Eric Tesug <(Address removed)> said:
Taking the Ramsey issue, 51 complained. Now I don't know how many watch.
However, I suspect the usual reaction. 51 complain and then a show gets
dumbed down and potentially thousands, post watershed, could lose out.
Maybe yes, maybe no.
55,000 complained about the BBC showing Jerry Springer the Opera Eric and their complaints were rejected, rightly so in my view.
Just like in any aspect of the law a regulator should ignore the number of complaints and just consider whether, having had the broadcast brought to its attention, it violates the Broadcast code. The number of people who complain is irrelevant.
A broadcaster might wish to take into consideration the number of people in their potential audience who are offended by certain material. Talksport isn't obliged to employ Jon Gaunt and allow him complete freedom to say and act however he wishes to for example, as Shami Chakrabarti of Liberty seemed to imply, he's a paid employee. If he ignores management directions they can apply a disciplinary procedure just as in any job.
The part of the Gaunt judgement I found particularly interesting said:
The freedom of broadcasters to choose what topics to cover in the programmes they broadcast and in what manner, is fundamental to today's broadcasting culture and a principle enshrined in the regulatory framework in which Ofcom operates. All broadcasters have the right to hold opinions and impart information and ideas to their audiences without interference and audiences are entitled to receive those ideas and opinions. Whilst broadcasters are obliged under their licences to comply with the standards set out in the Code, including standards which adequately protect members of the public from offensive (or harmful) material (Rule 2.3), these standards should be applied in a manner which "best guarantees" an appropriate level of freedom of expression. In this case, Ofcom recognises that Talksport specialises in a genre of hard-hitting talk radio, which encourages robust interaction between its presenters (such as Jon Gaunt) on the one hand, and audience members and invited guests on the other. It is not surprising that at times this interaction may prove uncomfortable and challenging listening.
The fact therefore that material may be offensive to some is not, in itself, a breach of Ofcom's Code because the Code does not prohibit the broadcasting of offensive material – to do so would be considered an inappropriate restriction on a broadcaster's and the audience's freedom of expression.
What the Code requires is that generally accepted standards are applied to broadcast content (Rule 2.1) and the inclusion of offensive material in a programme must be justified by the context(Rule 2.3).
I don't have a problem with the above in theory except who decides what "generally accepted standards" are and on what basis. However I think someone has to for content you don't subscribe to and I can't think of a better system than the one we have.
In a phone in I want to hear both points of view, not just the presenter in my view misusing his position, shouting the caller down and insulting him. Play the ball not the man as it were. Jon Gaunt is perfectly entitled to make a half hour documentary on child care, if I choose to listen to that I know I am getting his viewpoint.
Every single Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin has a long list of complaints that it hasn't even considered. For example in this issue 59 complained about Religious Offence in Coronation Street, 52 Generally Accepted Standards in EastEnders, 40 on the UEFA Champions League coverage (? are we going to now get one about Drogba swearing).
Having said all that the internet gives you the ability to find out and listen to uncensored information, if it doesn't comply with UK Law it doesn't matter as it's just hosted abroad.
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