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?

Allow Foreign TV Channels on Sky

Margaret Thatcher saw the value of free speech and passed laws allowing UK citizens to easily watch foreign satellite TV channels. Freedom of speech and access to foreign sources helps democracy abroad. Yet in the UK the previous mixed-provider platform on Astra has been replaced with a system controlled by just one broadcaster, Sky. In theory non-UK channels can operate on the Sky platform, but in reality every channel is UK regulated by Ofcom or tacitly approved by Sky. It's market power makes direct competitors or types of channels Sky disapproves of unable to access the UK market. They can't get a transponder slot. If they do,m they can't get listed on the Sky EPG. If they do the cost is £25,000 or more per year.

This is an insurmountable hurdle for, say, a small French regional channel, that might want to broadcast to ex-patriot French working in Britain. A custom dish set-up is not an option for many people, particularly anyone in temporary accommodation.

The Sky platform has just 2 European channels, both bland state run "Best Of" packages. We should be strengthening our ties, not weakening them.

Not a Government issue? Not a freedom issue? Yes, Mr Moderator, it is. It will take Government action to force Sky (and Virgin, BT, etc) to carry european channels on request and at low cost, without UK regulation. (Dual regulation does not work).

Give the UK people freedom to hear the rest of the world, not just what big business wants us to hear.

Why is this idea important?

Margaret Thatcher saw the value of free speech and passed laws allowing UK citizens to easily watch foreign satellite TV channels. Freedom of speech and access to foreign sources helps democracy abroad. Yet in the UK the previous mixed-provider platform on Astra has been replaced with a system controlled by just one broadcaster, Sky. In theory non-UK channels can operate on the Sky platform, but in reality every channel is UK regulated by Ofcom or tacitly approved by Sky. It's market power makes direct competitors or types of channels Sky disapproves of unable to access the UK market. They can't get a transponder slot. If they do,m they can't get listed on the Sky EPG. If they do the cost is £25,000 or more per year.

This is an insurmountable hurdle for, say, a small French regional channel, that might want to broadcast to ex-patriot French working in Britain. A custom dish set-up is not an option for many people, particularly anyone in temporary accommodation.

The Sky platform has just 2 European channels, both bland state run "Best Of" packages. We should be strengthening our ties, not weakening them.

Not a Government issue? Not a freedom issue? Yes, Mr Moderator, it is. It will take Government action to force Sky (and Virgin, BT, etc) to carry european channels on request and at low cost, without UK regulation. (Dual regulation does not work).

Give the UK people freedom to hear the rest of the world, not just what big business wants us to hear.

Satellite Dishes for Flats

Allow occupants of flats to have satellite dishes fitted by registered dish fitters without requesting permission from landlords. One dish per flat, fixed position or steerable, up to 1.0 metre diameter. At present tenants have to ask permission and it is often refused if the landlord doesn't like the idea or has a shared dish on the roof – this forces the tenant to take the landlords choice, and usually plays into the hands of one large company. There are other satellites and nationalities out there. At best there are delays, prevarication and pointless paperwork.

Why is this idea important?

Allow occupants of flats to have satellite dishes fitted by registered dish fitters without requesting permission from landlords. One dish per flat, fixed position or steerable, up to 1.0 metre diameter. At present tenants have to ask permission and it is often refused if the landlord doesn't like the idea or has a shared dish on the roof – this forces the tenant to take the landlords choice, and usually plays into the hands of one large company. There are other satellites and nationalities out there. At best there are delays, prevarication and pointless paperwork.

Allow Anyone To Set Up A Local TV Station

Allow any one to set up a local TV station.  Impose a low power limit and prevent operators having licences for more than one area, but just make it easier.  Don't force people to categorise their channels. Remove massive bureacratic and operational hurdles – it's all but impossible to operate a TV channel without a legal department. Remove scope for malicious complaints.

OK, impose a few conditions. Convicted criminals, sex shop onwers and people "convicted" of trading offences in civil courts should be required to undergo full "Appropriate Person" checks, and debtors, but let ordinary people set up channels.

Let people sub-lease capacity at different times of day without assuming liability for content.

Make it even easier by making Ofcom provide "TV station in a box" model kits, eg docs, retention of recordings, etc.

And keep local council out of it, there is enough bland well meaning rubbish out there.

Why is this idea important?

Allow any one to set up a local TV station.  Impose a low power limit and prevent operators having licences for more than one area, but just make it easier.  Don't force people to categorise their channels. Remove massive bureacratic and operational hurdles – it's all but impossible to operate a TV channel without a legal department. Remove scope for malicious complaints.

OK, impose a few conditions. Convicted criminals, sex shop onwers and people "convicted" of trading offences in civil courts should be required to undergo full "Appropriate Person" checks, and debtors, but let ordinary people set up channels.

Let people sub-lease capacity at different times of day without assuming liability for content.

Make it even easier by making Ofcom provide "TV station in a box" model kits, eg docs, retention of recordings, etc.

And keep local council out of it, there is enough bland well meaning rubbish out there.

Switch off Motorway Lighting in Summer Months

The M1, M62, M6, M25 and no doubt many other motorways are lit, pretty much, from one end to the other.

The cost of running these lights must be horrendous, yet in the summertime we could pretty much do without them, saving both the money spent powering them for little real gain and the cost of the lamps, which would need replacing less often. Alternatively we could suppress every other lamp during the summer, thus cutting the costs by half.

Why is this idea important?

The M1, M62, M6, M25 and no doubt many other motorways are lit, pretty much, from one end to the other.

The cost of running these lights must be horrendous, yet in the summertime we could pretty much do without them, saving both the money spent powering them for little real gain and the cost of the lamps, which would need replacing less often. Alternatively we could suppress every other lamp during the summer, thus cutting the costs by half.

Reduce the luminosity and number of street lights and security lighting

Within the last ten years there has been an increase in the number of street lights erected throughout the U.K. For every one of  the  older  style sodium street light that  are   removed, three new style halogen  street lights are erected in its place.

There are a number of issues that this raises….

1. The luminosity of the new style halogen  lighting is far greater than the  sodium  style lighting. This creates nuisance on many levels . Normal residential streets have these halogen  lights on all night  the increased luminosity created by the extra number of lamp posts erected and the lumens they expend is at  a  totally unacceptable level to allow the occupants of the houses to sleep comfortably.

2. There have  not been any studies  carried out of the effects that  the  increase in luminosity has on humans,  animals,birds and insects.

3.  There has been no evidence that  the increase in street lighting has reduced the number of crimes i.e. muggings, burglary  to warrant the propensity of  street lighting and security lighting installed across the U.K . The installation of security lighting on residential dwellings are covered by planning regulations yet many domestic and commercial properties have inappropriate and excessive lighting installed that  cause nuisance and grievance to the surrounding neighbourhood.

4. The reasons given by many Local Authorities for the increase in Highways and Byeways and street lighting   is  that they are  carrying out  Government  Laws and European Directives and that the extra lighting helps to reduce crime and road accidents Both of these are lame excuses for  the excessive wastage of public money in  the production of electricity in the first place to be left burning all night at full luminosity.

5. The main reason that was put forward for changing over and   using  lower energy halogen  lighting was to reduce costs. This was to be achieved by the ability to alter the luminosity of the street  lighting to suit the environmental application . This cannot be happening if the number of street lights in cities, towns, villages , hamlets , highways and byeways has increased threefold exponentially and  all street lighting is set at full luminosity across the U.K.

6. There should be a reduction in the number of street lights erected on highways and byeways by reverting back to the previous permitted distances between lampposts. Lighting in residential areas should be set at a more acceptable lumen level that does not create discomfort and nuisance to the occupants of the dwellings. The act of reducing  commercial and domestic electric usage  and street lighting   that pollute our night sky  globally would have a significant effect on the reduction of carbon dioxide production created by the excessive production of electricity .

 

Why is this idea important?

Within the last ten years there has been an increase in the number of street lights erected throughout the U.K. For every one of  the  older  style sodium street light that  are   removed, three new style halogen  street lights are erected in its place.

There are a number of issues that this raises….

1. The luminosity of the new style halogen  lighting is far greater than the  sodium  style lighting. This creates nuisance on many levels . Normal residential streets have these halogen  lights on all night  the increased luminosity created by the extra number of lamp posts erected and the lumens they expend is at  a  totally unacceptable level to allow the occupants of the houses to sleep comfortably.

2. There have  not been any studies  carried out of the effects that  the  increase in luminosity has on humans,  animals,birds and insects.

3.  There has been no evidence that  the increase in street lighting has reduced the number of crimes i.e. muggings, burglary  to warrant the propensity of  street lighting and security lighting installed across the U.K . The installation of security lighting on residential dwellings are covered by planning regulations yet many domestic and commercial properties have inappropriate and excessive lighting installed that  cause nuisance and grievance to the surrounding neighbourhood.

4. The reasons given by many Local Authorities for the increase in Highways and Byeways and street lighting   is  that they are  carrying out  Government  Laws and European Directives and that the extra lighting helps to reduce crime and road accidents Both of these are lame excuses for  the excessive wastage of public money in  the production of electricity in the first place to be left burning all night at full luminosity.

5. The main reason that was put forward for changing over and   using  lower energy halogen  lighting was to reduce costs. This was to be achieved by the ability to alter the luminosity of the street  lighting to suit the environmental application . This cannot be happening if the number of street lights in cities, towns, villages , hamlets , highways and byeways has increased threefold exponentially and  all street lighting is set at full luminosity across the U.K.

6. There should be a reduction in the number of street lights erected on highways and byeways by reverting back to the previous permitted distances between lampposts. Lighting in residential areas should be set at a more acceptable lumen level that does not create discomfort and nuisance to the occupants of the dwellings. The act of reducing  commercial and domestic electric usage  and street lighting   that pollute our night sky  globally would have a significant effect on the reduction of carbon dioxide production created by the excessive production of electricity .

 

ban foreign ownership of British media

abolish the legislation which allowed foreigners to own/control British media (newspapers / TV / radio), and force them to hand over controlling interest to British owners.

Why is this idea important?

abolish the legislation which allowed foreigners to own/control British media (newspapers / TV / radio), and force them to hand over controlling interest to British owners.

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.