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Ofcom raps Geo News for flashing images during news bulletin

Ofcom has rapped Geo News for a news bulletin, which included flashing images without any warning.

The incident occurred during a news segment in March 2019 at 16:35. Certain types of flickering or intermittent images can trigger seizures in viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy. Ofcom therefore carried out an assessment of the content against Ofcom’s guidance to broadcasters on flashing images.

Geo News agreed that a flashing effect was broadcast, but considered this was “not of sufficient length” to breach the PSE Guidance. It said that “as no evidence was provided” by Ofcom, it could not counter the assertion that the material exceeded the limits set out in the Guidance, but was “prepared to consider that the PSE Guidance may have been breached”.

Geo TV said that the material was broadcast without an appropriate warning due to “human error”. It apologised for the error and added that it has taken steps to “minimise the risk of any future breach”, such as updating its internal procedures to remove the use of “photo flickering” effects on its news packages, and providing adequate warning where required in future.

Ofcom’s decision is that Geo News failed to provide adequate protection for people with PSE, in breach of Rule 2.12.