B4U Movies in trouble with Ofcom for ‘Udta Punjab’ broadcast

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Ofcom has rapped B4U Movies for broadcasting the controversial film ‘Udta Punjab’ on television before the watershed slot.

The channel aired the movie on 24th March 2018 and Ofcom received a complaint about the film’s offensive language, drug references and violence.

B4U said that the broadcast of the film was an “inadvertent error”. It added that the programme scheduling team inserted the unedited version of the film intended for post-watershed broadcast in the playlist instead of the edited version which did not include “offensive language, gunshots, violent scenes and similar presentations” and was meant for pre-watershed broadcast. It said that the scheduling team were working under “immense time pressure” as they had just been informed that they had to complete their scheduling entries one week early due to a planned software shut down.

B4U said it always aims to abide by Ofcom’s rules, as reflected by its “general practice”, and is “vigilant” of the need to protect children from unsuitable content before the watershed. It said that this “lapse was unintentional”.

On being notified of the broadcast, B4U said it had detailed discussions with its scheduling team on the importance of monitoring the tapes attentively. It said that it had made adjustments to its software and devised a system of double checks so that such an error is “not repeated…under any circumstance”. It added that the new processes are being “strictly followed”.

Ofcom said that given B4U Movies is not a channel aimed at children and also that the film focused on the negative effects of drug culture, viewers might have expected some offensive language. However, the film was not preceded by a warning and started at 19:55 on a Saturday. Ofcom therefore considered that the nature and frequency of offensive language was likely to have exceeded audience expectations for a programme broadcast at this time on this channel.

B4U Movies was found in breach of 1.11, 1.14, 1.16, and 2.3.

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