Two channels on Sky Digital have had a telling off from media regulator, Ofcom.
A viewer complained that Ahlebait TV was promoting a prayer service via scrolling text at the bottom of the screen, which cost around 50p to text in (plus network charges). The service would then be shown on another show – ‘Dua from Holy Places’. Ofcom does not allow products and services to be promoted in programmes.
Ahlebait TV advised that during the programme, viewers are invited to submit their details via a landline telephone number. The broadcaster explained that this entry route attracts a large number of callers, who cannot all be accommodated within the duration of the programme. Therefore an additional SMS entry route is offered outside of the programme, which is promoted throughout other programmes.
Ofcom noted that this premium rate SMS service was programme related in that its purpose was to allow viewers to submit prayer requests to the programme ‘Dua from Holy Places’. However, the service was promoted outside of this programme, during broadcasts from which the prayer line was not directly derived because the service was not related to the programmes during which it was promoted, the promotion was not justified and was therefore in breach of the code.
In May, Ofcom asked DM Digital to provide a copy of a programme ‘Baba Ji Online’ to investigate.
Despite several further requests from Ofcom for the recording, and written undertakings by DM Digital that the recording would be supplied, the broadcaster did not supply the recording to Ofcom until August 2009 (over 10 weeks after the initial request by Ofcom).
DM Digital said that after receiving the original request for the recording from Ofcom, the content in question had been transferred to DVD in June 2009 and it believed the disc had been sent to Ofcom at that time, which it evidently had not. Due to the channel moving to new premises, the broadcaster said the matter of providing the recording to Ofcom had been overlooked. DM Digital apologised for the delay in providing the recording, said that this had not been a deliberate act; and gave assurances that the late provision of recordings would not happen again in future.
It is a condition of DM Digital۪s licence that recordings of all output are retained for 60 days after transmission and that Ofcom is provided “forthwith” with any material on request.
Ofcom considers this to be an entirely unacceptable delay and represents a serious breach (Retention and production of recordings) by DM Digital. This breach will be held on the licensee۪s record.