Archive for the ‘Ofcom TV Censor’ Category

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Melting Pot - The Best of Blue Mink The Music Marathon
Gold, 27 May 2019, 12:45

The Music Marathon is a music programme on Gold which is broadcast on AM radio in Manchester, London, Derby and Nottingham and nationally on DAB. The licences for these services are held by Global Radio Limited.

Ofcom received a complaint about offensive language (“yellow Chinkies”) in the music track Melting Pot, a song from 1969 by Blue Mink . No introduction to the track was broadcast, or any other content discussing it. The track included the following lyrics:

“Take a pinch of white man,
Wrap him up in black skin,
Add a touch of blue blood,
And a little bitty bit of Red Indian boy.
Oh, Curly Latin kinkies,
Mixed with yellow Chinkies,
If you lump it all together
And you got a recipe for a get along scene;
Oh what a beautiful dream
If it could only come true, you know, you know.

What we need is a great big melting pot,
Big enough to take the world and all it’s got
And keep it stirring for a hundred years or more
And turn out coffee-coloured people by the score”.

We considered that references in the lyrics (including “yellow Chinkies”, “Red Indian boy”, “curly Latin kinkies” and “coffee-coloured people”) raised potential issues under Rule 2.3 of the Code:

Rule 2.3: “In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language…discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of…race…) Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence”.

Global Radio said that it understood some of the lyrics in this song had the potential to cause offence but said that the other lyrics and the context of the time it was written and released mitigated the potential for offence. It said that the offensive language was not intended to be used in a derogatory fashion in the song. It said that the term yellow Chinkies was not used as an insulting term directed at a person of Chinese origin. The Licensee said that it is clear from the lyrics of the song that the message of the song is racial harmony, inclusivity and equality

The Licensee said that following the complaint notification from Ofcom, it had permanently removed the track from Gold’s playlist.

Ofcom decision: Resolved

We considered that the use of the term yellow was a derogatory reference to the skin colour of Chinese people. We therefore considered that the phrase yellow Chinkies had the potential to be highly offensive.

Ofcom’s research does not provide direct evidence for the offensiveness of the terms Red Indian boy , curly Latin kinkies and coffee-coloured people . However, Ofcom considered that Red Indian is generally understood to be a pejorative term in modern speech and is frequently replaced with Native American . Although the terms curly Latin kinkies and coffee-coloured people are not widely understood to be racial slurs in modern society, unlike the terms Chinky and Red Indian , we considered that they had the potential to cause offence because they could also be considered derogatory references to particular ethnic groups.

In our view, the potential offence caused by these lyrics may have been heightened by the cumulative effect of the repeated use of this language during the verse and chorus

In considering the context of the broadcast, Ofcom took into account that Melting Pot was released in 1969 by Blue Mink, and reached number three in the UK Singles chart and number 11 in Ireland in 1970. We considered that, although this song was popular at the time, the passage of time (nearly 40 years) may have not made it sufficiently well-known today to mitigate the potential for offence.

Ofcom also considered Global’s argument that any offence was mitigated in this case by the positive intention of the song, which was a message of racial harmony.

We did not agree that this provided sufficient context to mitigate the potential for offence. The title Melting Pot, which may have provided an indication of the track’s overall message, was not broadcast, nor was the song introduced with any contextual information that would have highlighted its overall message to listeners. There was also no other context provided to justify the broadcast of the offensive language.

For all of the reasons above, Ofcom’s Decision is that this potentially offensive material was not justified by the context.

However, we took into account the steps taken by the Licensee following notification of the complaint from Ofcom. We acknowledged that it said it had removed the track permanently from Gold’s playlist.

Our Decision therefore, is that this case is resolved.

Content from previous decades can be broadcast under the Code. However generally accepted standards clearly change significantly over time, and audience expectations of older content may not be sufficient to justify its broadcast. Where older material contains content, such as language, which has the potential to cause offence to today’s audiences, broadcasters should consider carefully how to provide sufficient context to comply with Rule 2.3 of the Code.

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russia today international logo Ofcom has fined the news channel RT £200,000 for serious failures to comply with our broadcasting rules — and required the channel to broadcast a summary of our findings to its viewers.

Ofcom has rules in place requiring broadcast news to be presented with due impartiality.

Our investigation found that RT failed to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes between 17 March and 26 April 2018.

Taken together, these breaches represented serious and repeated failures of compliance with our rules. We were particularly concerned by the frequency of RT’s rule-breaking over a relatively short period of time.

The programmes were mostly in relation to major matters of political controversy and current public policy — namely the UK Government’s response to the events in Salisbury, and the Syrian conflict.

Ofcom decided to impose a financial penalty of £200,000; and direct RT to broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s findings, in a form and on dates to be determined by Ofcom. We consider this sanction to be appropriate and proportionate. It takes into account the additional steps that RT has taken to ensure its compliance since we launched our investigations; and that we have not recorded any further breaches of our due impartiality rules against RT to date.

Ofcom will await the conclusion of RT’s application for judicial review of our breach decisions before enforcing the sanction.

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ico ad snooping The ICO has commissioned research into consumers’ attitudes towards and awareness of personal data used in online advertising.

This research was commissioned by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Ofcom provided advice on the research design and analysis. The objective of this research was to understand the public’s awareness and perceptions of how online advertising is served to the public based on their personal data, choices and behaviour.

Advertising technology — known as adtech — refers to the different types of analytics and digital tools used to direct online advertising to individual people and audiences. It relies on collecting information about how individuals use the internet, such as search and browsing histories, and personal information, such as gender and year of birth, to decide which specific adverts are presented to a particular person. Websites also use adtech to sell advertising space in real-time.

The research finds that more than half (54%) of participants would rather see relevant online adverts. But while 63% of people initially thought it acceptable for websites to display adverts, in return for the website being free to access, this fell to 36% once it was explained how personal data might be used to target adverts.

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celebrity big brother 2018 Celebrity Big Brother was the television programme that earned the most viewer complaints to TV censor Ofcom in 2018.During 2018, Ofcom received almost 56,000 complaints about programmes from viewers and listeners. The ‘top 10’ most complained about television shows together prompted more than 47,000 audience complaints to Ofcom.

  • Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5 attracted the most complaints in 2018 (27,602). The majority related to an allegation of physical abuse made by Roxanne Pallett against Ryan Thomas.
  • Loose Women on ITV attracted the second highest volume of complaints this year (8,002). The majority related to an interview with guest Kim Woodburn.
  • Sky News : 4,251 complaints (of which 3,462 noted the bias in the editing of Tommy Robinson in an interview (27 Sept); and 592 related to comments by Kay Burley’s comparing Simon Weston’s injuries to a woman wearing a burqa (7 Aug)).
  • Love Island : 4,192 complaints (of which 2,644 related to Dani Dyer’s reaction when shown a video of boyfriend Jack reacting to his former partner entering Casa Amour (1 July); 632 raised concerns about the emotional wellbeing of contestant, Laura Anderson (10 July); and 540 related to perceived unfair editing of contestant, Samira Mighty (12 July)).
  • Coronation Street : 1,098 complaints (of which 214 related to the storyline involving the date-rape of David Platt and its aftermath (16,19 March); 211 related to Billy Mayhew taking drugs in a church (26 Feb); and 95 related to Pat Phelan’s murder of Luke Britton (5 Jan)).
  • Emmerdale : 759 complaints (of which366 complaints related to an acid attack storyline (8 Feb); and 116 related to the murder of Gerry Roberts (17 May)).
  • Good Morning Britain : 548 complaints (of which 86 considered that Piers Morgan displayed bias in favour of President Trump during an interview with Ash Sarkar (12 July); and 74 related to Adil Ray’s introduction of the show as “Good Morning Asian Britain” (13 August)).
  • This Morning : 402 complaints (of which 133 raised concerns that a guest who featured in a segment about breastfeeding was not sufficiently expert (12 Sept); and 30 related to a discussion about donor breastmilk which complainants considered did not support breastfeeding and promoted formula milk (12 Apr).
  • I’m a Celebrity…Get me Out of Here: 335: The majority of these complaints (180) related to the use of animals in Bushtucker trials.
  • The X Factor : 286 complaints (of which 104 related to Cheryl’s routine (18 Nov); and95 related to sound issues affecting the performances of Danny Tetley and Anthony Russell (3 Nov)).
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Ofcom logo Ofcom has published a prospectus angling for a role as the UK internet censor. It writes:

Ofcom has published a discussion document examining the area of harmful online content.

In the UK and around the world, a debate is underway about whether regulation is needed to address a range of problems that originate online, affecting people, businesses and markets.

The discussion document is intended as a contribution to that debate, drawing on Ofcom’s experience of regulating the UK’s communications sector, and broadcasting in particular. It draws out the key lessons from the regulation of content standards 203 for broadcast and on-demand video services 203 and the insights that these might provide to policy makers into the principles that could underpin any new models for addressing harmful online content.

The UK Government intends to legislate to improve online safety, and to publish a White Paper this winter. Any new legislation is a matter for Government and Parliament, and Ofcom has no view about the institutional arrangements that might follow.

Alongside the discussion paper, Ofcom has published joint research with the Information Commissioner’s Office on people’s perception, understanding and experience of online harm. The survey of 1,686 adult internet users finds that 79% have concerns about aspects of going online, and 45% have experienced some form of online harm. The study shows that protection of children is a primary concern, and reveals mixed levels of understanding around what types of media are regulated.

The sales pitch is more or less that Ofcom’s TV censorship has ‘benefited’ viewers so would be a good basis for internet censorship.

Ofcom particularly makes a point of pushing the results of a survey of internet users and their ‘concerns’. The survey is very dubious and ends up suggesting thet 79% of users have concerns about going on line.

And maybe this claim is actually true. After all, the Melon Farmers are amongst the 79% have concerns about going online: The Melon Farmers are concerned that:

  • There are vast amounts of scams and viruses waiting to be filtered out from Melon Farmers email inbox every day.
  • The authorities never seem interested in doing anything whatsoever about protecting people from being scammed out of their life savings. Have you EVER heard of the police investigating a phishing scam?
  • On the other hand the police devote vast resources to prosecuting internet insults and jokes, whilst never investigating scams that see old folks lose their life savings.

So yes, there is concern about the internet. BUT, it would be a lie to infer that these concerns mean support for Ofcom’s proposals to censor websites along the lines of TV.

In fact looking at the figures, some of the larger categories of ‘concern’s are more about fears of real crime rather than concerns about issues like fake news.

Interestingly Ofcom has published how the ‘concerns’ were hyped up by prompting the surveyed a bit. For instance, Ofcom reports that 12% of internet users say they are ‘concerned’ about fake news without being prompted. With a little prompting by the interviewer, the number of people reporting being concerned about fake news magically increases to 29%.

It also has to be noted that there are NO reports in the survey of internet users concerned about a lack news balancing opinions, a lack of algorithm transparency, a lack of trust ratings for news sources, or indeed for most of the other suggestions that Ofcom addresses.

I’ve seen more fake inferences in the Ofcom discussion document than I have seen fake news items on the internet in the last ten years.

See also an article from vpncompare.co.uk which concurs with some of these concerns about the Ofcom survey.

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sharon whiteSharon White, the CEO of Ofcom has put her case to be the British internet news censor, disgracefully from behind the paywalled website of the The Times.White says Ofcom has done research showing how little users trust what they read on social media. She said that only 39% consider social media to be a trustworthy news source, compared with 63% for newspapers, and 70% for TV.

But then again many people don’t much trust the biased moralising from the politically correct mainstream media, including the likes of Ofcom.

White claims social media platforms need to be more accountable in how they curate and police content on their platforms, or face regulation.

In reality, Facebook’s algorithm seems pretty straightforward, it just gives readers more of what they have liked in the past. But of course the powers that be don’t like people choosing their own media sources, they would much prefer that the BBC, or the Guardian , or Ofcom do the choosing.

Sharon White, wrote in the Times:

The argument for independent regulatory oversight of [large online players] has never been stronger.

In practice, this would place much greater scrutiny on how effectively the online platforms respond to harmful content to protect consumers, with powers for a regulator to enforce standards, and act if these are not met.

She continued, disgracefully revealing her complete contempt of the British people:

Many people admit they simply don’t have the time or inclination to think critically when engaging with news, which has important implications for our democracy.

White joins a growing number of the establishment elite arguing that social media needs cenorship. The government has frequently suggested as much, with Matt Hancock, then digital, culture, media and sport secretary, telling Facebook in April:

Social media companies are not above the law and will not be allowed to shirk their responsibilities to our citizens.

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russia today international logoOfcom has today opened seven new investigations into the due impartiality of news and current affairs programmes on the RT news channel.

The investigations (PDF, 240.5 KB) form part of an Ofcom update, published today, into the licences held by TV Novosti, the company that broadcasts RT.

Until recently, TV Novosti’s overall compliance record has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.

However, since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

We will announce the outcome of these investigations as soon as possible. In relation to our fit and proper duty, we will consider all relevant new evidence, including the outcome of these investigations and the future conduct of the licensee.