Broadcast Bulletins

The Broadcast Bulletin sets out the work of Ofcom's Content and Standards Team who deal with complaints relating to broadcasting on radio and television to ensure adherence to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code and investigate issues of harm and offence, and privacy in broadcasting.

The Broadcast Bulletin reports on the outcome of investigations into alleged breaches of those Ofcom codes with which broadcasters regulated by Ofcom are required to comply. These include:

a) Ofcoms Broadcasting Code (the Code), the most recent version of which took effect on 28 February 2011and covers all programmes broadcast on or after 28 February 2011. The Broadcasting Code can be found at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/.

Note: Programmes broadcast prior to 28 February 2011 are covered by the version of the Code that was in force at the date of broadcast.

b) the Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising (COSTA) which came into effect on 1 September 2008 and contains rules on how much advertising and teleshopping may be scheduled in programmes, how many breaks are allowed and when they may be taken. COSTA can be found at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/advert-code/.

c) certain sections of the BCAP Code: the UK Code of Broadcast Advertising, which relate to those areas of the BCAP Code for which Ofcom retains regulatory responsibility. These include:

  • the prohibition on political advertising;
  • sponsorship (see Rules 9.2 and 9.3 of the Code);
  • participation TV advertising. This includes long-form advertising predicated on premium rate telephone services most notably chat (including adult chat), psychic readings and dedicated quiz TV (Call TV quiz services). Ofcom is also responsible for regulating gambling, dating and message board material where these are broadcast as advertising (-1-); and
  • the imposition of statutory sanctions in advertising cases.

The BCAP Code can be found at: http://www.bcap.org.uk/Advertising-Codes/Broadcast-HTML.aspx

Other codes and requirements may also apply to broadcasters, depending on their circumstances. These include the Code on Television Access Services (which sets out how much subtitling, signing and audio description relevant licensees must provide), the Code on Electronic Programme Guides, the Code on Listed Events, and the Cross Promotion Code. Links to all these codes can be found at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/

It is Ofcoms policy to describe fully the content in television and radio programmes that is subject to broadcast investigations. Some of the language and descriptions used in Ofcoms Broadcast Bulletin may therefore cause offence.

Footnotes:

  1.- BCAP and ASA continue to regulate conventional teleshopping content and spot advertising for these types of services where it is permitted.