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Broadcast Bulletin Issue number 98 - 03|12|07

Connection Makers Ltd, Cops on Camera, Looking for the Actual Person, Jyoti, Jon Gaunt - Bosch Breakfast Show promotion, Bringing Up Baby & Complaint by Mr Kaiser Nisar.

Standards Cases

Notice of Sanction

Connection Makers Ltd
Babeworld TV, 12 February 2007

Introduction

On 29 November 2007 , Ofcom published its decision to impose a statutory sanction on Connection Makers Ltd (“Connection Makers”), in respect of its service Babeworld TV, for seriously and repeatedly failing to ensure compliance with the Code. Babeworld TV is a so-called ‘babe’ channel, which shows mainly ‘live’ programmes using female presenters (described as “babes”), who invite viewers to contact them using premium rate services (“PRS”). The service was found in breach of the following Code rules:

  • 1.2 (protection of under eighteens);
  • 1.3 (scheduling - children);
  • 1.24 (‘adult-sex’ material);
  • 2.1 (generally accepted standards);
  • 2.3 (material that may cause offence must be justified by context);
  • 10.2 (separation of advertising and programming); and
  • 10.3 (products and services must not be promoted in programmes).

Ofcom found Connection Makers in breach of these rules due to the following conduct:

  • failure to protect viewers under the age of 18 by broadcasting sexually explicit content, that was unsuitable for broadcast on a free-to-air unencrypted channel, soon after the 21:00 watershed (breaches of Rules 1.2, 1.3 and 1.24);
  • broadcasting sexually explicit content contrary to viewer expectations for a free-to-air unencrypted channel (breaches of Rules 2.1 and 2.3); and
  • failure to separate advertising from programme content by promoting a premium rate telephone service (that neither contributed to the programme nor met the definition of programme-related material) within programme time.

For the reasons set out in the adjudication, Ofcom imposed a financial penalty of £25,000 on Connection Makers (payable to HM Paymaster General).

The full adjudication can be found at:

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/obb/ocsc_adjud/babeworld.pdf


In Breach

Cops on Camera
Bravo, 4 August 2007, 20:00

Introduction

Cops on Camera is a series that follows the work of police forces. The episode broadcast on 4 August 2007 on Bravo featured footage of a police car chasing a suspect. During the sequence, flashing lights were reflected off the windscreen of the police car. Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who felt that the flashing lights could have led to photosensitive seizures.

Certain types of flashing images may trigger seizures in viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy (“PSE”). Rule 2.13 of the Code therefore states that: “Broadcasters must take precautions to maintain a low level of risk to viewers who have PSE. Where it is not reasonably practicable to follow the Ofcom guidance…and where broadcasters can demonstrate that the broadcasting of flashing lights and/or patterns is editorially justified, viewers should be given an adequate verbal and also, if appropriate, text warning at the start of the programme or programme item”.

Ofcom requested a statement from Virgin Media TV (which is responsible for compliance for Bravo) in relation to Rule 2.13.

Response

Virgin Media TV said that before its Compliance team views and edits programmes, material is scanned for flashing images. However, in the case of the Cops on Camera episode complained of, errors that occurred in the scanning were missed and the material was aired unaltered, without a warning prior to transmission. Following the complaint, Virgin Media TV scanned the sequence in question and confirmed that the machine used to monitor material triggered a warning. Virgin Media TV described the incident “as an unacceptable failure”, regretted that a warning was not broadcast and apologised.

In the light of the complaint, Virgin Media TV said that it improved its monitoring of flashing images and will not air the episode again unless the sequence in question can be amended to comply with Ofcom guidelines.

Decision

Ofcom has drawn up guidelines to reduce the risk to viewers who are susceptible to PSE. In view of the potential harm which can be caused, broadcasters must exercise care when broadcasting sequences which contain flashing images. 

Ofcom tested the sequence complained of and found that there were numerous occasions when the flash brightness, frequency and screen area exceeded the guidelines. The sequence was therefore clearly in breach of Rule 2.13.

Breach of Rule 2.13

Footnotes:

1.- Guidance is available at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/guidance/bguidance/guidance2.pdf


Looking for the Actual Person
Bangla TV, 10 May 2007, 16:00

Jyoti
Bangla TV, 16 July 2007, 12:00

Introduction

Looking for the Actual Person is a soap opera broadcast on Bangla TV. On 10 May 2007, throughout an episode of the programme, a scroll bar appeared with a mix of news and advertisements. This lasted for more than 20 minutes. The bar was placed across (and very low down) the screen. A viewer complained that the scrolled information contained advertisements and not just material related to the programme.

Rule 10.2 of the Code requires broadcasters to, “ensure that the advertising and programme elements of a service are kept separate”. Rule 1.2 of the Rules on the Amount and Distribution of Advertising (RADA) states that, “ in any one clock hour there must be no more than 12 minutes of advertising spots and/or teleshopping spots”.

Ofcom sought a recording of Bangla TV’s output for 10 May 2007 between 16:00 and 17:00, which showed that the bar was scrolling in other programmes. During this hour there were also two advertising breaks of approximately six minutes each.

We therefore requested the broadcaster’s comments with regard to Rule 10.2 of the Code and Rule 1.2 of RADA.

Response

Bangla TV said the scrolled advertisements were broadcast by mistake, due to human error, and it had taken steps to ensure no scrolled advertising would in future be featured “during the news hour”. The broadcaster added that any future scrolled material in this period would be only a “summary of lead news”. However, it believed that the duration of its advertising breaks between 16:00 and 17:00 on 10 May 2007 complied with Ofcom’s requirements. It added that the remaining promotional material broadcast in that same period comprised only trails of future Bangla TV output.

Decision

The material broadcast between 16:00 and 17:00 on 10 May 2007 included two commercial breaks. These contained a total of 12 minutes of advertisements – the maximum permitted under RADA Rule 1.2. However, the scrolled information screened in the same hour also contained a significant quantity of advertising. Bangla TV’s output therefore exceeded the total amount of advertising minutage permitted in any one hour, in breach of RADA Rule 1.2.

Broadcasters may scroll additional editorial material across the screen during programming time. However, in this case, the material scrolled during programmes broadcast between 16:00 and 17:00 on 10 May 2007 contained a mix of programming (news editorial) and spot advertisements. The scrolled material included, for example, sample rates of a specified currency supplier, the promotion of a lotion to stop hair loss, cricket results, news of Tony Blair’s resignation and an invitation to invest in a new airline. The news and advertising elements on 10 May 2007 were not clearly separated, in breach of Rule 10.2 of the Code.

We noted Bangla TV’s assurance concerning future output. However, Ofcom sampled the channel’s output on 16 July 2007 to verify the position. As a result we discovered another drama (Jyoti), throughout which a mix of news and advertising was scrolled. We therefore requested Bangla TV’s comments and a recording of the relevant hour of output. In response, Bangla TV apologised but again claimed to have broadcast the scrolled material in error. We found the hour of output provided was similar to the previous material we had considered and this breached RADA Rules 1.2 and 10.2 of the Code for similar reasons.

This raised serious concerns. The broadcaster’s compliance procedures to ensure the separation of advertising from editorial had failed and there had been breaches of the Code on both 10 May and 16 July 2007. Further, Bangla TV had breached Rule 10.2 previously, in October 2006 (see Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin 82, at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/obb/prog_cb/obb82/ ).

Bangla TV apologised again for its errors in compliance, and outlined staffing changes and a detailed, regular and ongoing training schedule that it had put in place to ensure much greater awareness of Ofcom’s Code requirements among all Bangla TV’s editorial, marketing and transmission staff.

While Ofcom considers the broadcaster is making efforts to ensure future compliance, we view Bangla TV’s compliance failures as serious, especially given its repeated breaches of Rule 10.2. Ofcom will consider taking further regulatory action in the event of any future Code breach.

Breaches of Rule 1.2 of RADA and Rule 10.2 of the Code


Jon Gaunt - Bosch Breakfast Show promotion
talkSPORT, 11 October 2007, 10:30

Introduction

During this short promotional trailer for the breakfast programme, broadcast during the Jon Gaunt show on 11 October 2007, a female voice says “ … and here is the news, mother-crushers…!!!!”.

Ofcom received a complaint from a listener who, on hearing the words broadcast on that day, believed the term “mother-fuckers” was used not “mother-crushers”. The complainant felt that even if the term was not actually “mother-fuckers” it sounded so similar that it caused the same degree of offence.

Ofcom asked for comments in relation to Rule 2.3 of the Code (generally accepted standards).

Response

talkSPORT informed Ofcom that it had received a separate complaint about the same trailer after its broadcast on 16 October 2007 - five days after the complaint to Ofcom. To err on the side of safety, the programme controller instructed that the trailer be removed from the schedules immediately on 16 October, until it was fully checked.

Following this review, the trailer was remade without the word “mother-crushers”.

talkSPORT stated that it would never broadcast a highly offensive word such as “mother-fuckers”. The word “mother-crushers” was a word used in a TV version of Beverly Hills Cop. It had replaced the highly offensive term to make it acceptable for television, the humour stemming from the fact that the replacement word was nonsensical.

talkSPORT argued that the use of the word “mother-crushers” is not offensive. However, in the light of the complaint they received, they acted quickly and responsibly in changing the trailer for all future broadcasts.

Decision

Rule 2.3 says that “…in applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…”. Ofcom listened to the trailer and the word complained about clearly sounded like “mother-fuckers” and was therefore offensive. When heard in context, it is Ofcom’s opinion, that the use of “mother-crushers” was intended to have the same or a very similar impact as the highly offensive term itself. Ofcom takes the view that what is relevant is what a word sounds like in context when broadcast and the offence this may cause.

Ofcom acknowledges that, once the compliance team at talkSPORT became aware of the concern raised by a complainant about the content of the trailer, they removed it from the schedule and re-made the trailer with the term “mother-crushers” edited out. However, this happened on 16 October 2007 , even though the trailer had been broadcast on talkSPORT at least from 11 October when it had been heard by the complainant who contacted Ofcom.

The term “mother-fuckers” is considered one of the most offensive terms. There was no justification in context for the use of this word. There was therefore a breach of Rule 2.3.

Breach of Rule 2.3


Not in Breach

Bringing Up Baby
Channel 4, 25 September to 16 October 2007, 21:00

Introduction

This was a short four-part series aimed at exploring three of the most popular childcare methods of the twentieth century. These were the 1950s Truby King method, the 1960s Dr Spock method and the 1970s Continuum method.

Five couples and one single mother, all with newborn babies, had decided to raise their babies using one of these three methods. The relative success or failure of the various aspects (e.g. where a baby should sleep, or when a baby should be fed, etc) were shown by the programme. Each method had a mentor who would support and take the parents through the method. The mentors were strong supporters of one of the three childcare methods.

From time to time during the course of the series, the parents were encouraged to adopt certain different approaches to childcare. For instance, the approaches included: leaving a week-old infant wrapped up in a blanket in a pram in the garden to get ‘fresh air’, so as to sleep better at night time (the Truby King method); “trusting your instincts” and not having a set routine (the Dr Spock method); constantly carrying and being always available to feed the newborn (the Continuum method).

Ofcom received 752 complaints from viewers. In summary, the principal concerns raised were that the programmes:

  • employed techniques that were unethical, abusive, or neglectful and/or went against current UK government or other agency (such as the World Health Organisation) guidelines in respect of childcare;
  • employed as mentors people who were not necessarily properly qualified to practise as childcare professionals;
  • put children at risk of harm; and
  • did not sufficiently highlight to viewers the potentially harmful effects of some of the practices featured, and therefore put the safety of infants in viewers’ care at risk.

Decision

Ofcom recognises the sensitivities in such issues related to appropriate and safe child care, and understands the offence that may be caused to viewers who witness approaches and methods that do not accord with their own views and practices.

Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has a statutory duty to set standards for the content of television programmes with which broadcasters must comply. These standards are set to secure certain objectives set out in the Act including the protection of under eighteens and that generally accepted standards are applied to content so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion of offensive and harmful material.

Ofcom considers the standards it has set for the protection of children to be amongst the most important in the Code. These rules are aimed at preventing children suffering any unnecessary distress or anxiety as a result of being involved in a programme or by its broadcast; requiring that broadcasters take due care over the physical and emotional welfare of children who take part or are otherwise involved in programmes. However, it should be noted that Ofcom’s role does not extend to investigating allegations of child abuse, which is the role of the relevant authorities.

The Communications Act 2003 requires Ofcom to have regard to certain matters when setting the standards in its Code; particularly when applying generally accepted standards so that the public is adequately protected from offensive or harmful material, Ofcom must have regard to the need for standards to be applied in a manner that best guarantees an appropriate level of freedom of expression. This is in terms of both the broadcaster’s right to impart information and ideas and the right of the audience to receive them. These rights are enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights incorporated within the Human Rights Act 1998. Accordingly, Ofcom must exercise its duties in light of these rights and not interfere with the exercise of these rights in broadcast services unless it is satisfied that the restrictions it seeks to apply are required by law and necessary to achieve a legitimate aim.

In the case of this series, Ofcom considered the complaints against the following Code Rules:

1.26: “Due care must be taken over the physical and emotional welfare and the dignity of people under eighteen who take part or are otherwise involved in programmes. This is irrespective of any consent given by the participant or by a parent, guardian or other person over the age of eighteen in loco parentis”.

1.27: “People under eighteen must not be caused unnecessary distress or anxiety by their involvement in programmes or by the broadcast of those programmes”.

2.1: “Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television…services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion of harmful…material”.

2.2:“Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience”.

2.4: “Programmes must not include material…which, taking into account the context, condones…dangerous… behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour”.

In the course of our investigation, we contacted Channel 4 with regard to these matters seeking all relevant background information. It supplied us with further details. Much of the information it provided was also publicly available on the broadcaster’s website, which accompanied the series.

It is important to note that the programme was based on three different approaches to childcare. The methods themselves are all based on previously published and well-known books and theories:

  • Truby King’s “Feeding and Care of Baby”;
  • Dr Spock’s “Baby and Childcare”; and
  • Jean Liedloff “The Continuum Concept”.

These methods and approaches to raising a baby are all in the public domain and legal. As the programmes stated, these were three of the most influential childcare methods of the 20 th century. Although some of the methods are highly controversial, many parents today do debate these techniques, and they are all used to a greater or lesser extent within the UK . Therefore, Ofcom’s starting point must be that a programme which explores and discusses these approaches cannot in itself be problematic, so long as the broadcaster ensures that the material is put in context and that the audience is fully informed; for instance by being made aware of government guidelines, where appropriate. Ofcom would not expect, and it would be a breach of the Code for, a broadcaster to promote or encourage practices which were dangerous or harmful.

Possibility of harm to the children involved in the series: Rules 1.26 and 1.27

The childcare methods used were sometimes controversial (for example: where a baby should sleep; whether a baby should be left to cry; or when a baby should be weaned). Ofcom therefore considered the steps taken by the broadcaster and the programme makers to ensure that no harm would be caused to the children involved.

Ofcom understands from Channel 4 that a range of relevant experts was consulted on current medical opinion with regard to the methods used before filming began. These were:

  • a senior psychologist, who advised that following the routines proposed would cause no harm to the babies;
  • a neurologist, specialising in brain development issues, who said that there was nothing in the books to suggest brain development would be impaired by a baby being put in any form of routine; and
  • a GP who was of the view that none of the particular routines/methods was damaging to a baby’s well-being.

A senior consultant paediatrician (currently an honorary senior clinical lecturer at a leading UK university and an associate member of the General Medical Council) also viewed all the programmes in the series, after editing and before their transmission. He was of the view that the babies had not been put at any risk.

Ofcom is also aware that all the families, whilst participating in the series, followed the standard practice (after leaving hospital with a new baby) of consulting with their GP, attending clinics and receiving visits from qualified health care professionals.

In our view, the broadcaster therefore gave careful and appropriate consideration to the potential impact of the methods used on the infants, and sought relevant independent advice. We have seen no evidence to suggest that due care was not taken over the physical and emotional welfare of the children, or that they were caused unnecessary distress or anxiety.

Ofcom also took into account concerns over the professional experience and qualifications of some of the mentors involved with the series. It is not Ofcom’s duty to regulate such qualifications, or lack of them, except insofar as it might contribute to a breach of the Code through materially increasing the risk of harm to the children (but see also “Claire Verity’s Qualifications: Rule 2.2” below). However, in Ofcom’s view, a material increase in the risk of harm to the children did not happen here for a number of reasons, including: the fact that the books (Truby King, Spock and Continuum methods, written by acknowledged experts) were essentially the ‘providers of the advice’ to parents; the appropriate levels of protection from harm provided for the young children throughout the series; the fact that objective independent information from healthcare professionals was available to the parents through the standard medical routes during filming; and the guidance followed by the programme-makers, on the advice of the relevant medical experts consulted.

With regard to the matter of consent, Channel 4 had made it clear that the families involved had been given detailed information on the principles and techniques of the methods being used to ensure that they were able to make an informed choice as to whether to continue with the method they had themselves chosen. It was made clear to the families that they were free to change their minds, and cease using the method in question, at any time they chose to do so during filming.

It should be noted that Ofcom has not received a complaint from the parents who participated in the programmes. Neither has Ofcom received any complaint from the healthcare professionals involved in the independent provision of the standard care to the participating families, as mentioned above.

For all of the reasons set out above, the programmes were not in breach of Rules 1.26 and 1.27.

Possibility of harm being caused, in general, by the broadcast of the programmes: Rules 2.1 and 2.4

In considering this matter, Ofcom sought to establish whether the broadcaster had applied generally accepted standards to the programmes to ensure adequate protection from material that could be harmful. In other words, did Channel 4 encourage or condone harmful methods which could endanger babies?

In Ofcom’s view, Bringing Up Baby was a balanced programme exploring different methods of raising a baby which have been, and are still, popular in the UK . The methods adopted were put into context and the pros and cons of each method were explored. There were no methods employed that were illegal. However, where the approach differed from current public health advice, this was made clear to the viewers. For instance, having the newborn baby sleeping next to the parents in their bedroom was described as “the safest place to be according to government guidelines”. When the mentor for the Truby King method encouraged the weaning of young babies at the age of 16 weeks, the programme clearly stated that the current World Health Organisation advice is for weaning to take place at 6 months because of the risk of allergies. In discussion about formula milk, the programme was unequivocal, stating that “breast milk is known to be much better for babies than bottled formula”. The broadcasting of views which challenge current medical advice may not, in itself, breach the Code. Programmes should be permitted to explore such issues so long as such views are appropriately explained and put in context.

In Ofcom’s view, the programme ensured that the viewer would be left in no doubt, what the pros and cons were of each method, and how each mentor felt about the others’ view. According to the Dr Spock mentor, the Truby King method was “…cruel, hard, awful… when what a baby actually needs love, touch and cuddles”. However, for those parents that wanted a baby in a routine, Truby King was seen as the answer, even though it was described by its own mentor as “quite mean”.

The programmes themselves frequently made it clear that the methods used were controversial, and consequently were not offering universally accepted approaches to childcare. For example, important issues such as leaving a baby to cry, or allowing a baby to sleep in the same bed as the parents, were both regularly fiercely debated by the three mentors on screen and/or questioned by the participating parents themselves.

Further areas of controversy or risk were regularly highlighted in the commentary throughout the series, e.g.:

  • “…some people criticise the 1950s routine…”;
  • “…today, some experts also believe that having your baby in the same room can help prevent cot death…”;
  • “…although co-sleeping [in the parent’s bed] is the norm in some countries, it’s a contentious issue in Britain and should only be done if proper safety guidelines are followed” (the safety guidelines were then outlined by the Continuum mentor and re-stated in the commentary); and
  • “…but having no rules isn’t always a blessing…” .

It is also important to note that all the babies, when shown asleep in their cots or prams, were shown lying on their backs and placed at the end of the bed - both positions recommended by today’s practitioners; and that there was an extensive website providing a wide range of information related to the programmes, childcare advice (including reference to currently accepted practices) and debate; the address of which was announced at the end of every programme.

Overall, Bringing Up Baby was not a programme that advocated or promoted any one method or particular practice. It gave the viewers the facts about different approaches adopted today and in the past. The methods were put in an historical perspective. It let viewers make an informed choice. Where appropriate, it gave the government or other health guidelines. In our view, it was clear that the parents that featured in the programme had different priorities and chose their method accordingly. In the final episode of the series, the programme stated that “…each method has its pros and cons…perhaps, in the end; all you can do is pick the one that is best suited to you”.

Taking all the above into account, we consider that the broadcaster took the necessary steps to ensure that there was adequate protection for viewers from harm.

The programmes were therefore not in breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.4.

Claire Verity’s Qualifications: Rule 2.2

Concerns were also raised over the qualifications of Claire Verity (who advocated the Truby King theory). In terms of whether the audience was materially misled, Ofcom’s remit, in this case, extended only to what was broadcast (as opposed to what may or may not have been claimed off-air). The programme almost exclusively referred to Claire Verity as a “mentor” (and on one occasion as a “1950s guru”). Such descriptions did not attribute to her any qualifications or expertise beyond what she may or may not have. The broadcaster stated that she had been working with babies and children for over 20 years.

However, the broadcaster did also refer in the introductory sequences to Claire Verity as “a maternity nurse”. Some complainants were concerned that the use of this term implied Claire Verity had qualifications which they believed she did not in fact have. In our view, there is no evidence to suggest that a maternity nurse must have a qualification or belong to any professional body. While some maternity nurses may have a medical background, others do not but are experienced nannies or carers. Therefore, in our view, the description can refer to someone who is “experienced” in post-birth care both for the baby and the mother, and the programme was not necessarily intending to imply that Ms Verity had medical qualifications.

As it was therefore unclear whether or not Ms Verity had professional qualifications, we went on to consider whether by labelling her as a maternity nurse, there was a risk that some viewers might have assumed that her opinions were backed by professional training, and that she was accountable to a professional body.

On the very few occasions she was referred to as a “maternity nurse”, it was always qualified and limited. For example: she was referred to as a “controversial maternity nurse”, “1950s style maternity nurse” and “1950s inspired maternity nurse”. On these occasions, she was also introduced as a “mentor” immediately before.

Taking into account all of the above, it is our view that whether Ms Verity has professional qualifications or not, the programmes were not materially misleading to viewers about her professional status, so as to cause harm.

Nevertheless, it is clear that in cases such as these, where there is the potential for harm, broadcasters should be careful when using terms which may imply participants have medical qualifications or professional status. They need to take into account the potential risk of viewers giving more weight to the opinions of such people. It would therefore have been preferable for the programme not to have used this term (even if only sparingly).

Not in Breach


Note to Broadcasters

Revised guidance concerning society lotteries

On 5 December 2005 , Ofcom published guidance concerning society lotteries, to Rule 10.4 (undue prominence) of the Code. In carrying out our statutory duties concerning the broadcast of local material, and the fact that society lotteries are ‘not-for-profit’ and raise money for good causes, Ofcom considered, on a temporary basis, to allow an appropriate degree of flexibility in interpreting and applying Rule 10.4 of the Code when considering broadcast draw coverage of certain locally promoted and operated society lotteries by local broadcasters – Independent Local Radio, Community Radio, Restricted Service Licensees (radio and television) and some Digital Sound Programme Service licensees.

In line with our published intention to review our guidance concerning broadcast society lottery draw coverage, Ofcom has now reconsidered the matter and decided to lift the temporary status of the guidance. We have added criteria (previously issued on request) that should be met when a broadcaster is assessing whether potential coverage would be afforded an appropriate degree of flexibility in our interpretation and application of Rule 10.4 of the Code.

As with all Code guidance, should further review become necessary, Ofcom will consider the matter accordingly.

The following is our revised guidance (to Rule 10.4 of the Code) concerning lotteries:

The National Lottery [note: for information only – unchanged]

Ofcom recognises the national and statutory status of the National Lottery and will apply an appropriate degree of flexibility in interpreting and applying this Rule in the context of references to the National Lottery in programming.

Society Lotteries

In interpreting Rule 10.4 in relation to the coverage of society lottery draws, Ofcom has regard to both its duty to promote ‘localness’ in radio and the fact that they are for ‘good causes’ and ‘not-for-profit’. When covering society lottery draws, broadcasters should take into account the following:

Ofcom will apply an appropriate degree of flexibility in interpreting and applying this Rule, when considering the broadcast of locally operated and promoted society lottery draws on:

  • restricted service licence (RSL) services (radio and television);
  • local commercial radio (i.e. independent local radio (ILR) services);
  • community radio services; and
  • digital sound programme services (DSPS) on local digital multiplexes, where the relevant service has a commitment to the broadcast of local content and is broadcasting local content other than locally-promoted society lottery draw coverage;

where:

  • the society or societies concerned (the ‘good causes’) have a significant local presence and purpose or are of particular interest to the community served by the RSL, ILR or DSPS service concerned, or deliver social gain, as defined in the Community Radio Order 2004, to the community radio service concerned;
  • the licensee’s licensed area (total coverage area of the service broadcast (including relays), for television RSL licensees) reasonably reflects the intended lottery catchment area; and
  • the licensee’s audience (total audience for the service broadcast (including relays) for television RSL licensees) reasonably reflects potential lottery participants.

Any local broadcaster considering broadcast draw coverage of a locally operated and promoted society lottery should therefore satisfy itself that the lottery contributes towards localness with regard to both the ‘good cause’ and the status of the lottery itself.

However, broadcasters should also note that any individual ‘good cause’ benefiting from a society lottery is likely to be a ‘product or service’ to which the general prohibition in Rule 10.4 against undue prominence applies. It is therefore possible that the broadcasting of draw coverage for a single cause (taking into account such factors as the frequency and prominence of the coverage and the existence of other society lotteries that may be running in the area) could be or become unduly prominent.

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