Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Ofcom Regulating the Media: Part CXXXVII

Ofcom has issued a very useful 'fit and proper person' Q&A based on section 3(3) of the Broadcasting Act. For the avoidance of doubt, let me explain that BSkyB will never lose its licences - as a judicial review of an Ofcom decision would have to consider the fact that the obscene Richard Desmond, a billionaire pornographer of the very lowest reputation, owns Express Newspapers since 2000, and in 2010 bought national terrestrial TV licencee Channel 5.
He stopped contributing to the supine Press Complaints Commission via its parent body in 2007 though was not expelled until January 2011, becoming a 'rogue operator: "They feel they can operate the principles of self-regulation themselves and don't feel they need to do that by being a member of the PCC".
He has often been reprimanded by his other self-regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, for cross-promotions without proper flagging of advertorial amongst other transgressions. In short, he is as unfit and improper as Ofcom considers acceptable - and Murdoch would need to go some to get anywhere near his level of disrepute.
Note: Ofcom did in 2010 revoke the licence of a hardcore daytime porn channel provider that had flouted its rulings SIXTY times in short succession.
Disclaimer: I was delighted in 1989 not to have to deal with Desmond's then porn publisher Northern & Shell (he sold many grumble-mags in 2004 to clean out the print Augean stable, or rather focus on satellite TV porn channels) when at Journalists' Week.
UPDATE: Nice reminder about Russia Today, CCTV, Press TV, controlled by respectively the Russian, Chinese and Iranian governments.

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