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30/05/2003

ITC impose £40,000 penalty on You TV

The Independent Television Commission (ITC) have imposed a financial penalty of £40,000 on the entertainment channel, You TV, for numerous and repeated breaches of the ITC's Programmes and Advertising Codes.
The ITC had already imposed a financial penalty in March 2003 of £20,000 on You TV for a number of breaches to their codes, including repeating material that had already been found in breach. The fine also reflected the Commission's concerns over commercial influence both in transmitted programmes and support material as well as the misleading nature of some of its advertisements.
At the time, You TV admitted its breaches and said it had put arrangements in place to prevent further compliance failures. The ITC reminded You TV that it would continue to monitor its performance and that further Code breaches would be regarded as extremely serious.
Despite this financial penalty, You TV continued to show one of the advertisements, the 'Dalton McCrary - How To Hit The Ball As Straight As You Can - Guaranteed', that had been ruled in breach of the Advertising Code in March. The advertisement was run on numerous occasions without any compliance changes having been made. It therefore remained in breach of the ITC's Code each and every time it was broadcast.
In addition, You TV breached the Programme and Sponsorship Codes in a similar area as before, with commercial references in The Travel Cafe (a travelogue type programme). References were made to commercial websites and travel services and the programmes included comments from the presenter, which could have been regarded as endorsements. The Commission concluded there were breaches to both section 8.1 of the Programme Code (programme-related materials and services) and section 15.3 of the Sponsorship Code (about product placement).
The Commission was very concerned by You TV's continued compliance failures, in particular its failure to notice that material already ruled in breach and subject to a fine was still being broadcast. Bearing in mind these serious compliance failures, a substantial financial penalty was thought appropriate. The Commission considered that further serious breaches of the Code could risk revocation of the licence.
The financial penalty is payable to the Treasury, not to the ITC. Payment is to be made within 28 days of the ITC notifying the licensee of the sanction.
(GB)
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