Local Welsh TV channel Made in Cardiff crossed the line with British broadcast regulator OfCom, the regulator said in its latest report.
While the station has gotten into trouble before with the regulator, the staff must now meet with OfCom to discuss broadcast standards.
“This case follows a number of other recent Code breaches for programming broadcast on local television services,” OfCom wrote, pointing to three rulings by OfCom against the station since its October 2014 launch. “We are therefore requesting that the Licensee attends a meeting to discuss its compliance arrangements,” OfCom wrote.
An OfCom spokesperson confirmed to iMediaEthics: “There are no other ongoing investigations for this channel but we will be meeting them in due course to discuss compliance matters.”
The latest incident to get the station in trouble is a December documentary called “Brits Behind Bars” that contained offensive language and showed nudity. The show was aired at 7 PM on a weekday.
The documentary “followed ten British petty criminals who were sent to America to experience life in a tough detention centre in Arizona,” OfCom explained.
Nudity was shown when one of the criminals was filmed about to be inspected by prison officials, OfCom said. The hour-long documentary also aired the f-word during an interview with an inmate and had “78 uses of ‘bleeped’ offensive language,” OfCom reported.
The documentary broke two parts of the regulator’s code — airing offensive language and showing the program when children could see it.
The station, Made in Cardiff, admitted an “oversight” by airing the f-word, but defended the rest of the program, including the nudity and bleeped words. The station even defended the un-bleeped f-word as “justified,” regardless of its failure to censor it.
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After a discussion with OfCom, the station’s editors “reconsidered its position” and agreed that Made in Cardiff would air the program when children would be less likely to see it.
Because Made in Cardiff initially stood by the offensive language, OfCom argued that there are “some fundamental misunderstandings about the Code and the obligations it places on broadcasters to protect” minors, OfCom wrote.
OfCom said it “disagreed” with Made in Cardiff’s arguments that the offensive language that it bleeped out were not “in an aggressive or violent context.” As evidence, OfCom quoted from the documentary showing that the offensive language was used to describe attacks or threats in prison.
“We considered these descriptions of violence and aggressive confrontations in combination with the frequent bleeped offensive language were strongly indicative of the programme being unsuitable for children,” OfCom wrote.
There was a “significant likelihood” that children saw the report, OfCom said, so Made in Cardiff clearly broke guidelines about protecting children.
Made in Cardiff’s spokesperson Victoria Clapham pointed iMediaEthics to the channel’s press statement in response to the ruling.
“As with prior breaches, these occurred as a result of internal procedural issues around the launch period and were rectified in early January as part of a wider restructuring of compliance procedures,” Made in Cardiff said. “Made Television wholeheartedly apologies for the errors and fully appreciates the severity of the breaches. In relation to the ‘Brits Behind Bars’ breach, new procedures have been implemented and further training for staff provided.”
Made in Cardiff added that it has “proactively requestedd a meeting with OfCom to discuss working closer together on procedures.”