Adjudication of the Ofcom Content Sanctions Committee - British Broadcasting Corporation (“BBC”) in respect of its services BBC1 and BBC2

Published date09 April 2008
IssuerOffice of Communications
Ofcom Content Sanctions Committee
It is Ofcom policy to state the full language used on air by broadcasters who are the subject
of a sanction adjudicated by the Content Sanctions Committee. Some of the language used
in this decision may therefore cause offence.
Consideration of
sanction against:
The British Broadcasting Corporation (“the BBC”)
For: Breaches of Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code (“the Code”) in
respect of:
Rule 1.14: “The most offensive language must not be
broadcast before the watershed…”; and
Rule 2.3: “In applying generally accepted standards
broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause
offence is justified by the context”.
In Live Earth Broadcast on BBC1 and BBC 2
On: 7 July 2007
Decision: To direct the BBC to broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s
findings on each of BBC1 and BBC2 in a form to be
determined by Ofcom and on a specified occasion.
1 1. Summary
1.1 For the reasons set out in full in the Decision, under powers delegated from the
Ofcom Board to Ofcom’s Content Sanctions Committee (“the Committee”), Ofcom
has decided to impose a statutory sanction on the BBC. This is in light of the serious
and repeated nature of the BBC’s failure to ensure compliance with the Code in
respect of its broadcast of Live Earth on 7 July 2007.
1.2 The BBC is the main national public service channel, funded by the licence fee.
Throughout the afternoon and evening of 7 July 2007, BBC 1 and BBC 2 broadcast
live performances and presentations from music bands and other celebrities, who
were appearing on stage at Wembley as part of a global and independently produced
Live Earth event.
1.3 22 viewers complained that the BBC broadcast unacceptable language before the
watershed during this programme. There were six instances of performers using the
most offensive language, such as “motherfucker” and other variants of the word
1.4 Ofcom concluded that the broadcast of the most offensive language before the
watershed was in breach of Rules 1.14 and 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code (“the
Code”). It further concluded that the breaches were serious and repeated and
consequently warranted the imposition of a sanction.
1.5 In coming to this decision, Ofcom took account of all the points put forward by the
BBC in its defence. These included that:

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT