Category Archives: Harm and offence

Sky mic picks up swearing as batsman bowled out

A stump mic used on a Sky broadcast of an Ashes cricket match picked up the sound of a batsman swearing strongly after being bowled out. Commentator David Gower was also caught swearing when he believed his mic was switched off. Sky took action to prevent a repeat of swearing being broadcast on live TV before the watershed, including monitoring audio from mics, but was still found to be in breach of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

The episode highlights the need to anticipate problems with live broadcasts and take steps to prevent them.

The case is set out in the Ofcom Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin number 343 (December 2019), here.

Radio host suspended over sex victim interview

Talkradio host James Whale said he was “devastated” that listeners were upset by an interview in which he challenged a sex assault victim for not pressing her case – saying her attacker could strike again. It was seen as victim-blaming. The victim was a contributor who unexpectedly revealed she had been attacked. Ofcom said Whale’s “significant lack of sensitivity” could discourage sex offence victims from talking about their experiences. The complaint was dealt with under the Harm and Offence section of the Ofcom Code. Read more.

Poet’s foul language too early for Ofcom

A documentary about the performance poet Luke Wright contained 38 uses of “the most offensive” language and 23 other sexually-loaded words but was broadcast before the watershed (the earliest time for transmitting material unsuitable for children). Community broadcaster Notts TV apologised and said it slipped through the net after a change of scheduling staff. Ofcom found a breach of its code. Read its findings in its October 2017 bulletin (page 6).