Ofcom have issued a statutory sanction against Channel Four having found the channel made made “serious editorial misjudgements, compounded by a serious failure of its compliance process” in broadcasting aspects of the last serious of Celebrity Big Brother. The sanction is that C4 must broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s finding on three separate occasions. This will be at the start of:
– the first programme of the new series of Big Brother;
– the first re-versioned programme the following morning;
– the first eviction show.
Ofcom upheld complaints against Channel Four for the broadcast of three incidents that could be construed as racist bullying. Ofcom’s Sanctions Committee found that remarks about cooking in India; and both the “Fuck off home” and “Shilpa Poppadom” comments were likely to cause offence. Ofcom found that Channel 4’s decision to leave the comments unchallenged resulted in it not applying generally accepted standards in a way that ensured that the offence that may be caused was justified by context. Ofcom dismissed a number of further complaints about a variety of other comments.
Ofcom also found that both broadcast and un-broadcast material showed there was a serious failure in Channel Four’s compliance procedures, especially between Channel Four and production company Brighter Pictures who were responsible for the oversight and management of day-to-day events in the house. Ofcom reminded Channel Four that it, not Brighter Pictures, has sole responsibility for ensuring it fulfils its legal compliance obligations under its licence. Ofcom decided that a statutory sanction was appropriate in relation to the code breaches.