Feeds

BBC fined £150k over Manuelgate

Ofcom slaps Auntie hard

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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). ®

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
NSA man: 'Tell me about your Turkish connections'
Spooks ask Dabbsy to suggest a nice hotel with pool
Carlos: Slim your working week to just three days of toil
'Midas World' vision suggests you retire later, watch more tellie and buy more stuff
Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo
'FIRE' caption on dashboard prompts dunderheaded hard shoulder halt
Yahoo! Japan! launches! service! for! the! dead!
If you're reading this email, I am no longer alive
Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land
Bold, barmy Brit adventurer Nick Hancock escapes North Atlantic islet
Russia sends SEX-CRAZED GECKOS to SPAAAAACE!
In space... no one can hear you're green...
It's OK, stupid: EVERYONE ON THE internet is experimenting on you – OKCupid
Plus: Tests show 'myth of compatibilty as good as truth'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.