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29/11/2010

Big Bang As Ofcom Revokes Licences

Ofcom has revoked four TV broadcast licences owned by Bang Channels Limited and Bang Media (London) Limited following serious and repeated breaches of the Broadcasting Code.
The licensees provided the following services: Tease Me; Tease Me TV and Tease Me 2 and 3.
The channels which promote adult chat are broadcast free to air. Viewers are encouraged to contact the onscreen female presenters via premium rate telephony services (PRS). During the daytime, the channels are not permitted to promote adult chat services and the material must be suitable for a pre-watershed audience.
Both companies, under common ownership, have repeatedly breached rules which protect children from inappropriate material and viewers from harmful and offensive material.
Over a sustained period of time the licensees have transmitted content that was too sexually explicit for the time of day or being broadcast unencrypted.
Some of the material broadcast was so strong that it would be considered equivalent to BBFC R18 rated material.
This is not permitted on British TV – either free-to-air or under encryption and Ofcom has decided that the companies are no longer 'fit and proper' to hold broadcast licences.
In July 2010 Ofcom fined the two companies a total of £157,250 for serious breaches of the Broadcasting Code and other licence conditions.
At the time Ofcom warned of a wholly inadequate compliance system that "amounted to manifest recklessness" and warned that such repeated compliance failures would not be tolerated.
The licencees have repeatedly failed to comply with Ofcom's rules in the last 18 months and over 60 breaches have been recorded.
On 19 November 2010, Ofcom directed the broadcaster to suspend transmission and today the licenses have been revoked.
Ofcom plans to meet all our licensees in this part of the broadcasting sector to ensure that they are quite clear how seriously Ofcom takes its duties in relation to the protection of television audiences and in particular children.
Ofcom's Director of Standards, Chris Banatvala, said: "We want to be very clear that Ofcom are required by Parliament to protect audiences through the Broadcasting Code. We simply will not tolerate serious and repeated breaches of the Code and have therefore decided to revoke these licences.
"Audiences should be assured that we will continue to take action to stop broadcasters breaching the rules in this area."
(BMcC/GK)
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