Remember that your personal brand on social media is always secondary to your responsibility to the BBC.