May 24, 2007
Channel 4 rapped by Ofcom
Media regulator publishes its findings on Celebrity Big Brother racism row
Ofcom today published its Adjudication on Channel Four’s broadcast of Celebrity Big Brother in January this year. The regulator instigated its investigation after receiving just over 44,500 complaints about the series, fuelled by intense media coverage. The complaints centred on the alleged bullying of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty by fellow contestants Jade Goody, model Danielle Lloyd and singer Jo O’Meara.
In considering whether C4 had breached the Code, Ofcom’s starting point was not whether material which was potentially offensive or harmful had been transmitted, but whether Channel Four had appropriately handled such material. Ofcom singled out three occasions where it considered the Channel had failed. One was where Jade Goody referred to Shetty as “Shilpa Poppadom”; the second Lloyd telling Shetty in foul language that she should go home; and the third centred on an argument over Shetty cooking a chicken.
Ofcom concluded that Channel Four made serious editorial misjudgements, compounded by a serious failure of its compliance process. Channel Four was found in breach of the Broadcasting Code and has been directed to broadcast a summary of Ofcom’s finding on three separate occasions.
In another regulatory development, the Secretary of State has today referred BSkyB’s purchase of a 17.9% stake in ITV to the Competition Commission to consider whether BSkyB’s shareholding reduces competition in general and whether it threatens the public interest in terms of limiting the number of groups that control media companies.
- Ofcom Channel 4 Adjudication
- DTI Statement on BSkyB/ITV
- Big Brother rapped over race row – BBC
- Channel 4 guilty over BB racism row – Guardian
- CBB To Say Sorry Over Race Row – Sky
- C4 guilty over Big Brother race row – This Is London
- Celebrity Big Brother handling at fault – Times
- Watchdog to probe BSkyB ITV stake – BBC
- Watchdog probes BSkyB’s stake in ITV – Channel 4
- Government recommends BSkyB inquiry – Financial Times
- Sky’s ITV deal referred to watchdog – Guardian
- Full-scale inquiry into BSkyB’s ITV stake – Times