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Ofcom slaps MTV with £255k fine

Pre-watershed cussing costs network dear

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Ofcom has imposed fines totalling £255,000 on MTV Networks for various breaches of the Broadcasting Code on channels TMF, MTV France, MTV UK and MTV Hits.

The network was charged with several infractions of the Code, viz: Rule 1.3: “Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them” (TMF, MTV UK, and MTV Hits); Rule 1.4: “Television broadcasters must observe the watershed” (TMF and MTV UK); Rule 1.14: “The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed or when children are particularly likely to be listening” (TMF, MTV UK and MTV Hits); Rule 2.3: “In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context” (MTV France and MTV Hits).

Specifically, TMF was slapped for its Ultimate 50 Videos which "featured a music video by the band Aphex Twin called Windowlicker, broadcast on 24 June 2006 at 20:20". Ofcom notes: "Four viewers complained about the repeated use of the words 'motherfucker', 'fuck you' and 'fuck'."

Ofcom adds: "Separately twelve viewers complained about the [TMF] broadcast on seven occasions on 24 July 2007 between 09:48 and 15:15 of a trailer for a factual entertainment programme called Totally Jodie Marsh which contained the following sentence: 'I just don’t want you settling down with some fucking wanker from a modelling agency'."

Regarding MTV France, Ofcom explains: "A viewer complained that racist and homophobic text messages in French were transmitted at around 01:00 in a programme called Belge Chat (transmitted on 24 December 2006 at 01:00). The translated texts said 'the white race will triumph', 'death to all immigrants', 'death to gays' and 'immigrants are going to fuck your mother'."

MTV UK, meanwhile, was responsible for multiple outrages. Ofcom elaborates: "At 16:30 on 25 September 2006 and 23 October 2006, MTV UK broadcast different editions of the same programme, Totally Boyband. This was a reality show following the launch of a new band. Three viewers complained to Ofcom that the programme transmitted on 25 September 2006 featured extensive offensive language including 'fuck', 'shit', and 'bollocks'.

"Two viewers complained to Ofcom that on 23 October 2006 another edition of the same programme contained such offensive language as 'a big cock', 'fucking boring', and 'fuck it up'."

Ofcom continues: "Never Before Scene: Superbad was a film review programme transmitted on 14 September 2007 at 09:00. A viewer complained that this programme broadcast foul language including 'what the fuck', 'hold his fucking hand…fucking hold my hand', and 'give me a fucking warning before you do that' that was inappropriate for transmission before the watershed."

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