Every episode of the ‘Law Show’ aired on Prime TV during August has been rapped by Ofcom for sponsorship breach.
Ofcom received a complaint that the sponsorship arrangement allowed the presenter to promote his own company. The viewer also believed the programme repeated the breaches that Ofcom had recorded against Prime TV in a recent finding.
Separately, Ofcom noted the sponsor credits for ‘Law Show’ appeared only as the programme went into an advertising break and not at the beginning or end of the broadcast as required by the Code.
In response, Prime TV apologised for “inadvertent” breaches and said it had “misread and misunderstood the rules”. It said that, as there was no reference to the sponsor (solicitors) in the programme, or the fact the presenter works for the organisation, there was no promotional reference to the sponsor.
The broadcaster added that it had since rectified its error. Prime TV said the positioning of the sponsor credits was also a mistake, adding that its scheduling department had considered them to be advertisements, which had therefore been incorrectly placed.
The broadcaster said that the sponsorship of programmes “was not an area of the Code [it was] that familiar with” and noted that it had made arrangements for additional compliance training to take place with an experienced consultant, to ensure no recurrence.
Ofcom said it had recorded previous breaches of the Code against a broadcast of ‘Law Show’ on Prime TV. The Code breaches on that occasion concerned Commercial References of the Code. The Code breaches in this instance concern Section Nine (Sponsorship) of the Code. Nevertheless, Ofcom is concerned that Prime TV has twice failed to apply appropriate compliance to ‘Law Show’ and has now admitted that it was not familiar with its obligations in this area.