Ofcom: Latest complaints bulletin - user generated content under fire
Ofcom's latest Complaints Bulletin, published today, finds Sumo TV in breach over inappropriate user generated content and sees MTV's Music Factory held to account over its automated competitions.
The issue of user generated content is particularly of note as the proliferation of UGC and 'social networking' sites such as You Tube or Facebook have led to cases that are setting the scene for what will be testing times for regulators, broadcasters and ISPs as they grapple with how to encourage interactivity while still policing standards in respect of the content that ends up being published and uploaded or downloaded.
Ofcom reminded broadcasters about its concerns over UGC:
Ofcom is concerned that some channels broadcasting considerable amounts of user-generated content may attempt to place too much responsibility for ensuring compliance with the Code with the individual user, and not perform sufficient checks themselves. Responsibility for compliance with the Code always remains with the broadcaster. Proportionate but robust pre-broadcast checks may impose extra costs on the broadcaster, and limit the amount of user-generated content it can air. However, it is clearly important to ensure that people aged under eighteen are appropriately protected, and that individuals appearing in items are not unjustly or unfairly treated or have their privacy unwarrantably infringed. Ofcom therefore reminds licensees who broadcast user-generated content of their responsibilities to ensure full compliance with the Code, and in particular with the sections in respect of Protecting the Under Eighteens, Harm and Offence, and the Fairness and Privacy.
Broadcasters need to be aware that simply because material is available on the web, this does not mean that it is automatically suitable for broadcast on a licensed service which has to comply with the standards as set out in the Communications Act"
More analysis from Mediabeak to follow...