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UK TV and Radio News

2020: Oct-Dec

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Ofcom's new year resolution to solve all the world's ills...

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

Link Here 31st December 2020
Full story: Ofcom vs Free Speech...Ofcom's TV censorship extended to criticism of woke poliical ideas
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.



Dancing Queen...

200 people complain to Ofcom about Channel 4's disrespectful deep fake Queen's Christmas speech

Link Here31st December 2020
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 94-year-old monarch.

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.



Britain's Got Talent for Whingeing...

Ofcom's top programmes as judged by the number of complainers wound up

Link Here27th December 2020
The Daily Star writes:

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 complaints though.

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.



Under duress...

Ofcom warns Abu Dhabi TV that it will be considered for a fine for airing 'confession' extracted under duress from prison

Link Here23rd November 2020
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 Broadcasting Code.

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.

Ofcom also 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.



You cheap lousy censor...

BBC Radio 1 will censor Fairytale of New York

Link Here18th November 2020
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.



Speaking of violence...

Sky Crime has started to censor its shows

Link Here16th November 2020

Heads up. Sky Crime have started censoring it's shows! Really pointless too as it's not even graphic images but verbal descriptions of violence!

If people are so sensitive that they can't handle someone discussing a violent act, when on Earth would they be watching the programme in the first place?



Rightly guided censors...

Ofcom fines Islam Channel for religious hate speech

Link Here6th November 2020
Full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

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 Islamic perspective.

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 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.



Reigning in biased reporters...

BBC to impose restrictions on BBC stars and their social media posts

Link Here29th October 2020

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.

Guidance will 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.



Offensive censorship...

Ofcom allows the word 'nigger' when used in a daytime TV debate about the word

Link Here12th October 2020
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

Good Morning Britain
ITV 22 June 2020, 08:15

Good Morning Britain (GMB) is weekday morning news programme broadcast on ITV.

At 08:15 on 22 June 2020, GMB featured a live discussion about plans by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to review the use of the song Swing Low, Sweet Chariot at England rugby matches because of its association with slavery.

Alongside GMB's regular presenters, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, the two guests contributing to the discussion were the Deputy Editor of Spiked Online, Tom Slater, and lawyer and political activist, Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu. The discussion was wide-ranging and both contributors provided their views on topics including whether there was sufficient awareness in society about the background of historic figures that are memorialised in public statues and the origins of certain songs. The item also featured discussion on whether a focus on songs and statues was a distraction from the central issues of institutional and systemic racism, and whether freedom of speech was under threat.

During part of the discussion Piers Morgan described the offensive word as the n-word and in her response to the question Dr Mos-Shogbamimu said the word in full twice, eg:

Now I don't use the 'n-word' 203 and when I say 'n-word' I mean the 'nigger' word 203 but I understand that is has become, to your point, rap stars and black youths have almost taken that word and turned it on its head and use it either, you know as friends use to each other and also use it in a way that is not necessarily friendly.

ITV explained that given the context in which the word had been used and the fact it was used by a suitably qualified expert guest to make a serious point in the public interest, we felt that an apology in the programme would be disrespectful to Dr Mos-Shogbamimu, and that it risked causing as much offence to viewers as the word itself. We therefore did not consider that an on-air apology was required or appropriate in the circumstances. For the same reason we decided that the word did not need to be removed from the ITV+1 service or from the version of the programme broadcast on the ITV Hub. However, ITV decided to add some guidance text on the ITV Hub to signpost the language for viewers.

Ofcom Response: Complaint not pursued

We took careful account of the rationale for the two instances the word in full was used. We considered the first instance was to clarify the exact term Dr Mos-Shogbamimu was referring to and the second instance was to illustrate her view that there is a clear distinction between a Black person using the word and a White person using it. Given this, we did not consider this amounted to frequent or gratuitous use. We particularly noted the way in which the language was used by this guest, that the word was not directed at any particular person and was not used in a pejorative way by Dr Mos-Shogbamimu.

We considered the content did not raise any issues under the Code which warranted investigation.

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