Sunrise TV has been put on notice by media regulator Ofcom after it was found to have been in breach for the sixth time in a 15-month period.
The latest complaint was raised on two occasions in April and May this year during the ‘Your Health’ show.
A viewer contacted Ofcom about each broadcast, as she was concerned that such advice was given by the ayurvedic practitioner “without seeing the patient or asking the patient to consult his GP, especially when they have serious health conditions.”
Having assessed the material, Ofcom considered that it was participation TV programming, as it was clearly formulated principally to take advantage of premium rate telephony revenues, costing viewers 1.50 per minute.
Sunrise confirmed that ‘Your Health’ provided “health based information and complimentary remedies within a phone based discussion format”, noting that the presenter regularly reminded viewers both that the remedies discussed were not alternatives to licensed medicines prescribed by a general practitioner and that viewers should consult their own doctors.
Sunrise said that ‘Your Health’ had been removed from its schedule. However, it noted that such broadcast material appeared to have been well received by viewers, without having caused widespread concern.
Ofcom has a duty to set such standards for broadcast content as appear to it best calculated to secure specific standards objectives, including “that the inclusion of advertising which may be misleading, harmful or offensive in television and radio services is prevented.”
While Ofcom accepted that Sunrise may seek to “develop new programmes that [cater] for the particular tastes and interests of its audience”, Ofcom noted that, in this instance, such an approach appeared to have been taken without considering fully BCAP Code compliance implications. Ofcom therefore welcomed the broadcaster۪s decision to remove ‘Your Health’ from its schedule.
As this is the broadcaster’s sixth offence, Ofcom is therefore putting the broadcaster on notice that any further breach of this nature is likely to result in our consideration of the imposition of statutory sanctions.