Red Hot Mums
8-9th January 22:20 – 00:30
Red Hot Mums is a pay-per-view channel which broadcasts adult content on Sky channel 905. It broadcasts most of its content subject to mandatory restricted access protections. The licensee is RHF Productions Ltd.
A viewer complained that strong sex material was transmitted without mandatory restricted access for ten minutes on the night of 8 January 2011 at 23:20.
After investigation the broadcaster confirmed that another ten-minute sequence had been broadcast without encryption on the night of 8 January 2011 and that two ten- minute transmissions had been wrongly broadcast without mandatory restricted access protections the following night. The broadcaster supplied recordings of all of the material concerned.
The recordings variously contained portrayals of intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus and the use of sex aids but the sexual activities featured were either simulated or not shown with explicit detail. Clear shots of female genitals were included. Strong sexual language, including sexual swear words, also featured heavily in much of the material.
- Rule 1.18: ‘Adult sex material’ – material that contains images and/or language of a strong sexual nature which is broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation – must not be broadcast at any time other than between 2200 and 0530 on premium subscription services and pay per view/night services which operate with mandatory restricted access. In addition, measures must be in place to ensure that the subscriber is an adult.
- Rule 2.1 Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.
- Rule 2.3 In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.
In addition, the two sequences from 9 January 2011 contained a number of spot advertisements for sex chat phone services and pornographic products. Therefore Ofcom also considered
- Rule 23.2.1 Television only – Advertising for telecommunications-based sexual entertainment services is only acceptable on…encrypted elements of adult entertainment channels…
- Rule 30.3 Television only – Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only.
RHF said that the broadcast without encryption of the four sequences of adult material had been the result of human error. The Licensee told us that the employees concerned were suspended and an investigatory meeting held. Following further investigation the two experienced members of staff received formal written warnings.
It was clear to Ofcom – and was admitted by the Licensee – that the content complained of was adult sex material. This was because it contained images of a strong sexual nature broadcast for the primary purpose of sexual arousal or stimulation, therefore breaching Rule 1.18. Rules 2.1 and 2.3 were also breached.
As regards Rules 23.2.1 and 30.3 of the BCAP Code, Ofcom noted that the spot advertisements were for telecommunications-based sexual entertainment services and other pornographic products (and so came within the recognised character of pornography), and were not encrypted. These BCAP Rules were therefore also contravened.
However, Ofcom noted this was the first time that the Licensee had made transmission errors of this sort had occurred with RHF and we noted the arguments presented in mitigation. In light of this, Ofcom stopped short of referring this case for consideration of the imposition of a statutory sanction.
However, as with all breaches of the Code and BCAP Code, these will be held on file, forming part of the Licensee’s compliance history. Ofcom is putting the Licensee on notice that, should it repeat similar breaches in the future, we will proceed to consider the imposition of statutory sanctions.