Welcome to the Christian Voice UK National Director's Blog. Find Press Releases, E-Alerts, and a Christian take on the news. See more at http://www.christianvoice.org.uk/

Make sure you right-click on links and open them in a new tab or window so as to keep this blog on-screen.

Over the next few weeks, the articles here both old and new will be copied on to www.christianvoice.org.uk and this blog will wind down. Thank you for following, and will followers now please kindly follow us to http://www.christianvoice.org.uk

Thursday, 20 January 2011


Here is how to complain to Ofcom about a programme.
(For example Channel Five's 'The Wright Stuff' broadcast on Wednesday 20th January). 
If a programme misrepresents Christianity, subjects the Christian faith to abusive treatment and/or does not treat its subject matter with due impartiality it has breached the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.  Whether that means the media folk who sit on Ofcom will uphold your complaint is another matter!

Step 1 Watch the programme (see link above)

Step 2 Go to Ofcom's Complaint Page
It is actually surprisingly easy from here on!
Enter your house name or number then your postcode
Highlight your address then click on 'use this address'
Fill in the form:
Enter your details,
Keeping the tick means Ofcom can pass your details to the broadcaster which is best if you can bear it,
Click on the electrronic programme guide putting in the date and highlighting the programme and
Make your complaint citing breach of the codes below.  Note that any programme becomes a 'religious programme' when it deals with matters of religion as a significant part of it.
As the type size is miniscule and the Ofcom page 'times out', you must draft and save your complaint in a word processor and then copy it in.  Note 1500 characters is really strict and there is no character count on the Ofcom page so keep to 1480 or so including spaces.  If a page comes up with two programme finders on it, you are better to close the tab/window and start again.
If you want to write to Ofcom instead, their head office is: Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 9HA
My complaint on 'The Wright Stuff' is at the bottom of this blog page.  I simply do not know if you copy it verbatim we become seen as 'a lobby' and are disregarded.  Always better to put it into your own words after watching the programme.

Here are the relevant sections of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code:

Section Four: Religion
4.1 Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes.
Meaning of a "religious programme":
A religious programme is a programme which deals with matters of religion as the central subject, or as a significant part, of the programme.
4.2 The religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment.
4.3 Where a religion or religious denomination is the subject, or one of the subjects, of a religious programme, then the identity of the religion and/or denomination must be clear to the audience.

Section Five: Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy and Undue Prominence of Views and Opinions
Meaning of "due impartiality": "Due" is an important qualification to the concept of impartiality. Impartiality itself means not favouring one side over another. "Due" means adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme. So "due impartiality" does not mean an equal division of time has to be given to every view, or that every argument and every facet of every argument has to be represented. The approach to due impartiality may vary according to the nature of the subject, the type of programme and channel, the likely expectation of the audience as to content, and the extent to which the content and approach is signalled to the audience. Context, as defined in Section Two: Harm and Offence of the Code, is important.
5.1 News, in whatever form, must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.
5.7 Views and facts must not be misrepresented. Views must also be presented with due weight over appropriate timeframes.
5.8 Any personal interest of a reporter or presenter, which would call into question the due impartiality of the programme, must be made clear to the audience.
5.9 Presenters and reporters (with the exception of news presenters and reporters in news programmes), presenters of "personal view" or "authored" programmes or items, and chairs of discussion programmes may express their own views on matters of political or industrial controversy or matters relating to current public policy. However, alternative viewpoints must be adequately represented either in the programme, or in a series of programmes taken as a whole. Additionally, presenters must not use the advantage of regular appearances to promote their views in a way that compromises the requirement for due impartiality. Presenter phone-ins must encourage and must not exclude alternative views.
5.10 A personal view or authored programme or item must be clearly signalled to the audience at the outset. This is a minimum requirement and may not be sufficient in all circumstances. (Personality phone-in hosts on radio are exempted from this provision unless their personal view status is unclear.)
5.11 In addition to the rules above, due impartiality must be preserved on matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy by the person providing a service (listed above) in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes.
5.12 In dealing with matters of major political and industrial controversy and major matters relating to current public policy an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in each programme or in clearly linked and timely programmes. Views and facts must not be misrepresented.

My complaint about The Wright Stuff Wednesday 19th January 2011

1 The programme dealt with matters of religion as a significant part and did not exercise a proper degree of responsibility contrary to Rule 4.1
2 Matthew Wright misrepresented Christianity by presenting the Old Testament as being in opposition to the Christian faith, a view contrary to basic Christian theology.
The Book of Common Prayer, expressing the doctrine of the established Church of England says:
Article 6. The sufficiency of Holy Scripture for salvation
Holy Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation ... By holy Scripture is meant those canonical books of the Old and New Testaments whose authority has never been doubted within the church.
Article 7. The Old Testament
The Old Testament is not contrary to the New ... Although the law given by God through Moses is not binding on Christians as far as its forms of worship and ritual are concerned ... nevertheless no Christian is free to disobey those commandments which may be classified as moral.
So Five.TV breached Rule 5.7. Ignorance is no excuse.
3 MW presented these views as fact and did not make clear they were his personal views, contrary to Rule 5.10
4 MW abused Christianity making denigrating remarks contrary to Rule 4.2
5 The personal interest of Stephen K Amos was not clarified contrary to Rule 5.8
6 No panellist on the programme put a contrary view. For callers-in, only one opposing call was heard. The programme breached Rule 5.1, 5.5, 5.9, 5.11 and 5.12

No comments:

Post a Comment