On finding a television service to be unacceptable the UK's TV censors at ITC [now Ofcom] may recommend a proscription order, they also have to satisfy themselves that trade for the service exists within Britain and that an order
would prevent such trade. The Secretary of State must believe that the order would be in the public interest and that it is compatible with the United Kingdom's international obligations
Section 177 of the
Broadcasting Act 1990 allows for the secretary of state to make a proscription order for a foreign satellite service, the effect of which is to make it a criminal offence to supply any equipment for use in connection with the operation of the service; to
supply programme material or arrange for its supply; to place advertisements in the service; to publish any programme details of the service; and to supply or offer to supply any decoding equipment enabling the programmes to be received.
Article 22 of the EC Broadcasting Directive deals with the protection of minors. It falls into three sections. The first two deal directly with programmes which may harm children. There are two types of programmes in this
category. The first are programmes which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors. Programmes in this category, particularly those involving pornography or gratuitous violence must not be allowed. The second type are
programmes likely to impair the physical mental or moral development of minors. Programmes in this category may be shown if children are unlikely to have access because they are broadcast late at night or are encrypted. The final part of this Article
forbids the transmission of any programme which incites hatred on grounds of race, sex, religion or nationality.
In addition the broadcaster must have breached the article at least twice in the previous 12
months. The complaining state must inform the European Commission and the broadcaster of its intention to take measures should such an infringement occur again. The Commission and broadcaster have 15 days to produce an amicable
settlement. A section 177 order then comes into force 21 days after it is laid. It is subject to negative resolution.
Several hard-core pornographic satellite services were proscribed in the period up to 2000.
Since the incorporation of valuable protection for the European Convention on Human Rights effective from 2000, the proscription of standard hardcore channels has ceased. In fact a further proscription order against Satisfaction TV was
under supposedly under consideration for this 5 year period. However it would have been a clear breach of Human Rights to impose such a ban without justifying the reason that standard hardcore is harmful and so the order was quietly halted. Presumably
left on the books just to keep the nutters of Mediawatch-UK at bay.
However in 2005, the Government dusted off the proscription order for use against the more extreme Extasi. It seems that some of the material broadcast, eg
scat, had been considered obscene by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport. Hence they considered that a ban could be applied to this channel
The Government still proved themselves to be human rights abusers though and
made no attempt to justify or even explain why they decided to ban Extasi.