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27/09/2007

GMTV Fined £2 Million Over Phone-In Competitions

GMTV has been fined £2 million by media regulator Ofcom for failings with its phone-in quizzes.
Ofcom said that the fine, the largest ever for a broadcaster, was imposed because GMTV had allowed viewers to continue entering premium-rate competitions that they had no chance of winning.
The regulator found that competition finalists were chosen before phone lines closed, meaning that those who rang in later wasted nearly £2 on a phone call.
Ofcom said that this was the situation with the competitions on GMTV for four years - between January 2003 and March 2007, when an investigation by BBC's 'Panorama' programme uncovered the breaches.
Ofcom said that the breaches "constituted a substantial breakdown in the fundamental relationship of trust between a public service broadcaster and its viewers".
GMTV will also have to broadcast a summary of the regulator's findings on three separate occasions.
A statement issued by GMTV said that it accepted "full responsibility" for the failings and said that it had introduced a new code for premium rate contests.
Two GMTV executives - Managing Director Paul Corley and director of phone-in competitions Kate Fleming - have resigned over the affair.
Earlier this week, Opera Telecom, the company that operated the phone contests, was fined £250,000 by premium rate phone line regulator Icstis.
(KMcA)
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