Archive for the ‘BBC’ Category

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Ofcom logoThe BBC is refusing an order to pay £9 million a year to the TV censor Ofcom, in a behind-the-scenes row over the cost of the corporation’s new censorship regime.

Ofcom, which will take on responsibility for censoring the BBC in April, is locked in a private battle after warning BBC executives that it wants to appoint double the number of staff the BBC Trust, the broadcaster’s current ruling body, currently employs to censor the broadcaster.

The move will add more than £5 million to the regulatory bill currently footed by the licence fee payer, roughly equivalent to what the BBC spends on a six-part drama series .

The corporation is understood to have appealed to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, to force Ofcom to reduce its fees. Sue Owen, permanent secretary at the DCMS, is understood to have written to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, calling on her to cut the planned fees, but White is said to have argued that the proposed charges are ‘reasonable’.

The corporation is said to be particularly annoyed that Ofcom has demanded £6.5 million for the past financial year, which covers a period before the broadcaster assumes its full regulatory duties.

Ofcom insists that it will have a more wide-ranging role than the Trust, and will have to hold the BBC to account on new political correctness issues such as diversity targets.

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BBFC logoThe Belfast Telegraph reports that the BBFC wants to get rid of five of its current examiners by the end of the year and replace them with younger, less experienced, cheaper compliance officers.The trade union Unite has responded with the unlikely claim that the staff economies would risk material slipping through the censorship process. Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey has written to the BBFC’s president Patrick Swaffer about the planned staff changes. He wrote:

It has always been my impression that the BBFC has maintained the trust of the public, particularly in relation to its child protection responsibilities, through the recruitment of mature and experienced individuals who have come from a variety of backgrounds, both personal and professional.

It seems to me that to replace those individuals with young, inexperienced graduates is both unfortunate in terms of the BBFC’s public persona, and, quite possibly, a case of age discrimination.

Furthermore, I do not believe the public’s trust, and especially that of many parents, will be enhanced by the knowledge that the BBFC is willing to lose the few examiners who view material on a day-to-day basis who are themselves parents, a status that brings an unimpeachable knowledge and understanding of child development.

The examiners are being given a choice of leaving on voluntary severance terms or being redeployed as compliance officers with a reduction in status and £20,000-a-year drop in salary.

Unite is arguing that the cost savings are not necessary because the BBFC’s most recent accounts revealed an operating surplus of more than £1.2 million and that turnover is up by 2%, and operating costs down by the same amount. The union’s regional officer Rose Keeping said:

You can’t put a price on protecting children and young people from the tidal wave of sexually explicit and very violent films and videos that are available in 2016.

With less experienced examiners, there is an increased possibility that an unacceptable sex scene and/or one of extreme violence sneaking past the censors’ net – this would be detrimental to the promotion of child protection that the Government is actively supporting.

We are also investigating whether what the BBFC is proposing for our members contravenes the age discrimination provisions in the 2010 Equality Act.

The BBFC responded in a press release saying:

The BBFC’s classification standards protect children and empower families.

In making classification decisions, the BBFC has in place a structure that ensures consistency of approach and is based on published Classification Guidelines that are founded on large-scale public consultation.

The BBFC is currently in consultation with Unite in relation to this phase of the reorganisation of its examining and compliance functions, which began in 2013. The BBFC must respect the privacy of the ongoing formal consultation process.

Ofcom press censors…The government and Ofcom discuss censorship powers for text based internet news

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bbc news website logo Under the BBC’s new 11-year operating agreement, known as its royal charter, its governing body — the BBC Trust — will be axed next year and censorship powers will be handed to Ofcom.But industry sources have told us that this has presented a dilemma around online news, which has become a focus of recent discussions between the BBC, government, and Ofcom.

Abolishing the BBC Trust will effectively create a loophole in censorship powers, meaning the BBC will not be accountable to an independent body for the text articles it publishes on bbc.co.uk/news. Ofcom does not have the power to regulate online news text and, in the case of the BBC, is reluctant to do so. It has no experience of regulating online text and is only set up to regulate video content.

Sources also said that Ofcom has made clear to the government that taking on this task for the BBC could set a tricky precedent. They expressed concern that if Ofcom begins regulating bbc.co.uk/news, the door is then open for these powers to be extended to other broadcasters and publishers. Would you end up with Ofcom regulating Mail Online? asked one person with knowledge of the matter.

Discussions are ongoing and no decisions have been made. An Ofcom spokesman said: We’re still in discussions with the government on how the content of the white paper will be delivered.

A Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) spokesman said the BBC’s draft charter will make clear how we are addressing this issue when it is published later this month.

Read more BBC and BBC Trust Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

dont tell the bride Don’t Tell the Bride
BBC3,25 January 2016 (8.00pm): Finding by the Editorial Complaints Unit

In an exchange between the bride and her elder sister, the word twat was used. A viewer complained that this was inappropriate before the watershed, and should at least have been preceded by a warning.

Outcome: Complaint Upheld

Although not among the terms characterised by the Editorial Guidelines as the strongest language (which must not be used on television before the watershed), the word twat is unusual in having an innocent meaning for some viewers but an obscene meaning for others. On this occasion it was used in an affectionate context and without any sense of aggression, but this was not sufficient to mitigate the offence it is capable of causing to a segment of the audience.

The finding was widely discussed and debated by senior editorial figures in BBC Television and has been noted.

Read more BBC and BBC Trust Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

midsummer nights dream 2016 Russell T Davies revealed this week that he removed one of Helena’s lines from his version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream because he considers it irresponsible to transmit today.

Davies cut a declaration from Helena that she would be willing to die for love, in case, he said, it romanticised the idea of suicide.  He told the Hay literary festival:

I’m deliberately hoping to get young girls watching this and I will not transmit lines in which women are so much in love that they are threatening to commit suicide.

He also removed a line in which Helena asked a man to treat me as your spaniel ; it is not known if this was on the grounds of misogyny or animal rights.

See the article from theguardian.com for additional examples of BBC censorship including changing the character name Titty to Tatty in Swallows and Amazons

Read more BBC and BBC Trust Watch at MelonFarmers.co.uk

cuffs Cuffs,
BBC One, 28 October 2015

Complaint

We received complaints from viewers who felt that some of the content of Cuffs wasn’t appropriate for an 8pm time slot.

Response

Cuffs is an ambitious new drama for the 8pm slot on BBC One, and aims to reflect the reality of police work and the challenges facing the police force. This means it will sometimes tackle difficult issues. We took care to make potential viewers aware of the nature of the series, through trails and pre-publicity, so that people could make an informed decision as to whether they wanted to watch.

At the same time, we’re aware of our responsibilities to our audience and, as with all programmes, a great deal of thought went into appropriate scheduling. The content and placing of Cuffs was carefully considered at a senior level and we felt it was not beyond general audience expectations for a drama of this nature at 8pm. That said, we accept that tastes vary enormously and that some viewers might have a different point of view.

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alex dyke The BBC has suspended a radio DJ who said breastfeeding in public was unnatural and must be stopped .Radio Solent DJ Alex Dyke said during a phone-in on his Wednesday morning show that only librarian-type, moustachioed women breastfed in public and men who were not repelled by breastfeeding were wimps . He also said yummie mummies wouldn’t feed their children in public because they know it is not a good look and formula milk is just as good . He went on to say:

My point was fat chavvy mums with their boobs out on buses isn’t a good look. A classy discreet mum is absolutely fine. It was ok in the stone age when we knew no better, when people didn’t have their own teeth, but now I just think a public area is not the place for it and fellas don’t like it.

A BBC spokesperson said:

Following unacceptable comments made on air yesterday, Alex Dyke has been suspended pending an investigation, so he will not be on air tomorrow.

The BBC has also removed the show from iPlayer. It is not yet  clear whether Dyke has been sacked or suspended, but given the ranking of offence on the PC list of serious crimes, then surely he will be sacked.

During his Thursday morning show, Dyke issued an apology:

Yesterday on the show I spoke about breastfeeding. The comments I made during the broadcast were unacceptable and I would like to apologise for any offence caused.

But apologies are never enough these days, and the PC lynch mob always bays for extreme sanctions. A petition calling for Dyke to be taken off air received about 6,000 signatures, whilst the Telegraph reported that Dyke’s show had received hundreds of comments on social media and on parenting forums.

TV and radio censor Ofcom said it had received 14 complaints and had requested a recording of the show to assess whether to investigate. The BBC declined to say how many complaints it had received, citing a policy to withhold numbers when it suspects lobbying or media coverage has encouraged people to complain.