Chat Box, 6 July 2012, 21:23
Chat Box is an interactive chat messaging service that broadcasts on the Sky digital satellite television platform. Viewers are invited to send messages via premium rate text message to participate in either a private exchange with another user or the text-based conversation shown on screen. The on screen conversation is moderated and hosted by a text jockey .
The licence for this service is held by 4D Interactive.
Interactive chat services predicated on premium rate telephony are classified as teleshopping services and so are regulated under the BCAP Code.
Ofcom received a complaint about offensive references to cancer made by one of Chat Box’s text jockeys. The text jockey made various comments to one of the users of Chat Box about another user he had encountered on another interactive chat messaging service (who had been purporting to be the text jockey and with whom the text jockey had had various arguments via on-screen texts).
Text Jockey: lol it shows what a ghastly racist he is, i hope he gets cancer !, seriously i do cancer!
Text Jockey: lol banger 88 i hope he gets cancer .
Text Jockey: It’s an evil disease and he needs a lil touch of it, In more enlightened times he would have been stoned to death haha, I have to say that I cannot defend the jaw dropping racism he sends me daily, but its a reflection on him no one else, having the most ghastly disease on earth might be a leveller for people like him, showing him what a waste his life has been .
Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code, which states:
Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.
Ofcom Decision Breach of Rule 4.2
Ofcom noted the Licensee’s acknowledgement that the material was unsuitable for broadcast. We also took account of 4D Interactive’s good compliance history and the measures it took to address the issues raised by this case in the form of an on air apology and extra compliance training for its staff. However, it was clear to Ofcom that the text jockey’s repeated remarks in text wishing that the customer gets cancer had the potential to cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted standards. Ofcom considered that it was unacceptable for the text jockey, representing the Licensee, to make comments of this nature. The material therefore breached Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code.
Ofcom was concerned that the text jockey considered these comments acceptable for broadcast despite previous compliance training and his previous and extensive experience as a moderator.
Breach of BCAP Rule 4.2