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 Update: Doesn't the BBC know how much fat cat TV censors cost these days?...

Ofcom charges the BBC double the current bill for censorship services, despite the supposed efficiencies of not having two bodies doing nearly the same job

Link Here 15th January
Nice n Naughty

Ofcom logoThe BBC is refusing an order to pay 9 million a year to the TV censor Ofcom, in a behind-the-scenes row over the cost of the corporation's new censorship regime.

Ofcom, which will take on responsibility for censoring the BBC in April, is locked in a private battle after warning BBC executives that it wants to appoint double the number of staff the BBC Trust, the broadcaster's current ruling body, currently employs to censor the broadcaster.

The move will add more than 5 million to the regulatory bill currently footed by the licence fee payer, roughly equivalent to what the BBC spends on a six-part drama series .

The corporation is understood to have appealed to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, to force Ofcom to reduce its fees. Sue Owen, permanent secretary at the DCMS, is understood to have written to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, calling on her to cut the planned fees, but White is said to have argued that the proposed charges are 'reasonable'.

The corporation is said to be particularly annoyed that Ofcom has demanded 6.5 million for the past financial year, which covers a period before the broadcaster assumes its full regulatory duties.

Ofcom insists that it will have a more wide-ranging role than the Trust, and will have to hold the BBC to account on new political correctness issues such as diversity targets.

 

  New Year mischief...

BBC tried to gag Robbie Williams but he was having none of it

Link Here 6th January
Nice n Naughty
robbie williams censored video The BBC have responded to complaints about a Robbie Williams concert playing before and after the New Year countdown.

It is now a characteristic of the BBC News to desperately avoid mentioning anything that may not be politically correct even if t leaves readers totally baffled. Here is what the BBC said about the complaints:

We received complaints from some viewers unhappy with elements of the Robbie Williams concert broadcast in the build-up to and after the fireworks.

BBC One has a long-standing history of ringing in the New Year with our audience.  In recent years we have sought to enhance this special night by showcasing special live performances by some of the most successful artists/entertainers around.

Robbie Williams is no exception to this; he is one of the UK's most successful solo male artists with an incredibly successful songbook of popular hits and millions tuned in to watch his live performance. Robbie's on-stage persona is now very well known, intended as tongue-in-cheek and that is very much part of his appeal. However, we do appreciate that it may not be to everyone's taste.

Although the live concert started nearly two and a half hours after the 9pm watershed, and followed a late evening of adult-skewed programming, namely Mrs Brown's Boys and The Graham Norton Show , we were mindful of the wider audience who might join BBC One to watch the fireworks. Robbie Williams was aware of this, and we placed particular emphasis on the part of his concert running up to the fireworks.

This was not a BBC event and whilst it was unfortunate that some of the staging, Robbie's stage antics, and the language upset some viewers, we hoped it was at least clear from watching it that Robbie had been clearly briefed about any use of strong language beforehand by BBC Management.

We hope that for the majority of viewers watching BBC One, the tone of the overall concert remained within general audience expectations for what was billed as a unique late-night Robbie Williams live performance.

It's a good job other news sources can actually say what was actually going on. The Metro revealed:

Robbie Williams will have royally pissed off the BBC after getting his live audience to swear on TV.

The notoriously naughty singer was live from Central Hall in Westminster on December 31 building up to Big Ben's momentous chimes with a New Year's Eve concert and after two songs, he was quick to tell everyone that Beeb bosses had banned him from saying the F word, the C word, and the S word .

But that wasn't going to stop Robbie, who instead realised that he was never told he couldn't get his fans to swear for him. What followed a rendition of his hit Come Undone with the crowd singing the words he was not allowed to sing -- and fans at home were loving it.

Update: Ofcom uninterested

24th January 2017

Ofcom have dismissed 14 complaints about the Robbie Williams televised concert without a formal investgation.

 

  BBC censors news story about an advert being censored in Australia...

Another example where BBC does its best to avoid spelling out of the complaint

Link Here 6th January
cu nt censored
  
Only half the advert was published by the BBC
 

Australian advert censors of the Advertising Standards Board have upheld complaints about an unofficial tourism advert promoting holidays in the New Territories (NT). The advert read 'CU' (see you) 'in the' (smaller letters) 'NT'.

The censors ruled that the language was obscene and not appropriate in advertising in any form .

Many believed it was an official tourism campaign after it went viral in November , but the territory's tourism authority said it was not involved. The creators of the ad, NTOfficial.com, describe themselves as a brand that aims to represent the true spirit of the Northern Territory .

The BBC were a bit cryptic about describing the advert and only included half the picture. The BBC described the advert as follows:

An unofficial slogan for Australia's Northern Territory has been declared obscene by a standards watchdog, two months after it swept the internet. The advert used an acronym for See You in the Northern Territory to effectively spell a profanity.

cu nt uncensored
  
The original advert in all its glory
 

 

  Strictly Censorship...

Ofcom publishes further details about how TV censorship of the BBC will work

Link Here 10th December

Ofcom logoOfcom has set out how it will take on regulation of the BBC from next April.

This will see the biggest reform of the governance and regulation of the BBC since it was founded.

The Government has decided that a new BBC unitary board will govern and run the BBC, and ultimately be responsible for editorial and management decisions.

Ofcom will become the new external regulator of the BBC. Our job will be to hold the BBC to account.

We have published a statement explaining how we will prepare to undertake our new regulatory duties from the planned effective date, 3 April 2017.

Ofcom's approach to regulating the BBC

As the new external regulator, Ofcom will bring its experience of regulating the wider broadcast and communications sector at a time of increasing convergence.

Ofcom already has roles across many of the BBC's services, from content standards to competition. These new responsibilities broaden the scope of Ofcom's existing work.

Regulation of the BBC will sit within Ofcom's existing teams and will focus on three core areas as laid out in the Charter: content standards; protecting fair and effective competition; and reviewing the BBC's performance.

In order to carry out our new duties effectively and efficiently, and to provide clarity to audiences and the wider sector, we will :

  • Proceed from our principal duty -- as with all our work, our principal objective is to further the interests of citizens and consumers;

  • Recognise that the BBC is the cornerstone of public service broadcasting in the UK -- the BBC has a special status, but we won't give it special treatment;

  • Recognise that responsibility for governance lies with the new BBC Board -- it is for the BBC Board, rather than Ofcom, to determine how to deliver the mission and purposes defined in the Charter. The Board must set the BBC's editorial guidelines. We will hold the BBC to account;

  • Make good use of our depth of knowledge and experience -- we have experience of regulating the broadcasting sector, as well as existing roles in relation to the BBC in the key areas of content standards, competition and performance;

  • Consult widely -- ensure the views of citizens, consumers and stakeholders feed into our work; and

  • Be clear about our expectations and requirements of the BBC -- provide clarity on how we will address issues if things go wrong, to provide certainty to the BBC, its audiences and the wider sector.

Public consultations

In the coming months, Ofcom will develop an 'Operating Framework' for the BBC. This will ultimately contain all of the elements of our regulation across the BBC's content standards, competition and performance.

The Operating Framework will set out the regulatory tools that Ofcom will use to hold the BBC to account. There will be separate consultations on the finer details of our role over the coming, which fall into the following broad categories:

1. Content standards

Viewers and listeners should be able to trust what they see and hear. They should know that steps have been taken to avoid unjustified offence, and that protection from harmful content is in place. Ofcom will set content standards for the BBC so that its viewers and listeners are adequately protected.

The previous Charter and Agreement gave Ofcom shared regulatory oversight of some of the BBC's content standards with the BBC Trust, which will close when Ofcom takes on its new role. The new arrangement hands Ofcom regulatory responsibility for content standards on BBC broadcasting and on-demand programme services including, for the first time, for the accuracy and impartiality of BBC news and current affairs programmes. Ofcom will be updating the rules in its Broadcasting Code to fulfil these new responsibilities.

Ofcom will also create procedures for handling complaints about BBC content standards, and for conducting our investigations and sanctions.

Additionally, we will publish procedures explaining how audiences will be able to obtain an independent opinion from Ofcom on whether the BBC has observed relevant editorial guidelines for online material in its UK Public Services.

2. Protecting fair and effective competition

Fair and effective competition is good for viewers and listeners. It can increase choice and stimulate investment and innovation -- ensuring the provision of a wide range of high-quality and varied programmes, and different ways to access them.

Ofcom will assess the effect of the BBC's activities on audiences and the UK media sector, and set rules as to how the BBC should behave.

We will also impose requirements on the BBC to avoid the relationship between its public-service activities and commercial subsidiaries distorting the market, or creating an unfair competitive advantage for the BBC's subsidiaries.

3. Performance -- holding the BBC to account

Ofcom is currently developing a set of tools to regulate the BBC's performance. This will include an Operating Licence for the BBC's UK public services and may include any performance measures we consider appropriate, further to those set by the BBC, we will consult on this over the course of next year.

As explained in the Charter, we will have a particular focus on assessing the distinctiveness of the BBC's output. We will also hold the BBC to account in relation to its obligations to serve audiences in all four of the UK's nations and for diversity.

As part of the approach to performance, we expect to carry out both ad hoc and periodic reviews of the BBC's services.

 

  In an effort to demonstrate just how grown up and sophisticated we've become...

...Ofcom has added its voice to the lynch mob of censors whingeing at a joke about the Queen

Link Here 22nd November

dont make me laughDon't Make Me Laugh
BBC Radio 4, 21 April 2016, 18:30

Don't Make Me Laugh is a comedy show, hosted by David Baddiel. A panel of comedians taking part in the programme are asked to talk about why a subject is not funny, without making the audience laugh. If the audience does laugh, the subject passes to the next contestant.

Ofcom received 12 complaints about the episode broadcast on 21 April 2016 which featured a discussion about the Queen and sex. Complainants considered that references to the Queen in the programme were offensive and inappropriate. A number of complaints referred to the fact that the programme was broadcast on the Queen's 90th birthday.

The panel of comedians on this programme were Russell Kane, Sara Pascoe, Omid Djalili, and Adam Hess.

Round two of the show was introduced by David Baddiel:

In an effort to demonstrate just how grown up and sophisticated we've become, I would like you Russell Kane to tell us why there is nothing funny about the fact that Announcer: the Queen must have had sex at least four times [laughter from the studio audience].

The panel of comedians responded by making a number of personal comments about Prince Philip and the Queen. For example, Russell Kane said the following:

Four times we have to think of republicanism as we imagine four children emerging from Her Majesty's vulva and for me [audience laughter].

Ofcom considered its Rule 2.3:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 2.3

Throughout this segment of the programme, the panel made a number of comments about the Queen in an effort to explain why the subject of that round of the programme was not funny. We considered that comments about the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were made in a mocking way, which would have been perceived by many listeners as humiliating and intrusive. Ofcom took into account that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are public figures with wide exposure in the media. Nonetheless, we considered that the mocking and demeaning tone of these comments made them capable of causing offence. The potential for offence was increased by the fact that these remarks were broadcast on the Queen's 90th birthday.

Ofcom took into account that audiences expect some comedy programming to be challenging and to push at boundaries. However, the reaction of the audience to comedy material is subjective and can vary widely. In this case, the jokes about the Queen were made in a way that was mocking and demeaning. The fact that these jokes were made on her 90th birthday, in Ofcom's view, would have considerably increased the level of offence for many listeners. Furthermore, the level of potential offence was also increased to some extent by the fact this programme was pre-recorded, so that the BBC's editorial decision to broadcast this content on this day was likely to have been perceived by listeners as deliberate and not the result of for example an inadvertent misjudgement made during a live programme.

In Ofcom's view, it is likely that Radio 4 listeners would not have expected comedic content about the Queen of this strength and directness to be included in a Radio 4 comedy programme broadcast in the early evening on her 90th birthday.

We considered also that, for all these reasons, any listeners who had come across this content unawares may well have been surprised and disconcerted to hear it broadcast on Radio 4 at this time, on the Queen's 90th birthday.

The broadcast of this potentially offensive material was not justified by the context, and there was a breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

 

  Censorship denied...

Extremist's libel claim against the BBC's Sunday Politics for describing him as an extremist turned down by court on the grounds that the BBC's comment were true

Link Here 28th October

Old BaileyA libel claim brought against the BBC by Chief Imam, Shakeel Begg, has been dismissed today.

Begg, the Chief Imam at Lewisham Islamic Centre, sought damages against the BBC for libel in respect of a broadcast of Sunday Politics presented by Andrew Neil on BBC One, 3 November 2013. He denied being an extremist speaker who had recently promoted and encouraged religious violence by telling Muslims that it would constitute a man's greatest deeds.

Today in a written judgment The Honourable Mr Justice Haddon-Cave dismissed the claim stating that:

Shakeel Begg was something of a Jekyll and Hyde character whose speeches and postings, represent an overwhelming case of justification for the BBC, and that he clearly promotes and encourages violence in support of Islam and espouses a series of extremist Islamic positions.

A BBC Spokesperson said:

We were right to stand by the journalism of Sunday Politics. The judge has concluded, based on the evidence, that Imam Begg has preached religious violence and an extremist worldview in his remarks.

The trial took place between 27 June and 1 July 2016. The BBC defended the case on the basis that the broadcast was substantially true relying upon evidence from six speeches given by Begg to a variety of Muslim audiences between 2006 and 2011.