Complaints Burden on Small TV Channels

Some small TV channels are blitzed by malicious complaints that Ofcom fully investigates. Sometimes these complaints are not upheld, sometimes they are, but either way the channel has a cloud over it for the 6 months it takes Ofcom to decide even the simplest thing, and the channel incurs significant internal and external costs for each complaint.

The complaints in question are widely believed to be malicious, from rival broadcasters seeking commercial advantage. In some cases the complaint is technically correct, but it comes from a rival showing comparable material – they cannot genuinely claim to be offended. Some complaints relate to obscure channels that complainants claim to have been watching at 3am!

At best channels incur unreasonable costs and suffer months of uncertainty, at worst they are fined £30,000 or even £250,000 for "material likely to cause offence" where there has been no actual offence. Broadcasters have gone out of business as a result, others are marginal.

1. Complaints from 1 or 2 people should not be given the same weight as genuine complaints for 20 or 30 independent people.

2. Broadcasters should be able to insist that Ofcom checks the credentials of a complainant, rather than relying on emails from fake addresses.

3. What is the complainants genuine address (this should be verified but need not be disclosed).

4. Does the complainant have links to rivals?

5. Why was the complainant watching a clearly signposted channel with offensive material at 2 or 3am?

Why is this idea important?

Some small TV channels are blitzed by malicious complaints that Ofcom fully investigates. Sometimes these complaints are not upheld, sometimes they are, but either way the channel has a cloud over it for the 6 months it takes Ofcom to decide even the simplest thing, and the channel incurs significant internal and external costs for each complaint.

The complaints in question are widely believed to be malicious, from rival broadcasters seeking commercial advantage. In some cases the complaint is technically correct, but it comes from a rival showing comparable material – they cannot genuinely claim to be offended. Some complaints relate to obscure channels that complainants claim to have been watching at 3am!

At best channels incur unreasonable costs and suffer months of uncertainty, at worst they are fined £30,000 or even £250,000 for "material likely to cause offence" where there has been no actual offence. Broadcasters have gone out of business as a result, others are marginal.

1. Complaints from 1 or 2 people should not be given the same weight as genuine complaints for 20 or 30 independent people.

2. Broadcasters should be able to insist that Ofcom checks the credentials of a complainant, rather than relying on emails from fake addresses.

3. What is the complainants genuine address (this should be verified but need not be disclosed).

4. Does the complainant have links to rivals?

5. Why was the complainant watching a clearly signposted channel with offensive material at 2 or 3am?

Repeal laws criminalising creation of images with no illegal source material

The creation and personal possession of any image which has been created manually, be it through being sketched, painted or rendered using a computer, should be legal regardless of the contents of the images. If these images incorporate elements sourced from photographs (or similar) then they should still be legal to create or possess so long as the source image was also legal.

Any laws banning these images should be placed on the distribution or publication stage, and normally only where there is a justifiable reason to believe that distribution to the target audience will result in genuine harm to one or more individuals or products.

Example images where the publication or distribution could be controlled.

If the image contains pornographic or extremely violent material it would be desirable to make intentional distribution to minors illegal. There should already be plenty of laws covering this.

If the image has been created in such a way that when people look at the image they would mistakenly believe that a particular element of the image (e.g. a person, company or product) was involving in an act or situation that that element or its owner would not like to be believed to be involved in then it should be illegal to distribute under libel (or similar) grounds (this is most likely to occur when legal photographic source material has been manipulated so that it looks like an illegal act has occurred).


 

Why is this idea important?

The creation and personal possession of any image which has been created manually, be it through being sketched, painted or rendered using a computer, should be legal regardless of the contents of the images. If these images incorporate elements sourced from photographs (or similar) then they should still be legal to create or possess so long as the source image was also legal.

Any laws banning these images should be placed on the distribution or publication stage, and normally only where there is a justifiable reason to believe that distribution to the target audience will result in genuine harm to one or more individuals or products.

Example images where the publication or distribution could be controlled.

If the image contains pornographic or extremely violent material it would be desirable to make intentional distribution to minors illegal. There should already be plenty of laws covering this.

If the image has been created in such a way that when people look at the image they would mistakenly believe that a particular element of the image (e.g. a person, company or product) was involving in an act or situation that that element or its owner would not like to be believed to be involved in then it should be illegal to distribute under libel (or similar) grounds (this is most likely to occur when legal photographic source material has been manipulated so that it looks like an illegal act has occurred).


 

LIFT SMOKING BAN IN PUBS & CLUBS at management’s discretion

Let publicans decide whether to allow smoking in their establishments. Let CIU Clubs decide whether to lift the ban in their establishments. Give Pubs & Clubs, Bingo Halls, Betting Shops and other adult establishments the power to decide whether they want to lift the ban in adult over 18 establishments. Get rid of Nanny State Politics. Let the people decide.

Why is this idea important?

Let publicans decide whether to allow smoking in their establishments. Let CIU Clubs decide whether to lift the ban in their establishments. Give Pubs & Clubs, Bingo Halls, Betting Shops and other adult establishments the power to decide whether they want to lift the ban in adult over 18 establishments. Get rid of Nanny State Politics. Let the people decide.

Adult Prices at 15?

The idea that a child of as young as 15 can be charged with adult prices for certain things or to enter certain places is ridiculous.

It should be made law that adult prices mean someone who is 18 or older and not a student.

Why is this idea important?

The idea that a child of as young as 15 can be charged with adult prices for certain things or to enter certain places is ridiculous.

It should be made law that adult prices mean someone who is 18 or older and not a student.

R18 TV: Allow adults to see R18 porn on TV with safety controls

It is perfectly legal for adults in the UK to buy sexually explicit straight and gay DVDs and magazines. This is not to everyones taste and controls exist to stop people being offended by R18 films. This strength material is also easily available on the internet and mobile phones. Mediawatch UK, the ANTI porn campaign group estimates that 75% of adult males access internet porn, and that increasing numbers of women do. Clearly it is an important part of many peoples lives. Yet UK TV regulator Ofcom bans R18 explicit sex on TV, even late at night on clearly labelled lockable channels. This is a waste of Ofcom resources (they recently took 3 months to investigate a TV channel where the presenter was wearing the wrong colour knickers: Asian Babes,Bulletin 160). By banning this material Ofcom encourages people to access totally unregulated websites and foreign TV channels that permit acts not legal even in R18 films. By banning R18 explicit sex on TV Ofcom is contributing to marital tension and increasing the number of households that access material that could put children at risk. Since this material is totally legal in the UK if on DVD, in a magazine or on a UK website Ofcom is acting irrationally and against its own principles. Allow R18 strength explicit sex material on late night TV channels that can be locked out now.

Why is this idea important?

It is perfectly legal for adults in the UK to buy sexually explicit straight and gay DVDs and magazines. This is not to everyones taste and controls exist to stop people being offended by R18 films. This strength material is also easily available on the internet and mobile phones. Mediawatch UK, the ANTI porn campaign group estimates that 75% of adult males access internet porn, and that increasing numbers of women do. Clearly it is an important part of many peoples lives. Yet UK TV regulator Ofcom bans R18 explicit sex on TV, even late at night on clearly labelled lockable channels. This is a waste of Ofcom resources (they recently took 3 months to investigate a TV channel where the presenter was wearing the wrong colour knickers: Asian Babes,Bulletin 160). By banning this material Ofcom encourages people to access totally unregulated websites and foreign TV channels that permit acts not legal even in R18 films. By banning R18 explicit sex on TV Ofcom is contributing to marital tension and increasing the number of households that access material that could put children at risk. Since this material is totally legal in the UK if on DVD, in a magazine or on a UK website Ofcom is acting irrationally and against its own principles. Allow R18 strength explicit sex material on late night TV channels that can be locked out now.

OFCOM

Make OFCOM an elected body made up of members of the public.

Reform OFCOM's broadcasting code and bring it into the 21st Century by allowing ALL BBFC classified programme to be shown from U to R18. With BBFC 18 programming restricted to 2000 to 0530 and BBFC R18 programming restricted to 2200 to 0530 with PIN protection.

Why is this idea important?

Make OFCOM an elected body made up of members of the public.

Reform OFCOM's broadcasting code and bring it into the 21st Century by allowing ALL BBFC classified programme to be shown from U to R18. With BBFC 18 programming restricted to 2000 to 0530 and BBFC R18 programming restricted to 2200 to 0530 with PIN protection.