Ofcom decides that the Russia Today propaganda channel is liable for sanctions for one sided news reports...but surely it is the government that should decide on measures that may escalate global tensions
Ofcom has today found that the RT news channel broke broadcasting rules by failing to preserve due impartiality in seven news and current affairs programmes over a six-week period.
Earlier this year, Ofcom launched a number of investigations into RT to determine whether certain programmes broadcast on the channel had complied with broadcasting rules requiring due impartiality.
Having examined the programmes and all available evidence, including written and oral representations made by RT, we have concluded that the following seven programmes, which aired between 17 March 2018 and 26 April, broke due impartiality rules:
Sputnik, RT, 17 March 2018, 19:30;
News, RT, 18 March 2018, 08:00;
Sputnik, RT, 7 April 2018, 19:30;
Crosstalk, RT, 13 April 2018, 20:30;
Crosstalk, RT, 16 April 2018, 20:30;
Crosstalk, RT, 20 April 2018, 08:30; and
News, RT, 26 April 2018, 08:00.
Three further programmes were found not in breach of our due impartiality rules.
Taken together, the seven breaches represent a serious failure of compliance with our broadcasting rules. We have told RT that we are minded to consider imposing a statutory sanction. The broadcaster now has an opportunity to make representations to us,
which we will consider before proceeding further.
The Guardian explained a little more:
Two of the breaches related to Sputnik , a programme hosted by the former MP George Galloway, a regular presenter on the channel, who cast doubt on the link between the Salisbury poisonings and Russia.
Other breaches include incidents where presenters failed to challenge interviewees over contentious topics and instead appeared to agree with their guest, and programmes and reports about the conflict in Syria that took a resolutely pro-Russian viewpoint
without representing alternative views.
Potential punishments include forcing RT to broadcast corrections, imposing financial fines or, applicable in extreme cases, the removal of a broadcasting licence, which would essentially force the channel off air in the UK. However, the latter course of
action is considered unlikely given that any punishment has to be proportionate and previous impartiality breaches, even on this scale, have not resulted in channels being forced off air.
In its submissions to Ofcom, RT argued it did not breach the rules of due impartiality, in part because its viewers already expected to hear a pro-Russian viewpoint that challenged the predominant narrative of the UK government on issues such as the war
in Syria and the Salisbury attacks.
It said any attempt to censor RT, which is one of three news channels available to Freeview viewers, was an affront to freedom of speech.
The BBC reported that the censorship of the channel may result in a diplomatic incident:
Russia's media censor will now check the output of BBC World News and BBC websites, in what the Kremlin calls a response to the UK TV censor Ofcom. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said many questions had arisen about the BBC's coverage of Russia.
He said the questions concerned BBC coverage of events in Russia and in Syria, where the Russian military is backing President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
On Facebook, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, said monitoring of the BBC by Roskomnadzor, the Russian state regulator, was long overdue. She accused the UK government of crude interference in the activities of Russian media (constant
propaganda against the RT TV channel, attempts to discredit our journalists, etc). That interference, she said, leaves no other choice but a mirror response.
The BBC said that BBC News in Russia was fully compliant with the country's laws and regulations.
Madam Secretary: Ghosts is a TV drama by Rob Greenlea.
Starring Téa Leoni, Tim Daly and Keith Carradine.
While Elizabeth was grooming to annouce her candidacy, Henry attended a conference organized by his ex-girlfriend in Thailand. She made a patriotic move by questioning the existence of the mornachy and was apprehended immediately. Henry was later put in
jail bacause of his attempt to vouch for her. Dalton signed off on a covert operation to save both American citizens after they were sentenced to death for insulting the monarchy.
Thailand has hit out at the CBS show Madam Secretary on Sunday in response to an episode that referenced the country's monarchy, claiming it to be misleading.
Thailand has some of the world's harshest royal defamation laws and monitors royal criticism both in Thailand and abroad, with critics regularly being imprisoned for massive prison sentences of up to 15 years (per count).
Madam Secretary, came under fire after a character travels to Thailand and presumably criticises the monarchy at a conference before being hauled away by police.
Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had asked its embassy in Washington to convey concern and disappointment to CBS over the November 4 episode. The Thai authorities hold that the harsh sentences are justified by the high esteem in which many
Thais hold the royalty. Ministry spokesperson Busadee Santipitaks claimed that:
The episode titled Ghosts presented the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai monarchy in a misleading manner, leading to grave concern and dismay from many Thais who have seen it.
The episode in question did not take into account the sensitivity of the Thai people in this regard.
Sky TV has decided to partner with the US media rating service, Common Sense Media to introduce a detailed rating system that will help parents make smarter choices about what their children watch on Sky. The new service will launch in the UK in 2019.
Since its founding in 2003, Common Sense has built the largest library of independent age-based reviews for everything kids watch, play, read and learn. The service, which will be available on Sky Q, will include in-depth information on the prevalence of
specific types of content. This includes the educational value of the show, positive messages, use of positive role models, bad language, violence, sex and drink and drugs. Each is rated on a scale of one to five depending on how applicable it is to each
Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, Sky, said:
As a parent I know how reassuring it is that the Sky platform offers a safe, highly-regulated, family-friendly environment 203 but we know we can always do more.? Our partnership with Common Sense will help give parents greater peace of mind, helping
them make smarter viewing choices for their children.
Later this year Sky Kids Safe Mode will launch on Sky Q, helping parents hand pick and ring-fence the content they want their children to watch and password protect any content they feel is unsuitable.
Sky also offers Sky Kids app which re-launched earlier this year with improved safety controls, and the network level internet blocking system, Sky Broadband Shield.
The announcement does not mention how this will effect Sky's relationship with the BBFC, presumably this is a bit of a snub to cinema and video ratings provided by the BBFC.
As an example of Common Sense Media I compared their comments on the Marvel superhero Venom with the more detailed BBFC advice:
MPAA Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Venom is a sci-fi action movie based on an antihero/villain from the Marvel universe. Photo journalist Eddie Brock's (Tom Hardy) life is disrupted for good when he becomes host to an alien parasite. The alien symbiote is able to
take over Brock's body, giving him superpowers but also a dark alter ego called Venom. As his worried girlfriend, Anne (Michelle Williams), watches, Brock struggles with whether to escape the destructive being taking over his body or to give in to its
dangerous power. This movie looks darker than most of the Marvel films; expect intense, graphic violence, strong language, and lots of scares.
Rated 15 for strong threat, horror, violence
VENOM is a US sci-fi action fantasy in which alien organisms are brought back to Earth.
There are a number of sequences in which people are threatened and attacked by the alien organisms, or by people into whose bodies the aliens have entered.
Horror sequences include the alien organisms entering people's bodies, causing their limbs to distort and their bones to crack. There is sight of injury detail, including protruding bones
Stronger moments of violence include people being impaled by the alien organisms, sometimes with bloody detail, and people being eaten by the aliens. There is also moderate action violence throughout, including heavy punches, kicks and other blows as
well as use of tasers.
There is also infrequent strong language ('f**k'), alongside milder bad language (eg pussy, shit'). There are sequences in which live animals appear to be eaten but no animals were harmed in the making of the film.
China has complained to Sweden over a satirical news show on Swedish state television that advised Chinese tourists how to avoid culture clashes. China complained that the show insulted the Chinese people.
The satirical programme Svenska Nyheter (Swedish News), was aired a week after police removed three Chinese citizens from a Stockholm hotel. Local media reported they had refused to leave the hotel despite the fact they were not booked to stay
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement:
The [Svenska Nyheter] anchor's remarks are full of discrimination, prejudice and provocation against China and other ethnic groups, completely deviating from professional media ethics. We strongly condemn this.
China wants to expand a ban on foreign TV shows during the evening prime-time hours, according to the latest proposal by the country's media censor.
Since 2004, China has banned foreign TV movies and serials during the peak 7-10pm viewing hours. Now the National Radio and Television Administration is considering banning programming all foreign programmes during this peak period.
The rules will apply to free-to-air and paid channels, as well as streaming sites.
The censors speak of ideological reasoning but maybe its also to do with China's trade war with Donald Trump.
As China's TV gets ever more censored, many people now use streaming sites like iQiyi and Mango TV for their kicks and they are increasingly willing to pay for it. While these sites offer hit western shows such as Game of Thrones, they have also adopted
a similar strategy to Netflix by producing their own content.
But as they gain popularity they may also gain more attention from the censors.
The decades-long Turkish tradition of watching a classic American cowboy film on Sunday morning came to an end in August 2018, with state-run broadcaster TRT giving them the boot as US-Turkey relations deteriorate.
American Westerns have been shown at 9.55am on Sundays since the 1980s; according to NRT News , the John Wayne film Big Jake that aired on 19 August was the last.
TRT will now show films supported by the Turkish Ministry of Culture in that timeslot.
The change comes after a diplomatic dispute over US pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest on charges relating to the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey.
Arab News says the decision comes after the Turkish media censor, Radio and Television Supreme Council, warned about the expansion of American imperialism and culture through movies.
Following an investigation, Ofcom has revoked the broadcast licence held by Ausaf UK Limited for Ausaf TV, a channel which was intended to serve the Pakistani community in the UK, but had not started broadcasting at the time of Ofcom's decision.
In line with our ongoing duty under the Broadcasting Act 1990, Ofcom opened an investigation into the licensee about whether those in control were 'fit and proper' to hold the licence.
After carefully considering all available evidence, including oral representations made by the licensee, our investigation concluded that:
the individual in control of Ausaf UK Limited had close links to the Pakistan and UK editions of the Daily Ausaf newspaper, in which articles were published which we considered amounted to hate speech and incitement to crime/terrorist actions;
the licensee provided misleading or false information about the links between the Daily Ausaf and Ausaf UK Limited during the course of our investigation; and
there is a material risk that the licensee could breach our broadcasting rules; for example, by airing similar content to that published in the Daily Ausaf on Ausaf TV, which would be harmful to viewers if the licensee were permitted to broadcast; and
this brings into question public confidence in the regulatory activity if Ofcom were to remain satisfied that the licensee was fit and proper to broadcast.
In light of these serious findings, we are no longer satisfied that that those in control of Ausaf UK Limited are fit and proper to hold a broadcast licence. We have therefore revoked the licence.
The channel had not started broadcasting, and it will now be prevented from doing so.
An era of adult television has come to an and, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times , which reported that the Time-Warner owned, pay cable network HBO has spent the summer, quietly and without fanfare, removing its once-prodigious library of
erotic documentaries and entertainment programs from the network and the HBO streaming platforms, HBO Go and HBO Now.
Since the 1990s, HBO has produced and broadcast such series as the influential Real Sex , the Las Vegas brothel reality series Cathouse , and recurring instructional sex specials hosted by adult performer Katie Morgan.
But HBO has not produced new adult late night programs for several years, and now the network will no longer offer repeats or archived shows from its adult category either.
While HBO's new owner, the telecom giant AT&T, informed HBO employees earlier this year that it planned big changes for the network, the elimination of HBO's erotic fare, network execs told the Times , was not mandated by AT&T and in fact began
well before the telecom conglomerate took over. The reason that HBO is ditching their late night lineup, according to what one spokesperson told the Times , is simply that HBO viewers have lost interest, most likely due to the proliferation of adult
US moralists always want more. The Parents Television Council writes:
The Parents Television Council applauds HBO and its corporate parent, AT&T, for removing the pornographic content from its platform -- but urges AT&T to make the same move by removing X-rated pornographic content from DirecTV. PTC President Tim
AT&T's HBO made a wise decision to remove pornographic content, even citing that 'there wasn't strong demand for this kind of adult programming.' While that is a huge positive step forward, the same logic should also extend to AT&T-owned DirecTV,
which still offers hardcore pornographic content to subscribers.
How can a company that says it is built on responsibility continue to deliver and profit from pornography? How much does DirecTV porn really increase the earnings per share? Is this a reasonable tradeoff for a so-called responsible company?
Given that AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson was the 36th National President of the Boy Scouts, it's hard to reconcile that role with the DirecTV pornographic lineup. Are the explicit pornographic titles on DirecTV about grandmothers, mothers, or
stepsisters what he wants his scouts to be thinking of?
The government of the Australian state of Victoria has banned Sky News from providing a news service for screening at Melbourne's train stations.
Jacinta Allan, Victoria's transport minister, took offence at a Sky News interview with the far-right extremist Blair Cottrell. The interview was not screened on the train station service but clearly rankled the politician for its political
incorrectness. Allan tweeted:
I've directed @MetroTrains to remove @skynewsaustralia from all CBD station screens. Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community.
The decision has sparked a backlash from Sky and other News Corp publications. Political editor David Speers said the Andrews government was motivated by frustration over the coverage it received on Sky, and from the Herald Sun, which is also owned by
News Corp. Speers said the network had confirmed the Cottrell interview had not aired on train station screens in Melbourne .
Speers also noted that Blair Cottrell has appeared in interviews on all the other Australian news channels too.
A massively popular sci-fi drama in which the two lead characters are gay has been purged from one of China's top streaming platforms, as part of the continuing Chinese government campaign to stamp out what it deems harmful and obscene content from the
internet, according to a report published this weekend by the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper.
The move to censor the series Zhenhun , aka Guardian -- of China's most popular online shows with more than 1.8 billion views over its 40 episodes since it appeared on the Youku streaming service in early July.
The case of Guardian illustrates how sensitive China's censors can be when it comes to depictions of sexuality, and gay themes. The 40-part drama is based on a popular novel, written under a pseudonym, in which the two male protagonists are clearly in a
relationship. In the adaptation, according to the Morning Post , their relationship was instead presented as a bond of brotherhood in the hope of avoiding the censors.
But toning down the novel's gay themes still wasn't enough for China's censorship authorities. In order to pass the censors, the screenwriters turned this story into a science fiction drama for children, and it was still taken offline.
Over 100,000 people have signed a petition against the release of the Netflix TV show Insatiable , accusing it of 'fat shaming'.
But to date it is still unknown what exactly is the plot line and whether there is any 'fat shaming' going on. 12 hour-long episodes of Insatiable will be released on Netflix on August 10.
Netflix describes Insatiable as a dark, twisted, revenge comedy, but will also delve into topics such as bullying, eating disorders and body image.
It follows Ryan as the unfortunately-nicknamed Fatty Patty as she gets bullied for her weight by her high school peers. After having her jaw wired shut as a result of someone punching her in the face, she undergoes a transformation and becomes slim, hot,
and vows to take revenge on the mean girls who tormented her.
Social justice warriots went on the warpath after Netflix released the official trailer for Insatiable. An online petition was subsequently created by a woman named Florence, calling for the programme to be banned. In the petition, Florence writes:
The toxicity of this series, is bigger than just this one particular series. This is not an isolated case, but part of a much larger problem that I can promise you every single woman has faced in her life, sitting somewhere on the scale of valuing their
worth on their bodies, to be desirable objects for the male gaze. That is exactly what this series does. It perpetuates not only the toxicity of diet culture but the objectification of women's bodies.
Family First NZ says that advertisers are lining up to withdraw their advertising from and association with Naked Attraction which is currently being screened on TV2, a dating show with full front nudity and adult sexually-charged discussions
throughout the episodes.
Within a few hours of launching the #BoycottNakedAttraction campaign, seven businesses had removed their advertising, including Lighting Direct, Carpet Court, Warehouse Stationery, Foodstuffs (Pak'n Save & New World), Electrolux and Kitchen Things.
We are still waiting on a few others including Panasonic and KFC, says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
New Zealand TV censors at the BSA have okayed the programme but admitted that the programme went a step further than where broadcasters have trodden before... and that Each programme was visually explicit to a level not in our experience seen on New
Zealand free-to-air television before. Verbal discussions and descriptions were also explicit... They admitted that Some viewers may have found the more detailed descriptions of sexual preferences and activity by the participants unduly confronting.
But Family First NZ thought otherwise saying:
Naked Attraction is saturated with full-frontal nudity. The show degrades human relationships to animalistic instinct, and promotes voyeurism and a porn culture which is harming our society. It is shocking that the state broadcaster is trying to outdo
sites like PornHub and porn magazines.
The incidence of people finding something offensive on television has remained stable at 19% year on year, although over-64s are significantly more likely than all adults to say they have seen something offensive (28% vs. 19%).
Offensive language, sex/sexual content, discrimination and violence are cited as causing the most offence by more than a third of respondents. This is followed by nakedness and anti-social behaviour, both mentioned by almost a quarter of respondents.
Although a third of adults aged 16+ feel there is too much violence (34%) and too much swearing (33%) on TV, this has declined over time (from 43% and 40% in 2014 respectively). Adults aged 65+ are more likely to feel that there is too much of both.
Around a quarter (26%) feel there is too much sex (down from 28% in 2014).
France's TV censor has warned the French arm of the propaganda channel, Russia Today, over a news report that dubbed over the voices of Syrian civilians with words they had not said.
France's Audiovisual Council (CSA) accused the state-backed broadcaster with failures of honesty, rigour of information and diversity of viewpoints.
The news report, aired on 13 April, contested the reality of chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian region of Eastern Ghouta, the CSA said. It noted that the testimony of a Syrian witness had been dubbed with a voice saying words that bore no resemblance
with what he had said.
The CSA added that another witness had been dubbed with a voiceover saying that local residents had been ordered by militant group Jaysh al-Islam to simulate the effects of a chemical attack, but the testimony did not mention any particular group.
The CSA further said the report demonstrated an imbalance in analysis of the situation in Syria and that on a subject this sensitive, the different points of view should have been expressed.
The German Culture Council (Deutscher Kulturrat) is the umbrella organization of the German cultural associations such as groups representing art galleries and TV companies. It is a political and lobbying association and is funded by taxpayers.
Olaf Zimmermann, the head of the powerful cultural body has called for the banning of the nation's multitude of political talkshows for a year, claiming that they have helped fuel the rise of the far right.
Zimmermann said that public broadcasters needed to step back and rethink a format that has helped cement gloom-ridden public attitudes towards refugees and Islam, and propelled the Alternative f3cr Deutschland party into parliament at last September's
election. He said:
I'd suggest for them, take a break for a year ... though the length of the intermission isn't the decisive factor. What is crucial is that they return with new talkshow concepts and try to come up with more suitable contents with regards to social
cohesion in our society.
He particularly singled out public broadcasters ARD and ZDF as being obsessed with refugee-related issues, often framing them negatively.
Last week, ARD's main talkshow Hart Aber Fair - Hard But Fair - led with the question: To what extent is it possible to integrate young men who have fled from war and archaic societies? How unsafe is Germany as a result of them? The
programme was triggered by the murder of a 14-year-old German girl whose body was discovered in Wiesbaden last week. An Iraqi man is set to face trial.
Turkey's state media censor, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), fined two music stations last week over what it deemed explicit content in the lyrics of the song Wild Thoughts by American musician DJ Khaled and singer Rihanna as
well as Sex, Love & Water by Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren.
According to Hürriyet daily columnist Cengiz Semercioglu, Turkish music stations have been cutting or censoring foreign music videos, including sexy dance scenes, for a long time now. However, this is the first time that RTÜK has decided to issue fines
over the English lyrics. To understand them, one has to know English very well, Semercioglu added. The most obviously censorable lines from Willd Thoughts are:
Ayy, I heard that pussy for the taking
I heard it got these other niggas goin' crazy
Yeah I treat you like a lady, lady
Fuck you 'til you're burned out, cremation
Make it cream, yeah, Wu-Tang
Throw that ass back, bouquet
Call me and I can get it juicy
Semercioglu also said since RTÜK has started to issue fines over lyrics, TV and radio stations might not be able to find any songs to play and might even have to drop several movies from their lineup in order to avoid fines.
Last week, police arrested a Turkish rapper known as Ezhel for lyrics in his songs that "promoted drug use." Prosecutors were asking for up to 10 years in prison for the artist, whose real name is Ömer Sercan Ipekcioglu since the Prime Ministry
was receiving complaints about his videos on YouTube, the state agency wrote.
Russia's international propaganda channel RT will not lose its UK broadcasting licence according to information reported by the Telegraph.
Ofcom has been investigating the news channel for continuously casting doubt about the Russian connection in the attempted murder of ex spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
Perhaps it is rather bizarre that a news content censors should be tasked with something that could lead to consequences such as retaliatory action and a further escalation of an already tense relationship with Russia. Surely when such risks are
involved, diplomats and the Foreign Office should be taking the lead.
Perhaps Ofcom were thinking along these lines in taking the decision not to ban the channel. In a legal document entitled Update on the RT service , Ofcom has now said:
States sometimes commit, or will have committed, acts which are contrary to these values. In our judgment, it would be inappropriate for Ofcom always to place decisive weight on such matters in determining whether state-funded broadcasters were fit and
proper to hold broadcast licences, independently of their broadcasting record.
If we did, many state-funded broadcasters (mostly those from states which may not share UK values) would be potentially not fit and proper. This would be a poorer outcome for UK audiences in light of our duties on plurality, diversity and freedom of
Ofcom were a bit more bullish at the start of the investigation saying:
Should the UK investigating authorities determine that there was an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the UK, we would consider this relevant to our ongoing duty to be satisfied that RT is fit and proper, the regulator said at the time.
Also it is a little strange to note that the Telegraph's story has not been picked up by other newspapers. The Express initially published the story but withdrew it a little later.
Update: Tit for tat
24th May 2018. From the FT
Ofcom have jsut announced that that 3 further programmes on the Russian propaganda channel RT will be investigated after an Ofcom move to continuously monitor the station's output. In response, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova has
informed reporters that relevant Russian structures have begun closely studying the content of the materials of the British mass media that are represented in the Russian Federation.
Frankie Boyle has accused BBC television producers of editing out comments he made about last week's Palestinian deaths on the Gaza border and his joke about Israel being an Apartheid state.
The outspoken comic called out the censorship after he was screened discussing left-wing antisemitism with guest David Baddiel on last Friday's episode of his New World Order chat show series on BBC2.
Responding to criticism from viewers that he had failed to address the deaths of over 60 Palestinians following demonstrations in Gaza, Boyle tweeted:
There were, of course, various jokes in this weeks's New World Order monologue about the situation in Gaza, and about Israel being an Apartheid state. Edited out for reasons nobody has yet explained to me, despite assurances to the contrary.
Ok. Happy to quote this sentiment, which I've had from literally hundreds of people, that anti-semitism in Britain should not be discussed while Israel commits warcrimes. The idea that Jewish people have collective responsibility for Israel is racist.
Have a great day
Da Ai TV has canceled its new soap opera Jiachang's Heart, reportedly due to criticism from Chinese officials two days after the show's pilot aired, sparking concerns about the reach of Chinese censorship.
The show was inspired by the story of Tzu Chi volunteer Lin Chih-hui, now 91, who was born in the Japanese colonial era and served as a Japanese military nurse in China during World War II.
The show's trailer was panned by Chinese media, and local media reported that China's Taiwan Affairs Office sent officials to the foundation's office in Taiwan to investigate the show soon after the pilot aired on Thursday last week.
China's Global Times newspaper published an opinion piece by a Chinese official saying:
It is clear from the 15-minute trailer that the first half of the series is kissing up to Japan.
The show was duly pulled and Da Ai media development manager Ou Hung-yu explained:
The channel decided that the show's depiction of war is contrary to its guideline of purifying human hearts and encouraging social harmony.
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has barred one of China's most popular TV channels from airing the Eurovision song contest after it censored LGBT elements of the competition.
Mango TV was criticised for blurring rainbow flags and censoring tattoos during Tuesday's first semi-final. It also decided not to air performances by the Irish and Albanian entries.
The EBU said the censorship was not in line with its values of diversity:
It is with regret that we will therefore immediately be terminating our partnership with the broadcaster and they will not be permitted to broadcast the second Semi-Final or the Grand Final.
The Irish entry, Ryan O'Shaughnessy, told the BBC that he welcomed the EBU's decision. He will perform at the final in Lisbon on Saturday with a song about the end of a relationship. He was accompanied by two male dancers during the performance that was
apparently censored by Mango TV.
The Saudi Arabia government has apologised to its citizens after supposedly indecent images appeared on big screens during a world wrestling event in the kingdom, Daily Mail reported.
A statement was released by the Saudi General Sports Authority on Twitter, which apologised for the scenes of indecent women that featured in an ad before one of the matches. The statement came a day after a promotional ad featuring female wrestlers
aired at the World Wrestling Entertainment Co's Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah.
The authority said there were shots of women who were indecent and it also said it will not show matches involving female wrestlers.
Men in the audience though cheered on the broadcast of the images during the transmission at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium.
Wrestling News reported that the video during which the indecent images aired was promoting WWE Network's upcoming dual-branded PPV Best of Both Worlds show, and showed women in wrestling attire.
Ofcom has today opened seven new investigations into the due impartiality of news and current affairs programmes on the RT news channel.
The investigations (PDF, 240.5 KB) form part of an Ofcom update, published today, into the licences held by TV Novosti, the company that broadcasts RT.
Until recently, TV Novosti's overall compliance record has not been materially out of line with other broadcasters.
However, since the events in Salisbury, we have observed a significant increase in the number of programmes on the RT service that warrant investigation as potential breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.
We will announce the outcome of these investigations as soon as possible. In relation to our fit and proper duty, we will consider all relevant new evidence, including the outcome of these investigations and the future conduct of the licensee.
US media has a bit of a downer on Donald Trump so they had great fun reporting Trump's less than diplomatic description of African states as 'shithole countries'.
Politico reporter John Hendel has revealed that US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission have received complaints from at least 162 people about the uncensored, bleep-free coverage of Trump's colourful phrase by news organizations.
Many of the viewer complaints over the controversy implored the FCC to take action against one of Trump 's favorite targets: CNN, but unfortunately for them, CNN is a cable station and is not bound by FCC strong language rules.
However this doesn't stop the FCC reporting the complaints. In a complaint report the FCC cited complaints about specific CNN journalists, such as Don Lemon and Jim Acosta, and called the network fake news. One suggested most members of the media hate
Trump and his voters and said the use of such indecent language is 'responsible for the growing animosity that leads to riots and other crimes and is in fact tearing our country apart'.
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
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
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
Talking 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
Brit Awards viewers were left baffled after parts of rap star Kendrick Lamar's performance were muted by ITV.
What's the point in having Kendrick Lamar perform on #BRITS if you're going to mute him every other word? tweeted JP, voicing the discontent of many.
Many assumed that Lamar's songs Feel and New Freezer were muted due to bad language. But it seems the main issues were references to drugs and oral sex. Some muted sections featured mentions of bad dope and cocaine white.
The US rapper himself actually changed the most overt bad language in his lyrics - but fell foul of the censor's button for the drug words and oblique slang references to oral sex.
Lamar's performance at the Brit Awards in London was broadcast on ITV on Wednesday almost an hour past the 9pm watershed. Yet the decision was made to mute the audio 10 times during his performance .
Asked about the decision to mute parts of the songs, ITV said the ceremony was broadcast to a wide audience. A spokeswoman said:
We have always used a short time delay and audio muting to deal with language viewers may consider unsuitable.
Lamar's performance also included a man taking a baseball bat to the windshield of an expensive-looking sports car.
On Thursday morning, TV censor Ofcom said it had received 74 complaints from viewers about Lamar's segment - some of whom feared this might incite criminal behaviour and property damage, and some complaining about implied bad language.
BBC music reporter Mark Savage described the car stunt as the evening's biggest metaphor failure, explaining:
His intention was to make a statement about the emptiness of status symbols and the trappings of fame. But, with most viewers unable to hear his lyrics, it came off as 'I'm so rich I can afford to smash up this very expensive car live on TV.'
Update: Ofcom not interested
5th March 2018.
Ofcom noted a final tally of 89 complaints but were not interested in taking matters further.
One of the most watched TV shows in the world has broken the most basic of PC rules by featuring a sketch that had Asian actors in blackface and black actors dressed as monkeys.
The annual Chinese Lunar New Year gala by CCTV is a four-hour event and is watched by some 700 million people each year. This year, one of the many comedy routines featured throughout the show was one intended to depict China's relationship with Africa.
There were plenty of 'outraged' tweets published from those that know the rules.
US network TV is very strict about strong language and the basic cables channels have generally followed suit. However some of the more late night programming on basic cable has started to care less and less about tiptoeing around language.
In fact, SyFy and USA, both networks owned by NBC Universal, are now throwing caution to the wind and have been letting fly with 'fuck' since earlier this year.
Previously, swearing on SyFy and USA stuck to the guidelines laid out by the Federal Communications Commission, but as a basic cable channel, their Standards and Practices division was not actually beholden to follow those rules strictly. In fact the
only thing holding back basic cable networks from using what is considered to be more vulgar language is their advertisers who traditionally don't like it.
To keep things clean, they usually dip the audio of either the f or the k whenever fuck is said in an episode. But according to Buzzfeed, USA and SyFy have worked that all out because their stance now is when language 'fuck' specifically is deemed
important to the style or plot of a show, Syfy and USA now allow it. Such language results in a TV-MA rating so audiences know it's intended for mature audiences only.
However, basic cable channels have started to push the envelope. The word shit has been thrown around a lot more on networks like FX, AMC, and Comedy Central. The latter was even the first to bring uncensored usage of fuck to basic cable by creating
their late night programming block called The Secret Stash, which began with the airing of the R-rated film adaptation South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. They don't have that block anymore, but their late night programming still airs the uncensored
versions of movies and stand-up specials.
Fans of The Magicians on SyFy might have already noticed this change. Ever since the third season premiered on SyFy back in January, they've been dropping f-bombs uncensored.
Now doubt the US moralist campaigners will be reaching for their mageaphones.
Piers Morgan secured the first international interview with Donald Trump last week.
However the interviewer came across as bit arse lickey. The BBC's Mash Report concurred and broadcast a cartoon to illustrate the point.
Piers Morgan launched a blistering on the BBC after it aired a cartoon depicting the British journalist with his nose up President Trump's backside. Morgan accused the corporation of double standards. He wrote:
Amusing though this image may be to many people, can you imagine the BBC broadcasting it if the President was Hillary Clinton or the interviewer was a woman?
The BBC thinks this is OK to broadcast. But if it depicted high profile women, there would be outrage. Why the double standard? If they did it to Hilary Clinton and Laura Kuenssberg - somebody WOULD be sacked.
Surely a valid point but it hardly deflects the humour. US columnist and television personality Perez Hilton agreed and retweeted Morgan, adding: Solid point from Piers.
A BBC spokesperson said:
The BBC has a rich heritage of satire and The Mash Report takes a satirical and surreal look at the week's big stories. This brand of humour is well known to BBC Two audiences who tune in to watch the programme.
The Islamabad High Court has ordered the constitution of a high-level committee to stop proliferation of pornography in the country.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui, hearing a petition for the implementation of the court judgment against blasphemous material on social media case, also directed the federal government to appoint Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) chairman and member
(finance) within a fortnight.
In his three-page judgment, Justice Siddiqui said, Let a committee, consisting of interior, information technology, religious affairs and information and broadcasting secretaries, with the special participation of Pemra and PTA chairmen, and headed by
the cabinet division secretary, be constituted. He added:
The committee shall examine the issue of pornography , its availability through different devices to identity the areas and suggest immediate, short-term and long-term measures to be taken to stop this menace against the society.
The committee shall also examine the movies coming from foreign countries and take concrete steps to ban them if they are found against any law of Pakistan, moral values, Islamic teachings and Pakistani culture.
Regarding TV shows, Justice Siddiqui observed:
There are serious complaints that different channels through these shows are involved in such activities as are against the decency, morality, values of Islam and cultural heritage of Pakistan.
He directed the Pemra to submit a report in this regard and take immediate steps to prevent telecast of such contents, and if any channel failed to follow the instructions, penal action should be taken against it.
Update: Pakistan blames Hollywood for its own terrorism problem
The court case also hosted a bit of debate blaming Hollywood for the violence and terrorism that is omnipresent in Pakistan.
The US Pentagon has long accused Pakistan of serving as a sanctuary for terrorists who are killing and injuring American troops in neighboring Afghanistan, a charge that Islamabad denies. And now the U.S. President Donald Trump has ramped up
pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists, suspending up to $1.9 billion in aid until Islamabad takes decisive action against the groups.
Pakistan denies the US accusations and this was touched on in the curt case. Justice Siddiqui declared:
The biggest hub of pornography and terrorism is Hollywood and Los Angeles. Hollywood plays a central role in inciting of crimes, and then our madrassas (seminaries) are blamed.
All video games for children are based on crimes. How planes are hijacked and how to commit murders--everything is taught comprehensively.
China has banned hip-hop culture and actors with tattoos from appearing on television.
The country's TV censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China (SAPPRFT), has banned actors with tattoos and programmes featuring hip hop culture and anything else considered
non-mainstream culture or dispirited culture.
Gao Changli, director of the censor's publicity department, outlined four new rules:
Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble
Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene
Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class
Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals and problematic moral integrity
The ban follows recent 'outrage' at several Chinese rap stars. Prominent rapper GAI was ejected from Hunan TV's Singer a hit competition show. Wang Hao, aka PG One, another well-known rapper, was forced to apologize earlier this month after one of
his songs, Christmas Eve, was criticized for promoting drug culture and insulting women. Rapper Mao Yanqi, aka VaVa, was recently cut from the variety show Happy Camp.
The comedian Hari Kondabolu has produced a TV documentary titled The Problem with Apu that claims that the Simpson's stereotypically Indian shopkeeper character, Apu, has a negative impact.
trailer for the upcoming truTV documentary The Problem with Apu shows Kondabolu's conversations with a number of South Asian actors and comedians, including Kal Penn, Hasan Minhaj, and Sakina Jaffrey, all talking about how the character has affected
their personal and professional lives.
Offsite comment: In defence of Apu
Don't let offence-takers kill off The Simpsons shopkeeper.
The Egyptian Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media established in December a specialized committee to monitor TV series and weed out the ones that it considers to be against the country's customs and traditions. The decision raised
criticism and concern within Egyptian artistic and cultural circles, as well as questions about the future of Egyptian drama.
At the committee's third meeting on 3rd January, participants agreed that the TV channels will not sign a contract or broadcast any drama productions that have not previously received a permit from the TV censors of the General Directorate for the
Censorship of Artistic Works, a body that reviews the scripts of films and drama series and gives them permits to shoot.
In the past, the directorate had expressed dissatisfaction that the satellite channels did not care whether the series they aired had this permit or not, as the censorship body has no legal authority over the channels.
According to Ahmed Salim, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, the new committee will set standards for drama producers in Egypt to abide by during the series-filled season of Ramadan 2018. Salim said that the
committee, studying the TV series aired during the last Ramadan, observed many violations such as offensive words and topics that are contrary to Egyptian customs and traditions. He claimed that these series ruined Egypt's image and that is why the
committee, which consisted of art critics, directors and members of the film sector's professional organizations, was formed to control these series.
Salim also stressed that the committee would not seek to censor the work of writers but cooperate with the TV channels to ensure that the drama series that violate the committee's criteria will not be aired. We aim to provide a clean screen that will
preserve the customs and traditions of Egyptian homes. We do not want any scenes of violence, drug use or any other bad examples, he said.
The Supreme Council for the Administration of the Media, formed in April 2016 by a presidential decree of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is authorized to fine or suspend broadcasts or temporarily close down TV channels that broadcast materials it classifies as
immoral or in violation of professional standards. In 2017, it suspended several TV programs and advertisements, some of which criticized the current regime's policy, including one that draws attention to difficulties of finding clean water .
Trinidad and Tobago's media censor has banned a trivial calypso song from radio and TV.
The Telecommunications Authority Of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has banned the chutney song Rowlee's Mudda Count by Nermal 'Massive' Gosein being played by the country's radio and television stations.
TATT caution broadcasters over the song being played as it was deemed inappropriate and denigrating to women, with particular reference to mothers.
Many have come to Gosein's defence following the release of the song including Former CEO at the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) Ken Ali who said he could not recall such an intervention from the regulator of the electronic media in the 43 years he has
been a media practitioner.
He noted that the song was e as a too-thinly-veiled odious and divisive commentary whose street popularity stems directly from the inverse disapproval for the national leadership of its subject. Presumably referring to prime minister Keith Rowley.
He stressed that radio stations have always been guided by their own standards and values, the laws of the land, its publics and the guidelines of their respective licences.
TATT Chairman Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson, has since denied that there was any ban on Gosein's now infamous song ...BUT.. He is quoted as saying that there was no political interference, and broadcasters were urged to pay due regard to
the obligations of your concession and the conditions within the Draft Broadcasting Code and take appropriate action in the interest of ethical and moral standards.