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U.K. REGULATOR WARNS STATIONS ABOUT OBSCENE LANGUAGE

March 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Several of the satellite-distributed digital channels that have sprung up in Britain in recent years have been airing libraries of older television shows, many of which originally were broadcast after 9:00 p.m. — the so-called watershed hour — and airing them earlier in the evening when children are likely to be watching, according to the British TV regulator OFCOM. Unlike the U.S., where the FCC is only able to regulate the content of broadcast stations, not cable channels, OFCOM has broad powers over programming airing on even the smallest TV outlets. In a statement issued on Monday, OFCOM said that it had “recently noted a number of cases where material which was originally produced for a post-watershed timeslot has been transmitted unedited or inappropriately edited for transmission pre-watershed or when children are particularly likely to be listening. This material often contains unsuitable language or violence.” While it noted that some broadcasters that have aired the programs had blamed “human error” for doing so, it warned: “All broadcasters are reminded that they are under a clear duty to ensure that robust procedures are in place, supported by a sufficient number of appropriately qualified and trained staff, to ensure full compliance with the code.”