Feeds

BBC fined £150k over Manuelgate

Ofcom slaps Auntie hard

The essential guide to IT transformation

The BBC has been fined £150,000 over the Manuelgate scandal, Ofcom has confirmed.

On 18 October last year, Radio 2 broadcast a show featuring Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross in which they rang actor Andrew Sachs and left messages on his ansafone which boasted that Brand had slept with the Fawlty Towers vet's granddaughter, Georgina Baillie.

In the ensuing rumpus, Brand resigned while Ross was was suspended without pay for 12 weeks. The BBC engaged in some heavy firefighting which included the corporation's trust slamming the incident as a "deplorable intrusion with no editorial justification" and promising to control Ross's penchant for explicit language.

Ofcom has now ruled the Manuelgate affair "gratuitously offensive, humiliating and demeaning" and says the scale of the fine "reflects the extraordinary nature and seriousness of the BBC’s failures and the resulting breaches of the Code".

The breaches in question are of Rule 2.1 (generally accepted standards must be applied programmes) and Rule 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by the context), which attracted a combined slap of £70,000. The BBC was fined a further £80,000 for contraventions of Rule 8.1 (the "standard" requiring adequate protection for members of the public from unwarranted infringements of privacy).

Describing the "underlying flaws" in the BBC's chain of command, which allowed the offending material to slip through the net, Ofcom's Stewart Purvis explained: "When the BBC decided to outsource this programme to an independent production company, it didn't put in place what we call compliance systems. In other words, ways of staying within the rules.

"The executive producer of the programme was a senior figure in the agency which represented Russell Brand and a line producer was loaned by the BBC to the production company, of which Russell Brand is one of the owners."

Accordingly, the BBC had no one "absolutely in editorial control of the whole process".

A BBC spokesman offered: "As we said last October, this material should never have been broadcast and we apologised unreservedly for that. The BBC has since taken comprehensive action to deal with what were unacceptable failures in editorial judgement and compliance which led to the broadcast."

As well as imposing the fines, Ofcom has also "directed BBC Radio 2 to broadcast a summary of its findings".

The full adjudication can be found here (pdf). ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
MEN WANTED to satisfy town full of yearning BRAZILIAN HOTNESS
'Prettier, better organised, more harmonious than if men were in charge'
Cops baffled by riddle of CHICKEN who crossed ROAD
'Officers were unable to determine Chicken's intent'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Drunkards warned: If you can't walk in a straight line, don't shop online, you fool!
Put it away boys. Cover them up ladies. Your credit cards, we mean
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Murder accused DIDN'T ask Siri 'how to hide my roommate'
US court hears of cached browser image - not actual request
Chomp that sausage: Brits just LOVE scoffing a Full Monty
Sales of traditional brekkie foods soar as hungry folk get their mitts greasy
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?