Noor TV is a digital satellite television channel broadcasting religious and other programming in Urdu from an Islamic perspective to
audiences in the UK and internationally.
On 17 November 2015, the Licensee broadcast the second instalment of a series of four programmes which had been recorded at the Urs Nehrian festival in Pakistan that had taken place in June 2015. The programme consisted of 15 religious scholars and
preachers addressing an assembled congregation with short sermons, homilies and poetic verses.
One of the speakers, Allama Mufti Muhammad Saeed Sialvi Sahib (“Allama Sialvi”), recounted a parable in which he stated that the Prophet Muhammed had given a general command to kill all Jewish people. He stated that upon hearing this command one Muslim
follower had immediately killed a Jewish trader with whom he had long standing business relations. Allama Sialvi held this to be an example of the devotion and obedience of a disciple to the Prophet Muhammed and on several occasions appeared to condone
the killing of a Jewish trader.
We noted that Allama Sialvi held the titles “Mufti” and “Allama”, denoting that he was a figure of religious authority within the Muslim community, and therefore someone whose views would carry some weight within the Muslim community.
We considered that Allama Sialvi's clear statement that religious obedience within the Islamic faith could be demonstrated through murder of Jewish people had the potential to be interpreted as spreading anti-Semitism, i.e. his comments could amount to a
form of hate speech . In this context we were mindful of the Council of Europe's definition of' hate speech', as follows: all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify racial hatred, xenophobia, anti-Semitism or other forms
of hatred based on intolerance, including: intolerance expressed by aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism, discrimination and hostility against minorities, migrants and people of immigrant origin
We considered that Allama Sialvi's speech, particularly due to his standing and authority within the Muslim community, involved clear potential to cause significant offence as it held up in unequivocal terms the killing of a Jewish person as an example
of devotion and obedience within the context of the Islamic faith. We also considered that the content had the potential to cause harm by portraying the murder of Jewish people in highly positive terms and promoting a highly negative anti-Semitic
attitude towards Jewish people.
Ofcom's Decision is that an appropriate and proportionate sanction would be a financial penalty of £75,000. In addition, Ofcom considers that the Licensee should broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings in this case, on a date and in a form to be
determined by Ofcom.
Amazon Prime Video has just launched in India, and have started on the wrong foot by censoring 30 minutes from an episode of The Grand Tour.
The fourth episode of The Grand Tour is listed as only 30 minutes in India, as opposed to the normal one hour. That's so that all references to a car made of meat could be excised from the show. It seems that India is a little meat sensitive for
It is reported that Amazon have made frequent recourse to blurring to censor more straightforward censorship issues such as nudity and other sexual content. Amazon are also quick to reach for the annoying bleep button when strong language is in the air.
The Amazon self censorship is a little confusing as this week, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting clarified that it has no plans to censor online streaming services.
The US moralist campaign group, Parents Television Council have kindly been hyping a new TV comedy series to be shown on ABC.
Written by Nick Thune and frequent collaborator Kevin Parker Flynn, Holy Sh*t follows the staff of a struggling church and their edgy new pastor (Nick Thune) as they fight to survive in the modern world.
The morality campaigners have issued a press releasing whingeing about the title. The group writes:
The Parents Television Council haveurged ABC to reconsider using profanity in the title of a TV show in development, Holy Sh*t . PTC President Tim Winter spouted:
ABC's primetime programs have become a home for explicit, vulgar, and sexualized language, and this new show's title is yet more evidence that Disney-owned ABC is going in the wrong direction. Beyond whether the vulgar title would run afoul of the
broadcast indecency law, it's absurd that ABC would even consider exposing children to this explicit program title. While parents may steer their family viewing away from the program itself, the title would appear on program guides, marketing materials,
and in network promos when families are watching other ABC programming.
Surely, ABC should have learned from experience that using profanity in a show title won't ensure a program's financial success. ABC and CBS have each attempted to use profanity in a program title and both attempts resulted in advertiser embargoes, and
in only one season of each of those shows.
With ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey saying just last week that 'in recent history we haven't paid enough attention to some of the true realities of what life is like for everyday Americans in our dramas,' we have to wonder why ABC would
immediately alienate those families with this show title.
ABC should immediately change the title in order to protect children from this explicit language.
Fox News is a news channel originating in the USA, broadcast on the digital satellite platform and licensed by Ofcom in the UK.
Hannity is a live current affairs programme, presented by Sean Hannity, that discusses and analyses political and news stories.
During routine monitoring, Ofcom identified three one hour programmes which were broadcast in the US at 22:00 Eastern Standard Time and simultaneously in the UK at 03:00. The programmes included a number of statements relating to the 2016 US Presidential
election. Our concern in this case was whether these three programmes were duly impartial in their coverage of the US Presidential election campaign.
Ofcom then cited pages of examples of pro Trump bias eg the following exchange in an interview with Trump:
Khizr Khan, a US citizen of Pakistani origin received widespread media attention for criticising Donald Trump at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Hannity : When you talk about refugees, illegal immigration, you're not talking about people like the Khans. For example, James Clapper, our National Director of Intelligence, our CIA Director, or FBI Director, Assistant FBI Director, our Chairman
of the House Homeland Security Committee, and even General John Allen, Obama's special envoy to defeat ISIS: They have all warned us that the refugees that Obama's taking in -- and Hillary wants a 550% increase -- that refugee population will be
infiltrated. Are you clear you are not talking about the Khans, you're talking about what these people are saying?
Trump : No, I'm not talking about the Khans, I'm not talking about a lot of people. I'm talking about people coming over here from Syria that aren't properly vetted, their immigration, nobody knows if they're ISIS, they don't know who they are.
They're being put all over the country. Hillary wants a 550% increase over what Obama's bringing in. Obama's bringing them in by the thousands, by the thousands, and she wants to bring them in 550% more. I think it's insane. Now I also think that what we
should do is build safe zones over in Syria, have the Gulf states pay for it. They've got plenty of money. They're not doing their job right nowâ?¦We have to get back to rebuilding our country, rebuild our infrastructure, create jobs, take jobs away from
Mexico and all these countries that are taking our jobs.
Ofcom considered Rule 6.1:
The rules in Section Five, in particular the rules relating to matters of major political or industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy, apply to the coverage of elections and referendums.
And the section 5 rules considered were:
Rule 5.11: In addition to the rules above, due impartiality must be preserved on matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy by the person providing a service (listed above) in each programme
or in clearly linked and timely programmes.
Rule 5.12: In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in clearly
linked and timely programmes. Views and facts must not be misrepresented.
Ofcom then spent several more pages analysing the bleedin' obvious, that Hannity (and Fox News in general) were heavily biased in favour of Trump. Ofcom concluded:
In these programmes, we considered that there were a large number of positive viewpoints expressed about Mr Trump and his campaign, coupled with the fact that Hillary Clinton and her candidacy were strongly criticised. As already mentioned above, this
meant that there was an overwhelmingly one-sided view on a matter of major political controversy and major matter relating to current public policy, i.e. the policies and actions of the two principal candidates contesting the 2016 US Presidential
For the reasons set out above, our Decision was that this material had clearly breached Rule 6.1 (and Rules 5.11 and 5.12).
TV censors of the Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) have banned at least 11 Christian TV channels being run across the country.
The channels which have been blocked are Isaac TV, Gawahi TV, God Bless TV, Barkat TV, Praise TV, Zindagi TV, Shine TV, Jesus TV (Jessi TV), Healing TV, Khushkhabari TV, and Catholic TV , sources said. All the channels relayed religious programmes for
Christians living in the country.
Pemra claimed the censorship was because the banned channels were broadcasting without licences but that was probably down to christian channels not being allowed to have licenses.
These TV channels are banned in line with ongoing Pemra campaign to ban illegal channels, Sheikh Tahir, the regulator's general manager media, told The Express Tribune . He said the blocked TV channels did not have licences to continue their
Pemra seeks ministry's help in enforcing Indian DTH ban
In response to a question that why only Christian TV channels were banned, Sheikh Tahir, the Pemra's general manager medias claimed there was no segregation in the name of religion.
Talking to The Express Tribune , Nadim Anthony, a Christian advocate and rights activist, termed it a blow to the Christian minority of the country. Anthony said the blocked channels had a huge viewership, through which community members took religious
guidance. He added:
There are so many Islamic TV channels functioning in the country but no one can dare ban them, which is discrimination.
Britain's TV censor, Ofcom, has fined Peace TV Urdu £65,000 for discriminatory remarks about the jewish community.
Peace TV Urdu is part of Zakir Naik's Peace TV group based in India. The group is currently under Indian government scrutiny and the process has been initiated to declare them terrorist entities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The
channel is also banned in Bangladesh after the Dhaka Terror Attack on advice of the internal security agencies.
Ofcom found the broadcast of the public lectures by an Islamic scholar highly critical and potentially offensive to the Jewish people. This was broadcast on September 12 and 13 on Peace TV Urdu.
Ofcom highlighted a number of discriminatory remarks made about the Jewish people as an ethnic group in the lectures delivered by Islamic scholar Israr Ahmed who died in April 2010. The role and actions of the Jewish people through history from c.1500 to
the present day were examined in the lectures that had comments like this cursed people, this cursed race , found to be offensive under Ofcom's rules.
Ofcom observes that the breach of the code was serious as the content included numerous examples of overwhelmingly negative and stereotypical references to Jewish people which, in its view, were a form of hate speech. The sanctions document notes:
Ofcom was concerned that the highly critical and negative statements made about Jewish people , uninterrupted by an individual likely to be held in high status by the viewers of Peace TV Urdu had the clear potential to cause harm by portraying Jewish
people in highly negative terms.
Peace TV expressed its sincere regret and acknowledged that the programme should not have been broadcast.
[This article contains spoilers about the spoiled episode].
The Walking Dead Season 7 started n UK TV on Monday night on Fox UK. However the first episode was cut for violence.
In both the US and the UK versions, Negan beats the heads of Abraham and Glenn into a bloody mess with his personalised barbed-wire baseball bat, Lucille. But the censored UK version is missing a dying promise from the gruesomely injured Glenn and the
subsequent scene showing Negan enthusiastically finishing him off.
Fox cited the violence and gruesome injury details as the reason for the cuts soon after the 9pm watershed. A FOX UK spokesperson told Digital Spy:
As Fox Networks Group is regulated by Ofcom, we have a duty of care to ensure all our programmes broadcast adhere to the parameters of the Ofcom Broadcasting code,
However, the scenes were restored for additional late-night broadcasts.
US morality campaigners are gushing with praise for the new season of The Walking Dead saying it was one of the most graphically violent shows they've ever seen
on TV. The group wrote:
Last night's season premiere of The Walking Dead was one of the most graphically violent shows we've ever seen on television, comparable to the most violent of programs found on premium cable networks. PTC President Tim Winter said:
It's not enough to 'change the channel,' as some people like to advocate, because cable subscribers -- regardless of whether they want AMC or watch its programming -- are still forced to subsidize violent content. This brutally-explicit show is a
powerful demonstration of why families should have greater control over the TV networks they purchase from their cable and satellite providers.
Programs with violent content are proven to be harmful, especially to children; and most parents agree that having greater control over violent content coming into their homes is vital to protecting their family. When a basic cable network like AMC edges
or even surpasses the premium networks in terms of explicit content, consumers must be afforded more control over which networks they purchase and which networks they don't.
Morality in Media are gushing over a new HBO TV series Westworld based n the novel by Michael Chrichton. The campaign group writes:
HBO is building a legacy of rape culture entertainment. The new HBO series, Westworld , premiered Sunday night and wasted no time before building upon this new great tradition in television of commodifying and consuming the female body.
The first episode of HBO's latest series, Westworld , contains a reference to the raping of a corpse, uses brothels as a backdrop for full frontal nudity, and includes a disturbing rape scene.
Why does HBO insist on making sadistic themes of sexual violence against women the key ingredient in its entertainment formula? No corporation that so regularly promotes the degradation and abuse of the female body can respect women.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood spoke out about the violence against women in Westworld. She stated:
We don't actually show any violence against women, although it is implied...(Co-creator) Lisa (Joy) was very passionate about not showing gratuitous violence against women and I think the reason why it's in the show is to push us to take a look at
ourselves and humanity and why this sort of thing is an epidemic that people get pleasure out of.
Of course, there is nothing implied about a scene in which a woman is brutally struck across the face--not once, but twice--and grabbed her by the back of her dress and literally dragged dozens of feet across the ground while she screams in
terror. If being hit, a drug off screaming isn't violence against women I don't know what is.
While it's true that Westworld did not explicitly show the rape scene (making it marginally less offensive than Game of Thrones ) the makers of Westworld are kidding themselves if they believe they're providing social commentary on violence
against women in the media. Rather than providing insightful, empathetic, narrative around these themes, Westworld uses them for the end of titillation and entertainment.
The actress Doon Mackichan has whinged about what she calls crime porn -- the use of brutalised women as entertainment fodder in television dramas such as The Fall .
The Smack the Pony actress calls on broadcasters to bring the body count down in a documentary for BBC Radio 4 in which she examines the prevalence of scenes of sexual violence involving women.
Mackichan focuses on shows such as The Killing , Luther and True Detective as well as interviewing Allan Cubitt, writer and director of The Fall. The BBC drama starring Gillian Anderson about a detective on the trail of a serial
killer. Mackichan attacked the show saying:
We've reached zero tolerance of these overused images and can move on from stories of brutalised women as entertainment fodder.
Cubitt countered telling Mackichan:
I don't know how you could possibly argue The Fall is misogynistic . The Fall sets out to critique these things. My mantra was always that we shouldn't sensationalise it, but we shouldn't sanitise it either.
In an interview for BBC Radio 4's Seriously ... podcast, Mackichan said she would:
Like there to be a real sea change ... because it bleeds into our culture. We do have a lot of what I call crime porn. The onus is with commissioners who commission these programmes, and with screenwriters ... who are pandering to the appetite that has
Today's viewers and listeners are less tolerant than ever before of discriminatory or racist language, Ofcom research claims.
People also say they are more likely to tolerate swearing on TV and radio provided it reflects real world situations and is set in the 'right' context.
The findings are from new research on people's attitudes towards potentially offensive language and gestures in broadcasting, the biggest study of its kind carried out by Ofcom.
The research used a mixture of focus groups, in-depth interviews, online surveys and discussions involving people from around the UK. It looked at 144 words, exploring what people were likely to find unacceptable, and the reasons why certain words were
judged to be offensive.
For the first time the research also included six offensive physical gestures and included some newer and more obscure language than when Ofcom last examined this area in 2010.
The research found that viewers and listeners take into account context, such as the tone, delivery and time of broadcast, when assessing whether offensive language is acceptable. People says they are more likely to tolerate some swearing if it reflects
what they would expect to see in real world situations.
Clear racist and discriminatory language was the most unacceptable overall. Such words were viewed as derogatory, discriminatory and insulting. Many were concerned about them being used at any time, unless they were particularly justified by the context.
Many said that discriminatory and racist words were harder hitting, carrying more emotional impact than general swear words.
Sexual terms were seen in a similar way to the stronger general swear words. They were viewed as distasteful and often unnecessary, but people said they found them more acceptable if used after the watershed, when they would be more prepared.
Occasional, accidental strong language before 9pm was seen as more acceptable on live TV and radio than in pre-recorded material. People agreed it was sometimes hard for broadcasters to control live programmes, but they were less accepting if they felt
broadcasters had acted carelessly or deliberately.
Swearing substitutes, and the bleeping-out of offensive language, were viewed as less acceptable when used frequently. The research found that most people would often understand which word was being substituted, and so the effect was similar to using the
actual word being used, especially if it was repeated.
Tony Close, Ofcom's Director of Content Standards Licensing and Enforcement, said:
We set and enforce rules to protect viewers and listeners from potentially harmful and offensive content on TV and radio. To do this, it's essential that we keep up to date with what people find offensive, and what they expect of broadcasters.
These findings will help us strike a balance between protecting audiences from unjustified offence, especially before the watershed, and allowing broadcasters to reflect the real world.
...And lets not forget that oh so important sound bite from Mediawatch-UK. Sam Burnett, of the morality campaign group said:
Ofcom is remarkably out of touch with the viewing public. This is just the latest signal of the declining standards on our screens.
Dave is a television channel aimed at a predominantly male adult audience.
A viewer alerted Ofcom to an episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp including an item which referred to a Channel 4 documentary entitled The Pregnant Man . The documentary was about Thomas Beatie, a transgender male who was able to conceive and carry a
baby because he had chosen to retain his female reproductive organs. The item intercut clips of the Channel 4 documentary with content featuring the comedian Harry Hill as he sat behind a desk in the studio and commented on the various clips.
The viewer considered that the item contained references which were offensive and discriminatory towards the transgender community.
The item started with brief clip of the documentary including footage of Thomas Beatie and his wife, Nancy, was then broadcast, with the following voice-over from the original Channel 4 documentary: For years, he's been a devoted husband to his
wife, so much so that when Nancy discovered she was unable to conceive, Thomas came up with a novel solution . [Images of a pregnant Thomas Beatie were shown]. He got pregnant . [This was immediately followed by laughter from Harry Hill's studio
audience]... And continued in pretty much the same vane.
Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code:
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...humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory
treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...gender...). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.
The Licensee said it had given due consideration to this item prior to its broadcast, and had removed one minute of potentially offensive material from it, because it did stray away from mocking the documentary as a whole to mocking Thomas Beatie
personally . UKTV argued that as a result of the edit, any potential offence had been sufficiently contextualised.
The Licensee also referred to the fact this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp was originally broadcast on ITV in December 2008 and had been investigated by Ofcom following complaints about the programme. Noting that Ofcom had not upheld these complaints,
UKTV said that this does suggest that at the time neither the ITV audience nor Ofcom considered Harry's review of The Pregnant Man to be offensive or in breach of the Code .
Nonetheless, the Licensee acknowledged that public awareness of, and attitudes towards trans issues have changed since the episode was originally recorded in 2008. The Licensee therefore asked that Ofcom acknowledge that it had ruled on this
episode in February2 2009 and did not find it in breach . It added that it felt that this is a pertinent point as it demonstrates not only that audience attitudes shifted, but those of the regulator have altered too
In conclusion, UKTV said that given the change in public attitudes to trans issues, it had therefore re-edited this episode of Harry Hill's TV Burp to remove this item entirely from any future broadcast.
Ofcom Decision: Resolved
Given all the above, we did not agree with UKTV's argument that Thomas Beatie and his wife were not the object of Harry Hill's mockery. We considered on the contrary that the overall portrayal of Mr Beatie was significantly discriminatory towards him and
to transgender people generally. This was because it presented, over a relatively prolonged sequence, Mr Beatie's transition as an object of mockery and humour, and could have been understood by some viewers as making a clear association between Mr
Beatie and a Victorian freak show . We therefore considered that the material was clearly capable of causing offence.
Ofcom was of the view that Harry Hill's comments about Thomas Beatie had the potential to cause considerable offence, particularly to transgender people but also to viewers in general. Ofcom noted that the Licensee said it took steps to edit the item
before transmission in an effort to limit the potential for offence (because it could have caused offence to the transgender community as it did stray from mocking the sensational titles of Channel 4 documentaries to mocking Mr Beatie personally ). UKTV also acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was first recorded and broadcast in 2008. We acknowledged that these steps taken by the Licensee helped to mitigate the offence to some extent. However, we considered that, even in its edited version, the item still had the potential to cause considerable offence in particular to the transgender community but also to the audience more widely.
Taking all the elements above into account, we were of the view that the offensive material would have exceeded the audience's likely expectations and was not justified by the context. We concluded that the material was therefore in breach of Rule 2.3 of
However, Ofcom noted that the Licensee: did take steps to edit the item before transmission; acknowledged the change of public awareness and attitudes to trans issues since the original programme was recorded and broadcast in 2008; and, had therefore
edited out this item completely from this episode going forward so the item would not be broadcast again by UKTV.
In light of these steps taken by UKTV, Ofcom's Decision was to consider the matter resolved.
This is a fine example of double TV censorship. Ofcom demand that if a film has been subject to censorship then only a BBFC approved version can be shown. But the system is doubly biased in favour of censorship. Ofcom do not accept the converse, that a
film approved by the BBFC is therefore suitable showing on TV (at the appropriate hour). Ofcom censorship rules still apply. So broadcasters effectively have to submit their films for both BBFC and Ofcom censorship.
Now Ofcom have put the Horror Channel on final notice for showing a version of the 2010 remake of I Spit On Your Grave that did not include all of the 17 cuts demanded by the BBFC. The Ofcom report is as follows:
Horror Channel is available free to air on cable, satellite and digital terrestrial platforms. The licence for the service is held by CBS AMC Networks.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to a broadcast of the film I Spit on Your Grave – a 2010 remake of the 1978 film of the same name. Both films chronicle the sexual torture and subsequent revenge of the principal character Jennifer Hills. The complainant
alleged that the version of the film broadcast on Horror Channel contained material that the British Board of Film Classification (“the BBFC”) had required to be cut before the film’s release in the UK.
The BBFC guidelines1 list “material which makes sexual or sadistic violence look normal, appealing, or arousing” as an example of the type of content that may be cut as a condition of classification. The BBFC confirmed to Ofcom that, prior the film’s
release in the UK, the BBFC had required 17 cuts to the version of the film submitted by the distributor before it awarded the film an ‘18’ certificate. The BBFC said that cuts were made “in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case,
shots of nudity that tend to eroticise sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer complicity in sexual humiliation and rape)”.
At Ofcom’s request, the BBFC compared the BBFC’s 18-rated version and the version broadcast on Horror Channel. The BBFC confirmed that the version broadcast on Horror Channel was a combination of the distributor’s and the BBFC ‘18’ rated versions because
some of the shots that it required to be cut for the film to have been awarded an ‘18’ certificate were still present either wholly or partially in the version broadcast on Horror Channel.
Ofcom considered Rule 1.22:
No film refused classification by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) may be broadcast unless it has subsequently been classified or the BBFC has confirmed that it would not be rejected according to the standards currently operating. Also, no
film cut as a condition of the classification by the BBFC may be transmitted in a version which includes the cut material unless:
the BBFC has confirmed that the material was cut to allow the film to pass at a lower category; or
the BBFC has confirmed that the film would not be subject to compulsory cuts according to the standards currently operating.
Generally accepted standards must be applied to 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.
The Licensee said the BBFC confirmed that the ‘18’ classification of the uncut version of the film related to its UK “theatrical release”.
With regard to Rule 1.22, AMC said that it had acquired the “theatrical release” version of the film from its distributor, which the Licensee “believe[d] complied with rule 1.22 prior to scheduling the film”. It said when initially viewing the content
for compliance purposes, it had noted the presence of a “slate prior to the content indicating it as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) R rated version of the film, where the MPAA R rating is defined as ‘Restricted’”. The Licensee confirmed
that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”.
AMC said its compliance process in this case included referring to the BBFC website to confirm whether the content had previously been awarded a certificate. It said that in the case of I Spit on Your Grave, the Licensee “found there to be two versions
submitted to the BBFC and subsequently awarded an 18 certificate in 2010, one which had been cut by 43 seconds (duration [107 minutes 45 seconds]) and one passed as 18 uncut (duration [103 minutes 24 seconds])”. AMC said by contrast that the MPAA R rated
“theatrical release” version of the film which had been broadcast had a duration of 101 minutes and 23 seconds, which was therefore shorter than the two versions described on the BBFC website.
The Licensee said that having been made aware by Ofcom that it had broadcast a version that had not been certified by the BBFC, it submitted this version to the BBFC for classification. AMC said the BBFC required six cuts to this version in order for it
to be given an ‘18’ classification.
Ofcom Decision: Breech of ruler 1.22 and 2.1
We took into account that the Licensee’s confirmation that “no further cuts were made to this content as, following compliance viewing, AMC believed the content complied with the requirements of the Ofcom code”. We recognised that AMC’s compliance
process included viewing the content in full prior to airing. However, we were concerned that the Licensee appeared in part to have based its decision to broadcast this version on the certification rating that had been awarded by an overseas organisation
with a different set of standards to the UK’s film classification body. Moreover, particularly given the nature of the film in this case, we were concerned that the Licensee considered overall it had applied a sufficiently robust process to ensure
compliance with Rule 1.22.
The broadcast of this material clearly breached Rule 1.22 of the Code.
Ofcom next considered whether adequate protection from the inclusion of this potentially harmful material was provided for members of the public. In this case the film was preceded by the following pre-broadcast warning by a continuity announcer:
“Now for a programme with a warning that comes in threes: strong language, violence and scenes of a sexual nature”.
This was followed by an on-screen slate which said:
“The following programme contains scenes which some viewers may find disturbing”.
However, bearing in mind that the version of the film broadcast contained a number of shots which the BBFC had specifically required to be cut as a condition of the award of an ‘18’ certificate, we did not consider that these warnings were sufficient to
alert viewers to the potential harmful content within this film. Ofcom therefore considered that the Licensee had failed to provide adequate protection to viewers from potentially harmful material and had consequently not applied generally accepted
standards. Accordingly, the material also breached Rule 2.1 of the Code.
Ofcom is concerned about the nature of these breaches and the adequacy of AMC’s compliance processes and therefore puts the Licensee on notice that further compliance failures in this area may result in the imposition of a statutory sanction.
Furthermore, we are requesting that the Licensee attends a meeting to discuss the issues raised in this case.
Politically correct accusations that Game of Thrones uses rape and violence against women as character development have been dismissed as nonsense by the head of content at broadcaster Sky.
Gary Davey, managing director of content at the channels was dscussing depictions of sex and violence in a debate between channel controllers at the Edinburgh international TV festival.
Davey noted that the violence in fantasy drama Game of Thrones, which airs on Sky Atlantic in the UK, applies just as much to male characters. He said:
Part of the issue is context... Sky Atlantic is a good example, people know what to expect. It's challenging content, whether it's story structure or indeed the sex and violence, the context matters.
It's interesting that this year with season six of Game of Thrones, which was very intense, out of the seven million households that watched, we had three complaints.
Questioned specifically about the rape of the character Sansa Stark on her wedding night, Davey denied it was used as character development.
I think that is nonsense. I think that is there is an awful lot of violence to men. For anyone who has watched the show, it can be a very violent show. I don't think the violence to women is particularly highlighted, it's just part of the story. The rape
happens, it's party of the story, it was in the book. We are now past the book and the story is evolving,
Davey also denied there were plans to move away from violent scenes and said:
Our audience knows what to expect on Sky Atlantic and we have sophisticated pin protection.
New Zealand's government is set to introduce a Digital Convergence Bill which will extend the Broadcasting Act to cover on-demand content.
That will have implications for the way services such as Spark internet television service Lightbox and Netflix classify their programmes. The classification of broadcast and on-demand content would be handled the same way under the Broadcasting Act,
with complaints handled by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).
The new censorship regime will not extent to news and current affairs or to user-generated content such as videos uploaded by the public.
The bill will also introduce an exclusion to the current blanket ban on TV advertising between the hours of 6am and noon on Sundays. Adverts will soon be allowed but only during special events s uch as the Rugby World Cup.
The theory behind the Sunday morning ad-ban has been that it encourages broadcasters to show low audience special interest programming such as religious programmes without concern that they may be missing out on larger audiences that would be of
interest to advertisers.
The political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly calling for a TV ban on famous Japanese anime series Doraemon.
The cartoon revolves around a robotic cat named Doraemon and a young boy Nobita. It is aired on various cartoon channels and has been dubbed in Hindi for viewers in Pakistan and India.
PTI legislator Malik Taimoor Masood urged Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to impose a ban on Doraemon or limit its airtime as he claimed it contains explicit content which has a bad impact on children. He argued that 24-hour
cartoon channels are adversely affecting the educational and physical growth of children.
The resolution, which will be discussed in the next assembly session, claims the language used in cartoons run on channels is damaging societal norms.
An Indian educationalist. Ashish Chaturvedi, is also seeking a ban of Doraemon citing media reports highlighting supposed mental abuse and other serious adverse impact of cartoons on kids. He said that dubbed violent cartoons are grappling a whole
generation of kids across India and the world.
The US morality campaign group, Parents Television Council, has had a whinge at a new VH1 series, Dating Naked. Of course viewers
never get to see anybody naked, only pixellisation.
The Parents TV Council is attacking the show via its advertisers and write:
The Parents Television Council is urging its members and the public to contact Samsung and Sprint to reconsider advertising support for a sexually-explicit dating show that's rated for children as young as 14.
Both companies sponsored the first two episodes of VH1's Dating Naked, a reality show in which the contestants are completely naked all the time. VH1 rated the episode TV-14, meaning that VH1 execs believe that it is acceptable for 14-year-olds to watch.
PTC President Tim Winter said:
Most parents would be shocked to find their young teenagers watching this sexually-explicit nude dating show. But VH1, in all its wisdom, believes this kind of content is appropriate for middle school and high school aged children. Samsung and Sprint
must agree, given their ad buys on the first two episodes and despite our warnings about the content ahead of time. Surely, parents will take pause at these companies for sponsoring 'Dating Naked,' and at VH1 for marketing this nude reality show to their
Most of the sponsors from last week's episode chose not to return this week, and for that we are grateful. But companies like Samsung and Sprint chose to align their corporate brands with the loathsome content on Dating Naked. Teen-targeted
explicit programming would not exist but for corporate sponsors that support them with their ad dollars. As such, we are urging our members and public to contact these companies to express their concerns.
Later Parents Television Council scored a further wind when advertisers pulled out. Mondelez, Hhgregg and Henkel told VH1 to stop running their ads during the reality show.
Mondelez said in an email to the PTC
We have specific guidelines in place to help steward our media spend, which should prevent our ads from appearing in this type of programming Mondeleez International did not purchase this program specifically and has not previously aired ads on the
program. In keeping with our policy, we have directed our media partner to ensure that we do not run advertising for any of our brands on this program in the future.
Out of an abundance of caution, we have also requested a programming schedule for rotation buys to ensure that the specific programs are acceptable to Mondeleez International.
Our buying guidelines are very specific in terms of program content, precluding the inclusion of shows that feature the kind of gratuitous sexuality in 'Dating Naked.' Unfortunately, errors do occasionally occur and our spot mistakenly ran within the
program. We have informed VH1 that this program, and all similar programming on their network, is to be specifically eliminated from all current and future hhgregg television buys.
Shooter , a US TV drama about a sniper has been postponed after the Dallas sniper attack.
The series, which stars Ryan Phillippe as an expert marksman, was due to start on 19th July. But a spokesperson for the USA Network told the Hollywood Reporter:
In light of recent tragic events and out of respect for the victims, their families and our viewers, we have decided to postpone the premiere date for the upcoming USA Network series Shooter to July 26.
Phillippe, who is also a producer of the show, plays Bob Lee Swagger, an expert marksman, who is persuaded to return to work for a clandestine operation by his former commanding officer played by Omar Epps.
Italian stete broadcaster, RAI, cut hot scenes between two men when showing
the American legal TV thriller How To Get Away With Murder ( HTGAWM).
The cuts were revealed in a side-by-side comparison shared on Twitter by an Italian viewer. Rai 2 had edited out the flashback cutaway that revealed how Connor came to possess, via his very first hook-up with Oliver, some documents Annalise needed for a
Upon learning of the edit, HTGAWM programme maker Pete Nowalk expressed on Twitter that he was shocked and disappointed, then set out to share a clip of the scene as it was meant to be seen.
Ilaria Dallatana, director of Rai 2 made excuses and explained that a female editor made the edits without his supervision, and that the episode would be rebroadcast in its entirety on Sunday night. She said in a (translated) statement:
There was no censorship, merely an excess of modesty due to individual sensitivity of those involved to package the edition of the series for the first time. I understand the irritation...These controversies help us to take the right steps for the
future. As demonstrated by the choices made for the new schedules, RAI-2 will be increasingly sensitive to the complexities of the contemporary world
Kenya's new TV censorship code for free-to-air radio and television broadcasting
services in Kenya came into force at midnight on 1st July 2016.
Radio and TV broadcasters were now required to transmit programming appropriate for family audiences from 5am to 10pm.
Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) director general Francis Wangusi said in a statement the new code set standards for the time and manner of programmes to be broadcast by licensees. He said:
Licensees are therefore discouraged from airing content that depicts or contains scenes that are rated by the Kenya Film Classification Board as adult, or are of a language intended for adult audiences during the watershed period.
The code also set out the minimum amount of airtime to be devoted to local content with TV broadcasters expected to meet the 40 percent local content quota within the first year, and 60 percent within the fourth year of commencement of operations.
The code equally required broadcasters to take specific steps to promote the understanding and enjoyment of programmes transmitted by their stations by persons with disability in line with article 54 of the constitution that guaranteed persons with
disability the right of reasonable access to information.
Other key provisions of the code included protecting the rights to privacy and safeguarding intellectual property rights of content producers. It also facilitated access to balanced and unbiased news and other programming.
A complaints handling procedure sets out steps in resolving broadcast content-related complaints. The procedure required consumers to lodge complaints with the offending broadcaster first and only escalate complaints that had not been adequately
addressed by licensees to the authority.
Channel 4's Sex Box has been axed from New Zealand TV2's new line-up.
TVNZ responded to a petition with over 10,000 signatories and ditched plans to screen a controversial British reality TV show in which participants had sex during the programme.
TVNZ said that they were responding to the feedback the network had received about the show, and agreed that after taking a closer look at Sex Box the show was not the right fit for the public broadcaster. A spokesman added:
We typically get a range of viewer opinions expressed about our on-air and online content. Not everyone will agree with every decision we make but we do listen
An online petition launched by Ann-Maree Quinn to see TV2 axe the show has been signed by 10,184 prudes. The petition read:
Yet another bizarre reality TV show to occupy our screens, but this one is particularly troubling on a number of levels. It is not prudish to object to Sex Box. Some things ought not to be for sale, ought not to be promoted with evocative storylines,
solely to grow viewership.
Some things simply require a level of good taste and decency. Sexual intimacy is not just a recreational activity to be viewed, scored and analysed in such a public setting,
Gay issues seem to be slipping down the political correctness pecking order, perhaps with gay discrimination dropping below religious discrimination. Even Sweden is now censoring gay relationships on TV, perhaps to avoid 'offending' their newly arrived
Swedish authorities have just been caught censoring a brewing lesbian romance between two main characters in an episode of popular Cartoon Network show Steven Universe.
Steven Universe, which premiered in 2013 in the US on Cartoon Network, revolves around the fictional Beach City where a boy called Steven hangs out with his friends, who are Crystal Gems who can fuse to create more powerful characters. In
particular Ruby and Sapphire are both female gems and are very much in love with one another.
The Swedish-dubbed version of the show's episode Hit the Diamond about a baseball match has been censored to mute some of the romantic dialogue between Ruby and Sapphire. Eg removing the lines:
Ruby: Just look at the ball -- Titter på bollen (Just look at the ball)
Sapphire: I'm trying, but all I wanna look at is you -- Jag försöker, jag har problem med koncentrationen ( I'm trying, I have problems with concentration)
Ruby: Do not worry, you can look at me when you're running for home -- Ingen fara, fokusera på segern när du springer runt (No worries, focus on victory when you run)
The censored conversation prompted an angry reaction. A 1300 signature petition saw the dubbing as:
An active choice to censor the relationship that Ruby and Sapphire have?¦
This happens in 2016 in Sweden, a country that is known worldwide for being progressive in its views and accepting of LGBTQ+ people.
If the two female characters are in love in the original show, there is no reason that we in Sweden would change this relationship.
The authors demanded that Cartoon Network issues a written promise never to censor Ruby and Sapphire's relationship in their translation or otherwise, as well as to stop mistranslating occasions when these two female characters show love for each other.
Cartoon Network confirmed that the censorship was a local intervention and is not attributable to the US branch.
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.
The main new elements of the proposal are summarised below:
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.
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.).
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
low turnover companies, thematic services and small and micro enterprises are exempted from these requirements.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Once adopted by the European Commission, the legislative proposal is sent to the European Parliament and to the Council.
There are positive messages in the document, but also some problematic ones. CDT has consistently pushed back on proposals that would endanger the internet as an enabler of free expression, public debate, and access to information.
Ofcom have issued the following announcement in the latest complaints bulletin
On 4 May 2016 Ofcom published changes to the rules in Section Three of the Broadcasting Code, and accompanying guidance, to ensure they are as clear as possible for broadcasters.
We publicly consulted on our proposals to revise Section Three of the Code in January 2016.
Section Three relates to crime. It prohibits the broadcast of material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime, or to lead to disorder. It also helps to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in services
of harmful and/or offensive material. Ofcom has updated the title of the Section from Crime to Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse and introduced two additional rules which apply to content containing hate speech and abusive or derogatory
Presumably the new rules are:
Section Three: Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse
Hatred and Abuse
3.2 Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.
3.3 Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television and radio services except where it is justified by the context. (See also Rule 4.2).
I bet some religious people will be celebrating, not quite realising that it will be themselves who will get caught out by the new rules when they inevitably insult other religions.
Any by way of examples, the latest Complaints Bulletin chastises:
the islamic channel Noor TV for spreading hatred of jews.
the christian channel SonLife Broadcasting Network for insulting muslims
Game The campaign group Morality in Media now calls itself The National Center on Sexual Exploitation. For some reason the group feels compelled to whinge about the incredibly popular TV sensation, Game of Thrones :
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) held a press conference calling on HBO executives to stop promoting pornified entertainment in the TV series Game of Thrones. Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual
Game of Thrones has excelled in turning brutal sexual violence into mainstream entertainment,. Since 2011, HBO has relentlessly brought the ambiance of torture pornography into American living rooms through Game of Thrones' explicit depictions of rape,
incest, prostitution, and sexual violence. This cocktail of pornography and twisted plot lines must be denounced as socially irresponsible, especially in an age when American society is struggling to combat the crises of sexual assault and rape culture.
While the 6th season premiere refrained from explicit sexually violent content due to backlash from the last season's gratuitous rape scenes, one episode does not constitute a trend -- the show runners must consistently work to prove that Game of Thrones
is no longer dedicated to normalizing sexual violence, Hawkins continued. Some associated with the Game of Thrones franchise have claimed that scenes depicting sexual violence merely represent real-to-life, historic scenarios, but it is clear that the
show's creators are fixated on producing unjustifiably sexually graphic scenes, Hawkins continued. In stark contrast, films like The Shawshank Redemption and The Color Purple manage to convey the gravity of rape in a plotline without
exploiting it in a way that is salacious or dehumanizing. Game of Thrones, however, has consistently crossed the line of decency by grotesquely depicting rape, incest, prostitution, and sexual violence in a manner that turns viewers into vicarious
participants. For its incessant themes of sexual violence, Game of Thrones would be more aptly named Shame of Thrones.
The Turkish embassy is attempting to censor a Swedish channel broadcast pf a documentary film about the Armenian genocide.
Ahead of Sunday evening's scheduled broadcast of a documentary titled Seyfo 1915 : The Assyrian Genocide , TV4 said it received an email from Turkish embassy press officer Arif Gulen, in which he opposes the film's use of the term genocide,
which is often used to describe the tragic death of thousands of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks during WWI. The letter, which was subsequently published on TV4's official website claims hat only a competent international tribunal can
determine whether a particular event is genocide.
The broadcaster denounced Gulen's attempt to pressure the channel to cancel its broadcast, while promising to air the documentary on Sunday despite the warning. TV4's program director, Viveka Hansson said on the website:
We can never accept this. We will protest against any attempt to exert pressure that threatens freedom of expression.
Meanwhile, an orchestra in Germany has accused Turkey of forcing it to change the name of a concert it is scheduled to give on April 30, as well as remove a piece from its program that calls the massacre of Armenians a genocide. The name of the event is
Aghet, a term commonly used by Armenians to describe the events of 1915 as genocide, whose literal translation in English is catastrophe.
The Dresden Symphony orchestra said that Turkey's delegation to the EU had reportedly asked the European Commission (EC), which is financially supporting the event, to defund the concert and remove its title from the EC's official website. While the
Commission declined to withdraw the financial support, it did remove the announcement of the concert. A spokesperson for the Commission came up with a few weasel words to justify the censorship:
Due to concerns raised regarding the wording used in the project description, the Commission temporarily withdrew it,
The orchestra's director, Markus Rindt, slammed Turkey's bold interference as an an infringement on freedom of expression.
The Christian moralist campaign group, One Million Moms whinges:
ABC's Once Upon a Time introduced a lesbian couple during this week's episode which 1MM and parents find completely unnecessary. On the other hand, the producers said the inclusion of homosexuality in a show popular with kids was important.
Many families watch the program based on beloved children's fairytales, but unfortunately, ABC has distorted and twisted the storylines in these fables.
In Sunday's (April 17) episode, named Ruby Slippers , classic fairytale characters continue to push the envelope as Ruby from Little Red Riding Hood and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz lock lips and introduce the show's first
In a series of flashbacks, a romance brews between the two women. A sleeping curse leads Ruby to bestow true love's kiss on Dorothy to wake her. One kiss breaks the spell, but many follow in a brief make out session as the munchkins from Oz watch.
Once Upon a Time is a far from innocent fairytale entangling favorite Disney characters in a new, modern storyline. When it debuted in 2011 it was called the most family-friendly drama on any broadcast network in the past ten years and Common
Sense Media rated it for children 12 and up. So naturally, with its family-friendly 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT Sunday night time slot, it attracts younger viewers and parents who still think of Disney as wholesome. Of course, 1MM knows that Disney has not
been wholesome for some time and, once again, they are purposefully pushing a gay agenda.
Ankara reportedly tried to pressurise Berlin into censoring a satirical clip aired by German broadcaster NDR earlier this month.
However, the show's producers decided to amplify the message and released English and Turkish subtitled versions of the video criticizing the Turkish President.
Following the broadcast of the satirical piece titled Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan on an NDR show titled Extra 3 on March 17, German Ambassador Martin Erdmann was summoned several days later to officially explain in length the reasons
for the broadcaster's behavior. An anonymous Turkish diplomat told AFP:
We demanded that the programme be deleted.
On Tuesday, the Foreign Office in Berlin said that Erdmann has been called in once again. However, during the meeting the German ambassador made it clear to the Turkish side that Germany is home to freedom of speech which it will protect. Erdmann said:
The rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the protection of fundamental freedoms, including press freedom... need to be protected.
In the meantime, Extra 3 went out on a full-blown offensive against Erdogan's demand. The program's Facebook page shared an image of the request to stop showing the clip under the caption: Erdogan's idea of 'TV on demand' .
The satirical piece about The big boss from Bosporus, who is ripe for his great Ottoman Empire, starts off with criticizing Erdogan crackdown on freedom of speech. Erdogan is also criticized for the alleged shuffling of the electorate votes
and cracking down on women.
The controversy inevitably added to the popularity of the video, with the English version of the video on YouTube receiving over 1.7 million views in less than 24 hours after the news first emerged of Ankara summoning the German Ambassador.
European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has criticized Ankara's reaction to a satirical clip about President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan broadcast on German TV. Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said:
The EU chief does not approve of [Ankara's] decision to summon Germany's envoy just over a satirical song. He believes this moves Turkey away from the EU rather than brings it closer to us.
She quoted the Commission chief as saying that Turkey's reaction:
Doesn't seem to be in line with upholding the freedom of the press and freedom of expression, which are values the EU cherishes a lot .
A German prosecutor's office has confirmed that it is investigating if TV comedian Jan Böhmermann violated the law by reciting a "defamatory poem" about Turkish President Erdogan, while Chancellor Angela Merkel called the piece deliberately insulting.
Böhmermann introduced the piece by speaking directly to the Turkish president: What I'm about to read is not allowed. If it were to be read in public - that would be forbidden in Germany, Böhmermann said, before proceeding to perform his smear poem
which, among many insults, called Erdogan a goat fucker who watches child porn while kicking Kurds.
The prosecution is to determine whether Böhmermann, the host of German state broadcaster ZDF's satirical program Neo Magazine Royale, breached section 103 of the German criminal code that forbids insulting official bodies and representatives of
Meanwhile, the German Ministry of Justice was reportedly asked by the prosecution to determine, if Turkey had launched a criminal probe in the name of its head of state. Section 104 of the German criminal code allows prosecutors to proceed with
such investigations only at a foreign government's request. So far, Turkey has not initiated any public proceedings against the comedian.
In an attempt to remedy the situation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel blasted the poem as deliberately insulting in a phone conversation with Turkish Prime-Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday, according government spokesman Steffen Seibert.
In the wake of the conversation, a video recording of the poem was removed from ZDF's website. The broadcaster's spokesman, Alexander Stock, said that what was presented in the form of a poem for us have been a step too far.
Update: Bluffs are being called, is Germany now ruled by Turkey?
Turkey is now asking for Germany to prosecute a satirist who made fun of its president.
No matter how Merkel decides, experts say she can't win. She'll either offend an important diplomatic partner or alienate German supporters for being seen to be under the influence of a repressive dictator.
On Monday, the German government announced it would look into Turkey's request to prosecute jan Böhmermann for a taunting poem the satirist presented in his weekly TV show, Neo Magazine Royale . In it, Böhmermann called Turkish
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a zoophile, accusing him of sleeping with goats and beating up girls, Christians and Kurds.
The diplomatic spat between Turkey and Germany comes at an especially inopportune time. For Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkey is an important partner in the refugee crisis. Merkel has already given Turkey a massively generous (and unsupported by many in
Europe) carrot of an opportunity for early entry into the EU.
Critics of the deal had already complained that by entering the agreement, Merkel would make herself too dependent on Erdogan, a man whose regime has recently made news by shutting down newspapers and arresting government-critical journalists.
Even foreign politicians have entered the discussion. Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has proclaimed his support for Böhmermann, despite having been the butt of his jokes many times in the past.
Offsite Comment: Germany's unfunny attack on the freedom to mock
Angela Merkel, has been criticised by members of her cabinet after acceding to a request from the Turkish president to prosecute a comedian who read out a poem insulting Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Merkel was left with the final decision on whether Germany's state prosecutor should start proceedings against Böhmermann after Erdogan requested the comedian be prosecuted.
Under an obscure section of Germany's criminal code, prosecution for insults against organs or representatives of foreign states requires both a notification from the offended party and an authorisation from the government.
Update: German censorship victim has decided to suspend his own TV show
A German comedian whose satirical poem about the new leader of Germany, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has demonstrated the loss of freedom of speech in the country. Popular comic Jan Boehmermann has now decided to suspend his own TV show.
In light of the controversy Boehmermann said he was taking a televisual pause to allow the public to concentrate again on really important matters such as the refugee crisis, videos of cats or the love life of (German actress and model)
Sophia Thomalla .
Merkel's decision to OK the persecution of Boehmermann has appalled rights bodies such as Human Rights Watch which has called on the German authorities to defend freedom of speech even if the contents of the speech are offensive to some .
In a new campaign article analyzing the past 20 years of the TV Content Ratings System, the Parents Television Council has found widespread,
systemic problems that render the system inadequate for protecting children from graphic sex, violence, and profanity on television. PTC President Tim Winter spouted:
Parents who rely on the TV Content Ratings System to make informed decisions about what to watch on television have been deceived, as our new research shows that the ratings system has systemically failed to provide accurate and consistent information
for its entire 20-year existence.
The campaign group claimed:
Regularly-scheduled series rated TV-G (appropriate for all audiences) have been eliminated from prime time. In all practicality, family shows rated for all audiences do not exist;
There are fewer programs on prime time broadcast television rated TV-PG;
There are fewer differences between the content of programs rated TV-PG and those rated TV-14;
Graphic content on television is increasing in both amount and intensity; yet
Every hour of content on broadcast television is rated as appropriate for a 14-year-old child, or even younger ages. Despite containing explicit content, no continuing program on broadcast television is rated TV-MA, appropriate for mature audiences only.
The implications in our report are enormous and should give the TV industry significant pause. The industry should have to answer as to why TV-G rated primetime series are extinct; why the lines between TV-PG and TV-14 shows are blurred; why more adult
content is being shown on TV-PG shows; why nudity and violence are increasing on broadcast TV overall.
One reason for the problem is that the TV networks rate their own shows, creating an inherent conflict of interest. You don't see any TV-MA rated (the highest adult TV rating) shows on broadcast TV. It's not that some of the shows don't warrant the MA
rating, it's that the networks are financially motivated not to rate programs properly because most corporate sponsors won't advertise on MA-rated programs.
Another conflict of interest is that the TV networks run the board that oversees the ratings process. That board, the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, has enabled and sheltered this flawed ratings system rather than follow its FCC-sanctioned
mandate to monitor the system and improve upon it where necessary. For years, we have addressed our concerns to the Board but to no real avail.
In light of numerous warning letters sent to national television stations, which it says have fallen on deaf ears, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has requested that the House of Representatives amend the Broadcasting Law to give the body
authority to censor TV programs.
KPI commissioner Amiruddin said the KPI wanted the authority to oversee the content of all television programs, including the power to censor content before it was aired. He added that the House of Representatives was enthusiastic about strengthening the
KPI. He said:
With the authority to supervise the content of programs, KPI will be able to monitor programs before they are aired to prevent any inappropriate content.
Under the current Broadcasting Law, the KPI does not have the authority to monitor television programs before they are aired.
The Parents Television Council, a US morality campaign group is warning families about the violent content in a new TV miniseries, Of Kings and Prophets airing on ABC.
The PTC's review indicated that the first episode contains a number of battles with swords, knives, spears, and other graphically violent content that ranges between the type of violent content found in The Lord of the Rings movies and 300 . There is some mild sexual content in the first episode. As such, the PTC cannot recommend this show for children. PTC President Tim Winter said:
Despite the fact that the miniseries is based on a book that most families in America have at home -- that book being the Bible -- parents should be forewarned that Of Kings and Prophets will not be appropriate for family viewing. While we are grateful
that the show runner, Chris Brancato, personally invited us to preview the first episode, it remains difficult for us to recommend this show to families given the graphic content. And given Mr. Brancato said that he'll be ' fighting with broadcast
standards and practices ' and that ' we're going to go as far as we can' throughout the series, there's likely to be even more explicit content in upcoming episodes
The real question here is, why wouldn't ABC and the show's producers want to reach the largest audience possible by making a series, based on the Bible, able to be viewed by families? Instead it appears that their primary objective was to be edgy and
explicit, rather than to entertain with a biblical story. And in so doing, they're carving away a large percentage of their potential market. This further demonstrates a disconnect between what the entertainment industry wants to produce and what family
audiences want to consume.
We hope that families will be forewarned about the content of this show and not mistakenly watch with their children. No doubt the network will rate the program TV-14, suggesting to parents that the material is appropriate for children as young as
The Parents Television Council responded to the news that ABC cancelled Of Kings and Prophets after only two episodes aired:
The only reason networks cancel a show without burning off the remaining episodes is that there is no advertiser support. The dollars simply aren't there, and it is more economical for them to air something else entirely -- despite the fact that they've
paid for those unaired episodes. And based on the conversations we've had over the past few days with several of the most premiere sponsors in the country -- during which we questioned their underwriting such over-the-top graphic violence in 'Of Kings
and Prophets,' it was clear that advertiser support for the show was quickly evaporating. While we applaud ABC's cancellation of the show, we can't help but wonder why they would choose to air it in the first place.
Homosexuality and other abnormal sexual relationships have been banned from Chinese TV dramas.
The China Television Drama Production Industry Association and the China Alliance of Radio, Film and Television recently released a new set of TV content production guidelines , which detail plans to censor all dramas that feature inappropriate sexual
behavior, such as incest, sexual assault, adultery, one-night-stands and homosexuality.
One Million Moms is a US morality campaign that writes:
CBS is now airing a Christian-bashing program titled Angel From Hell , about a not so good guardian angel starring Jane Lynch. The previews alone can make believers sick to their stomachs with the blasphemous content including crude
humor, foul language and distasteful dialogue. The new show airs on Thursday evenings at 9:30 pm ET/8:30 pm CT with a 14-DL rating.
This program is a new comedy that focuses on a holier-than-thou character who is anything but that. The network also cast children in scenes that are extremely inappropriate, such as the angel using foul language in front of them and then joking that she
never promised to be G-rated. The premiere also included the angel hiding liquor in the children's clothes and saying, My booze! followed by a little boy saying, That's so cool! Almost every scene included the angel drinking alcohol from a
flask, even on Sunday, and once at a bar. Not to mention the angel rides on a wrecking ball while busting up a concrete angel statue.
Is nothing sacred anymore? Once again networks like CBS mock Christianity. Angel From Hell is a demeaning show portraying Christians in a negative light. This program is another attempt to distort the truth about Christianity.
Kenyan broadcasters will not be allowed to air adult content from 5am to 10pm Eastern
African time, from June 2016.
A statement from the Kenya Communications Authority said the law is to protect children:
No broadcasting station shall air programmes, including interactive call-ins or discussion sessions, whose content is suitable for adult-only audience during the watershed period.
Popular stations in Kenya air explicit content during the day, a practise that appears to get them higher ratings and attracts more commercials. Reports say many are amused by the kind of content discussed and call into the programmes to share their
experiences related to sex with their partners. For instance, husbands report their wives while the divorced also narrate their former sex life.
The new set of amendments will also hinder preachers who solicit for funds from their followers. Kenyans have been victims of fraudulent preachers who stage-manage every proceeding during their services to capture attention.
Ofcom has a new name for its complaints bulletin reflecting the recent sacking of the internet video on demand censor, ATVOD. Ofcom has now taken over from ATVOD and will publish the results of any VoD complaints in the newly re-titled: Ofcom
Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin.
Impractical Jokers Comedy Central, 6 August 2015, 16:00
Impractical Jokers is a hidden camera practical joke reality series, following four comedians, as they perform various pranks on members of the public.
During monitoring of an episode of Impractical Jokers shown before the watershed in the school holiday period we noted that at certain points when bleeped offensive language was used in the programme, the following subtitles were shown to viewers:
He's gonna beat the f***ing s**t out of me. God, I'm f***ing shaking.
Ofcom considered the subtitles raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 1.3 of the Code which states:
Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
Paramount UK stated that the broadcast in subtitles of partially obscured expletives was a regrettable oversight by our Compliance team . The Licensee added that following contact from Ofcom about this issue, the Licensee had withdrawn all 72
episodes of Impractical Jokers from UK daytime schedules pending a review of their subtitling.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.3
We noted that a three minute sequence which was repeated on one occasion during the programme contained two bleeped uses of the word fucking . Although the word was not audible in either case, we considered the accompanying subtitle ( f***ing
) made clear the language used.
Ofcom's research on offensive language notes that the word fucking is considered to be among the most offensive by audiences. In our view, the repeated display of partially obscured examples of the most offensive language, particularly because
they were broadcast at the same time as bleeping on the programme's audio track, made clear the specific offensive language being used, and were unsuitable for children.
We noted both that the Licensee had apologised for the error and the steps it taken to ensure that it the issue was not repeated. Nevertheless, for the reasons set out above, we concluded that the broadcast was in breach of Rule 1.3.
Cartoon Network is defending its decision to censor a scene of two woman dancing romantically from popular animated
series Steven Universe .
It emerged this week that the network had made changes to an episode of the American animated series for its broadcast in the UK.
The episode features a romantic dance between two female characters, Pearl and Rose Quartz, during a musical number, but the UK broadcast the close ups of the dancing partners with other characters.
Cartoon Network claimed in a statement to PinkNews:
Cartoon Network (in Europe) often shows amended versions of programs from US originals. The US broadcast system requires that shows are marked with a rating --in this case PG (parental guidance necessary). In the UK we have to ensure everything on air is
suitable for kids of any age at any time. We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents.
However, the claim appears to be entirely inconsistent with the British ratings system, with the BBFC noting that heterosexual and gay content is considered using the same rules regardless of orientation.
The BBFC's U rating -- which Cartoon Network aims for -- says:
Characters may be seen kissing or cuddling and there may be references to sexual behaviour. However, there will be no overt focus on sexual behaviour, language or innuendo.
Fans have raised concern about the network's gay discrimination in a petition
Cartoon Network UK is taking much-needed role models away from vulnerable kids.
Steven Universe is a beloved series acclaimed for its groundbreaking portrayal of queer characters. I've heard many young people say it changed their lives.
In the UK and Europe, CN UK have censored a romantic dance between two female characters, Pearl and Rose Quartz. Queer youngsters treasure and cling to this moment.
The same episode ('We Need to Talk') has plenty of hetero dancing and kissing, so it looks like they're censoring this because it's two women.
Happily, there's a hopeful precedent. When CN France turned Steven Universe's lesbian love song Stronger Than You into a song about friendship, we raised an outcry and they listened.
Please ask CN UK to stop censoring queer content in Steven Universe , and to restore Pearl and Rose's dance in future broadcasts in the UK and Europe.