Decision by Ofcom - Discovery Communications Europe Limited

Published date16 July 2014
IssuerOffice of Communications
Sanction 95(14) Discovery Communications Europe Limited
Sanction: Decision by Ofcom
To be imposed on Discovery Communications Europe Limited
For material broadcast on Investigation Discovery on 16, 18 and 20 August 2013 at
various times
Ofcom’s consideration
of Sanction against: Discovery Communications Europe Limited
(“Discovery” or “the Licensee”) in respect of its service
Investigation Discovery (TLCS-1350)
For: Breaches of the March 2013 version of the Ofcom
Broadcasting Code (“the Code”)
in respect of:
Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by
appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable
for them.
Meaning of “children”: Children are people under the
age of 15 years.
Meaning of “appropriate scheduling”: Appropriate
scheduling should be judged according to:
the nature of the content;
the likely number and age range of children in the
audience, taking into account school time,
weekends and holidays;
the start time and finish time of the programme;
the nature of the channel or station and the
particular programme; and
the likely expectations of the audience for a
particular channel or station at a particular time and
on a particular day.
See Annex 1 for the material broadcast on Investigation Discovery and found in breach of Ofcom’s
Broadcasting Code as detailed in Broadcast Bulletin 246, dated 20 January 2014. See
Discovery currently holds 71 Television Licensable Content Service licences, of which Investigation
Discovery is one, in addition to one Digital Television Programme Service licence. Ofcom
understands that Discovery carries out the compliance function for Investigation Discovery.
See Annex 2 for relevant extracts of the Code and Ofcom’s Guidance Notes on the Code. The
version of the Code which was in force at the time of the broadcasts took effect 21 March 2013. All
references to the Code in this Decision are therefore references to that version of the Code which can
be found at:
Sanction 95(14) Discovery Communications Europe Limited
Rule 1.11: Violence, its after-effects and descriptions
of violence, whether verbal or physical, must be
appropriately limited in programmes broadcast before
the watershed (in the case of television) or when
children are particularly likely to be listening (in the
case of radio) and must be justified by the context.
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards
broadcasters must ensure that material which may
cause offence is justified by the context ... Such
material may include, but is not limited to, offensive
language, violence, sex, sexual violence... [and]
violation of human dignity...
Meaning of “context”: Context includes (but is not
limited to):
the editorial content of the programme,
programmes or series;
the service on which the material is broadcast;
the time of broadcast;
what other programmes are scheduled before and
after the programme or programmes concerned;
the degree of harm or offence likely to be caused
by the inclusion of any particular sort of material in
programmes generally or programmes of a
particular description;
the likely size and composition of the potential
audience and likely expectation of the audience;
the extent to which the nature of the content can be
brought to the attention of the potential audience for
example by giving information; and
the effect of the material on the viewers or listeners
who may come across it unawares.

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