Posts Tagged ‘TV Censorship’

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American Beauty Blu-ray A well-placed source told me recently that late last year the BBC pulled plans to show the Oscar-winning film American Beauty on BBC1. Why? Because it stars Kevin Spacey, who had at that point just been accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour.

Spacey, who is now seeking treatment for his problems, has not been convicted in court of any of the offences levelled at him but the BBC seems to have decided it must shield licence fee payers from works of fiction he has appeared in anyway. No film involving Spacey has been broadcast by the BBC — or any other terrestrial TV channel — for months.

The same goes for Woody Allen. In 1992 he was accused of sexually molesting his adopted daughter, Dylan.

The writer asked the main TV companies for their comments but they weren’t willing to say anything worthwhile. Channel 4 was the only company even willing to allude to #MeToo reaction. A spokesman said:

Channel 4 and Film4 are always mindful of current events when scheduling films for broadcast. We select films on a case by case basis, taking into account the nature of the films and the likely impact their broadcast might have on our audiences given current events.

Read the full  article from blogs.spectator.co.uk

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Family At War - Complete Series - uncut full length Box Set A Family At War
Talking Pictures TV, 19 November 2017, 20:15

Talking Pictures TV is an entertainment channel broadcasting classic films and archive programmes.

A Family At War was a British period drama series made between 1970 and 1972, about the experiences of a family from Liverpool during the Second World War. The episode Hazard was produced in 1971 and showed one of the main characters, Philip Ashton, serving in the British army in Egypt in 1942, focusing on his encounter with another soldier, Jack Hazard.

We received a complaint about offensive language in this episode, as follows:

  • in a scene set in an army mess in the Egypt desert, Hazard, a white British soldier, ordered some drinks and asked the barkeeper to get a waiter to bring the drinks over to where Hazard and Ashton were sitting by saying: “Send the wog over with them, will you?”. When the Egyptian waiter brought the drinks to Hazard and Ashton’s table, Hazard said to him, “And how’s the war going for you, Ahmed, you thieving old wog…you old thief…you thieving old sod?”;

  • in a scene set in Hazard and Ashton’s tent on their army base, Hazard asked Ashton to accompany him to the army bar by saying: “Let’s go down to the woggery, there’s bound to be a fair bit of skirt out of bounds… Or perhaps Ahmed could fix us up with a female wog? [laughs] I bet he rents out his kid sister”; and

  • in a later scene set in Hazard and Ashton’s tent Hazard said the following to Ashton: “You know what I think I’ll do on my next leave? I’ll pay a visit to the wog tattooist”.

Ofcom considered rule 2.3:

“In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context…”.

Talking Pictures said that it believed the inclusion of the potentially offensive racist language in this episode was justified by the context. It explained that the creator of the series, John Finch, had intended it to challenge the 1970s audience’s understanding of the Second World War by being honest to the realities of the war time period206 shocking as that may be, and broadcast within the constraints and conventions of the time.

Talking Pictures said that it had suspended any further broadcast of this episode. It also said that it had contracted a third-party expert to conduct a review of all content containing racial language to complement its existing compliance system

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 2.3

We first considered whether the language had the potential to cause offence. Ofcom’s 2016 research on offensive language makes clear that the word wog is considered by audiences to be a derogatory term for black people and to be among the strongest language and highly unacceptable without strong contextualisation.

We considered that the word wog was used in a clearly derogatory way towards an Egyptian character Ahmed, both directly to Ahmed’s face and later when he is not present. The Licensee argued that some of Hazard’s offensive statements related to actual Second World War references, namely the term WOG [which] was originally ‘Working on Government Service’ before it became an ethnic and racial slur. We understand that the derivation of wog is contested, but irrespective of its origins, and as acknowledged by Talking Pictures, the term today is considered highly offensive.

We acknowledged that the Licensee’s audience would have recognised that they were watching a programme made several decades ago when attitudes to language were different. However, we considered that the repeated use of highly offensive racist language without direct challenge carried a high risk of causing significant offence today.

It is Ofcom’s view that the broadcast of this offensive language exceeded generally accepted standards, in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

Talking Pictures was previously found in breach of the Code for the broadcast of racially offensive language without sufficient contextual justification on 9 January 20173 and 8 January 20184 (for material broadcast on 24 August 2016 and 13 September 2017 respectively). Ofcom is requesting Talking Pictures to attend a meeting to discuss its

A little background about Talking Pictures

24th February 2018. See  article from express.co.uk

talking pictures tv logoTalking Pictures TV, a family-owned, father and daughter-run station with only three members of staff, launched on Freeview less than three years ago but it already has over two million viewers.

Its unashamedly nostalgic diet of mainly old black-andwhite films, documentary shorts and TV series of yesteryear has proved a huge hit with the public and – we are informed – the Queen.

Alas not everyone is happy about the great service to film and vintage TV buffs that the channel is providing. Media regulator Ofcom has summoned Talking Pictures TV managing director Sarah Cronin-Stanley and her father Noel to a meeting to discuss compliance issues after the channel was found in breach of rules regarding the broadcasting of offensive language.  Sarah commented:

There are some films that are too horrible to show. But our view of context is different to Ofcom’s. The word used in A Family At War is one that quite rightly we don’t use today but it was one the character – who wasn’t very likeable – would have used at the time in which the drama was set, which is why we didn’t censor it. He was in Egypt during the war and was talking to squaddies.

The Express writer commented:

It’s also worth bearing in mind that A Family At War was hugely popular when first shown on ITV in the 1970s.

The Ofcom intervention raises serious issues about censorship and attempts to rewrite history. The fact is that terms we regard as offensive today were used by people every day in the past.

Ofcom can’t censor British TV history – surely we are meant to learn from the past

Daily Mail logo24th February 2018. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

And of course a few colourful comments from the Daily Mail. See  article from dailymail.co.uk

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Ofcom logoEffective from 3 April 2017, Ofcom has become the BBC’s first external TV censor.The BBC Trust has therefore ceased to be. The remaining governance functions carried out by the BBC Trust will move to the new BBC unitary board.

Ofcom’s proposals

Programmes made for UK audiences: The BBC’s spending on brand new UK commissioned programmes fell 30% in real-terms between 2004 and 2015. Therefore, we are proposing quotas for first-run UK originations programmes to be shown on BBC One, BBC Two, CBeebies and CBBC.

Under our plans, three quarters of all programme hours on the BBC’s most popular TV channels should be original productions, commissioned for UK audiences. During peak viewing time 203 from 6pm to 10.30pm 203 at least 90% of programmes on BBC Two should be original, matching the current requirement for BBC One (see table below).

News and current affairs: We plan to increase the previous requirements for news and current affairs 203 including for BBC One and BBC Two 203 where they have been exceeded, to safeguard this important genre. During peak listening periods, Radio 2 would be required, for the first time, to air at least three hours of news and current affairs per week, and Radio 1 to broadcast an extended news bulletin in peak-time listening each weekday. Neither station currently has these obligations during peak listening hours.

Music: The BBC plays a unique role in showcasing musical talent and genres to people across the country. Our rules would mean a significant proportion of the new music played by Radio 1 and Radio 2 should be from new and emerging UK artists. Radio 3 should continue to play a central role in supporting the UK’s classical music scene, commissioning at least 25 new musical works each year, and developing relationships with non-BBC UK orchestras, opera companies and festivals.

Arts and learning: Our plans would mean that BBC One and BBC Two would have tougher requirements for showing arts, music and religious programmes, including new requirements to show some during peak viewing times.

Children: New rules would require CBBC to show at least 400 hours 203 and CBeebies at least 100 hours 203 of brand new UK commissioned programming each year. CBeebies would have to provide content in a number of genres that support pre-school children’s learning.

Sport: The BBC should provide distinctive sports coverage for fans in all the UK’s nations. Ofcom’s research found that people want the BBC to cover a wide range of sports. So we will require Radio 5 Live to provide live commentary, news and programmes covering at least 20 sports, to help support those that are not getting the attention they deserve.

Reflecting the whole UK: Ofcom wants all parts of the UK to be reflected, and invested in, by the BBC. So we are introducing minimum quotas for each UK nation. This means the BBC must spend the same on programmes, per head, in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as ensuring that at least half of all programmes shown nationally and produced in the UK are made outside of London.

Also, we will soon review our guidance on programmes made outside London, to ensure these productions make a genuine contribution to the creative economies of the UK’s nations and regions, which could include greater programme making or investment in these areas.

There would be a new Diversity Code of Practice to set how the BBC will commission programmes that authentically portray the whole UK population. And the BBC will have to report annually on how it has reflected, represented and served the diverse communities of the whole UK 203 focusing on age, gender, disability and race, among other characteristics.

High programme standards: To hold the BBC’s programmes to the highest standards, Ofcom has today published updates to the Broadcasting Code 203 the rulebook for UK broadcasters which sets standards for the content of programmes. Today’s changes will see that, for the first time, the Code applies in full to BBC broadcasting services and the iPlayer.

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The Walking Dead The Walking Dead producers toned down some of the violence in the first half of season seven after a backlash to a gruesome killing scene in the season opener.Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd acknowledged that the negative response to the bludgeon slayings of two key characters in the premiere prompted producers to make adjustments in episodes that were still in production. She said:

We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence. We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.

Hurd made it clear that the response made an impact on the production team. This is not a show that is torture porn, she said. After the response to the finale, she said they gave strong consideration to making sure we don’t cross that line.

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european commission logo A new legislative proposal amending the AVMSD has been adopted by the European Commission on 25 May 2016. The reform brings the Directive in line with the new realities. Share A media framework for the 21st century

Viewers, and particularly minors, are moving from traditional TV to the online world, while the regulatory burden is much higher on TV. The Directive therefore introduces flexibility when restrictions only applicable to TV are no longer justified. At the same time, it ensures that consumers will be sufficiently protected in the on-demand and Internet world. This is done while making sure that innovation will not be stifled.

The idea is to achieve a balance between competitiveness and consumer protection.

What’s new?

The main new elements of the proposal are summarised below:

  1. The Country of origin principle (COO)

    COO is a cornerstone of the Directive . It will be maintained and facilitated by:

    • simplifying the rules which determine the country having jurisdiction over a provider,

    • establishing an obligation on Member States to inform about what providers are under their jurisdiction and maintaining an up-to-date database to ensure transparency,

    • clarifying cooperation procedures between Member States regarding permissible limitations to COO.

  2. Commercial Communications

    The proposed modifications aim at reducing the burden of TV broadcasters while maintaining, and even reinforcing those rules seeking to protect the most vulnerable. For example, the revised AVMSD:

    • maintains the strict 20% limit on advertising time, but gives broadcasters more flexibility as to when ads can be shown,

    • it allows more flexibility in putting product placement and sponsorship,

    • it encourages the adoption of self- and co-regulation for the existing rules seeking to protect the most vulnerable (alcohol advertising, fatty food, minors, etc.).

  3. Promotion of European works

    The proposed modifications aim at enhancing the promotion of European works by:

    • allowing MS to impose financial contributions to providers of on-demand services established in other MS (but only on the turnover generated in the imposing country),

    • putting on-demand players under the obligation to promote European content to a limited level by imposing a minimum quota obligations (20% share of the audiovisual offer of their catalogues) and an obligation to give prominence to European works in their catalogues,

    • low turnover companies, thematic services and small and micro enterprises are exempted from these requirements.

  4. Prohibition of hate speech

    The grounds for prohibiting hate speech will be aligned to those of the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia ( Decision 2008/913/JHA ). This prohibits incitement to violence and hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to sex, race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.

  5. Protection of Minors

    The proposed modifications aim at simplifying the obligation to protect minors against harmful content. It now says that everything that ‘may be harmful’ should be restricted on all services. The most harmful content shall be subject to the strictest measures, such as PIN codes and encryption. This will apply also to on-demand services.

    Member States shall ensure that audiovisual media service providers provide sufficient information to viewers about harmful content to minors. For this purpose, Member States may use a system of descriptors indicating the nature of the content of an audiovisual media service.

  6. Platforms

    Video-sharing platforms will be included in the scope of the AVMSD only when it comes to combat hate speech and dissemination of harmful content to minors.

    Platforms which organise and tag a large quantity of videos will have to protect minors from harmful content and to protect all citizens from incitement to hatred, based on new EU-specific terms in the revised AVMSD. Fully in line with the ecommerce Directive , this builds on existing efforts by the industry and will be implemented by co-regulation.

  7. The Audiovisual Regulators

    The independence of audiovisual regulators will be enshrined into EU law by ensuring that they are legally distinct and functionally independent from the industry and government (eg they do not seek nor take instructions), operate in a transparent and accountable manner which is set out in a law and have sufficient powers.

  8. ERGA (The European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services)

    ERGA will have a bigger role in shaping and preserving the internal market, for example in assessing EU co-regulatory codes and will take part in the procedures derogating from the country of origin.

    The role of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) will be set out in EU legislation.

What’s next?

Once adopted by the European Commission, the legislative proposal is sent to the European Parliament and to the Council.

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Theresa May Theresa May’s plan to introduce counter-extremism powers to vet British broadcasters’ programmes before transmissionwas attacked by a Conservative cabinet colleague, a leaked letter has revealed. Presumably May’s censorship proposalis targeted at muslim TV channels broadcast in the UK or perhaps wider religion based channels but it is too politically incorrect to mention the target of these proposals.Sajid Javid described the Home Secretary’s proposal to give Ofcom extra powers to censor extremist content as a threat to freedom of speech and reducing Ofcom to the role of a censor.

Javid pointed out that other countries which have imposed similar powers are not known for their compliance with rights related to freedom of expression and the Government may not wish to be associated with such regimes .

He sent the letter on March 12 when he was Culture, Media and Sport Secretary to inform the Prime Minister that he could not support May’s counter extremism strategy and sent a copy to the Home Secretary. In the letter published by the Guardian, Javid wrote:

Extending Ofcom’s powers to enable it to take pre-emptive action would move it from its current position as a post-transmission regulator into the role of a censor.

This would involve a fundamental shift in the way UK broadcasting is regulated, away from the current framework which is designed to take appropriate account of the right to freedom of expression.

Whilst it is absolutely vital that Government works in partnership with individuals and organisations to do all it can to ensure that society is protected from extremism, it must also continue to protect the right to freedom of expression and ensure that these proposals do not restrict or prevent legitimate and lawful comment or debate.

Cameron last week outlined plans to fast-track powers to tackle radicalisation, including a commitment to give Ofcom a strengthened role in taking action against channels which broadcast extremist content, alongside banning and disruption orders for people who seek to radicalise others or use hate speech in public. It is not clear whether the Government has revisited May’s plans since taking office, or whether they could be included in next week’s Queen’s Speech.

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See article from dailymail.co.uk

Theresa MayHate preachers will be banned from British television, Theresa May signalled last night.

The Home Secretary condemned the BBC and other broadcasters for interviewing disgusting extremist cleric Anjem Choudary after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby. May said she will ask TV censor Ofcom to step in.

Under plans to be drawn up by a new task force on extremism, Ofcom is expected to be given powers to stop hate preachers appearing on television. At the moment the censor has the power to intervene only after an inappropriate broadcast has been made.

The move is the most dramatic attempt to gag extremist views since the Thatcher government’s 1988 ban on IRA spokesmen being heard on television, which led to the words of Gerry Adams being read out by an actor.