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11/08/2006

Watchdog investigates Big Brother vote

The premium rate phone watchdog is investigating the 'Big Brother' voting system after it was decided to allow housemates who had been evicted back on to the reality show.
Regulator Icstis received 2,700 complaints from viewers regarding the decision by Channel 4 to allow contestants who had been voted off the show by the public to return to the show.
Grace Adams-Short, Lea Walker, Mikey Dalton and Nikki Graham were all evicted from the house following public vote, during which viewers paid 50p for each telephone vote.
Icstis said that the majority of complainants believed that they had been misled as they were under the impression that they had voted to evict the contestants permanently.
Icstis is now investigating the two premium rate service providers who provide the service - Minick Ltd, which provides the mobile shortcode text vote facility and iTouch UK, which provides the 090 telephone voting facility.
It has been estimated that Channel 4 may have to return around £3 million to people who participated in the votes.
Imogen Thomas and Richard Newman are facing the public vote on the show on Friday. Both have been in separate house with the four returning contestants since it was announced that they were up for eviction.
The housemate who survives the public vote will then return to the main house with the returning contestant who wins the public vote.
Icstis said that this decision may breach its code of practice by asking viewers to vote for contestants who have already been voted off the show.
The service providers could also face a fine of up to £250,000 or be banned from providing premium rate phone services.
Commenting on the investigation, Channel 4 said: "We welcome the investigation and will of course fully co-operate with Icstis on this matter."
(KMcA)
VMI.TV Ltd

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