Feeds

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

Chicken bones are not, in principle, problematic

The essential guide to IT transformation

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.

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
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?