Feeds

Ofcom maps out what 'psychics' are allowed to do on TV

Chicken bones are not, in principle, problematic

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The UK regulator, Ofcom, has issued a clarification for purveyors of TV programmes based around psychic powers, basically reminding them that they are all frauds.

Most advertising is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, but participation television – where viewers are encouraged to call in, and pay, still falls to Ofcom. The rules remain the same, but are subject to interpretation, particularly when it comes to what it's acceptable to promise viewers for their money.

The clarification (PDF, surprisingly funny) makes it clear that Ofom doesn't acknowledge the existence of any higher power, other than the Ministry of Fun. Anyone claiming to be in touch with such a power (other than a recognised deity) must be very clear that they're doing so "for entertainment purposes only" and not just with a banner at the bottom of the screen either, it has to be stated by the presenters.

Even those who are worshiping one of the more-universally-recognised gods can't go around promising miracle cures, but those claiming psychic powers are also prohibited from predicting the future, offering personal (life-changing) advice or claiming to be in any way accurate – and they can't say they're able to talk to the dead either*.

They are, however, allowed to talk to Spirit Guides as Ofcom identifies these as "some supposed supernatural advisor of obscure, mythological or ancient provenance" and not, according to the regulator, dead as such.

This kind of linguistic trickery is necessary for the regulator to control the legal right of flimflam artists to fleece the vulnerable, and desperate, of their cash. Ofcom can't make psychic television illegal, so erects a maze of regulation making it very hard to do, and takes opportunities like this one to remind broadcasters just how complicated those rules are. ®

* No, we don't know how the spiritualist church fits in here, but until the claim is made on TV it's not an issue.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?