Oh dear, the Nanny State's 'Guardians of objectivity', OfCom, are at it again, this time in defense of the poor, defenseless
Press TV - specifically episodes of George Galloway’s programmes Comment and The Real Deal - were found in breach of Ofcom Rules 5.11 and 5.12 dealing with impartiality and balance.
The issue - or rather the complaints received against the station and
Complainants considered that these four programmes (“the Programmes”), variously: failed to put both sides of the argument in relation to the situation in Gaza; constituted Iranian propaganda; and that George Galloway in particular did not conduct a balanced discussion on the issue of Gaza.
It is a requirement in legislation that Ofcom must take particular account of the need to ensure due impartiality is preserved when dealing with major matters of political controversy.
In summary, Ofcom considered that within the Programmes overall, there was not an appropriately wide range of significant views included and that the views that were included that were contrary to the opinion of the presenter, were not given due weight. As a consequence, Ofcom considered the Programmes to have breached Rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Code.
Ofcom recognises that limits to editorial freedom exist partly to ensure compliance with Section 5 of the Code, and in particular the requirement to ensure due impartiality when dealing with matters of major political or industrial controversy or major matters relating to current public policy. However, Ofcom also recognises that there may be a number of ways that broadcasters can ensure that an appropriately wide range of significant views are included in a programme and given due weight.
In carrying out its duties, Ofcom recognises that there is not, and should not be, any prohibition on broadcasters discussing controversial subjects2. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict understandably raises extremely strong views and emotions from all sides. It is right that broadcasters are able to reflect such opinions within its programmes. There must be a place for such programming which gives air to highly opinionated and vocal reaction on issues of such importance. However, in order to comply with the Code, broadcasters must ensure that, when discussing matters of major political or industrial controversy or a major matter relating to current public policy, a real range of significant views are included in a programme. Further, in such cases, when presenting any significant alternative view, it must be given due weight and consideration.
I imagine the OfCom report to blather on like that for some more, in that 'yeah but, no but', 'on the other hand', 'however' etc jargon, so typical of whimpish public broadcasting 'safeguarding' Mandarin NewSpeak. Brits aren't mature enough to make up their own minds, apparently, and need to be held by the hand throughout the delicate process of possibly concluding somefink. Even more so if that somefink is related to the 'highly complex issue of I-P'...
Most of the Potters comments on the post in question don't exceed the Brown Sauce's usual jingoism (specifically when it comes to
The OFCOM report Brett cites at the end of his post is well worth reading. It is excellent. It shows how
But one commenter, Mike, hits the nail rather right on the head:
“broadcasters must ensure that, when discussing matters of major political or industrial controversy or a major matter relating to current public policy, a real range of significant views are included in a programme.”
That’s a ridiculous situation. So every programme about the
war should also include Lindsey German? Iraq
Every programme about evolution should include the ’significant views’ of creationists? http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/01/evolution-darwin-survey-creationism
The BNP should take part in every debate about immigration?
Be careful what you wish for.
Of course no bugger picks up on it, yet Mike hits on the crux of the matter. Should, for any viewpoint presented, a counter-viewpoint be put forward also? What about programmes about the Holocaust? David Irving a must-attendee? Programmes on homophobia: don't forget to invite some notable defenders of homophobia now, balance needed, remember?
And who will judge the 'deciders'? And accredited body above OfCom, to ensure ITS 'impartiality'? An infinite tower of turtles, each scrutinising each other's 'objectivity'?
This country has enough libel and anti-defamation laws as it is, combined with a rich media landscape, to give anyone who feels aggrieved by 'lack of objectivity' plenty of right to reply, without OfCom sticking its long nose into public affairs.
As regards 'Iranian propaganda', by rights we should be able to hear raucous laughter emanating from Tehran at this Western own goal (is it just me or is the West really getting good at 'scoring' this way?)
The Iranian regime, rightly or wrongly, likes nothing better than to poke fun at one of the West's most Holy Issues, Freedom of Speech and here we have one man, for expressing his opinion (he stresses that it is HIS opinion and that he speaks for no one but himself all the time) who gets slammed with the accusation of 'Iranian propaganda'. OfCom sees no problem with that? Of course they do, they just don't care...
No, let the OfCommers be scrapped, save a lot of valuable British taxpayers money (£50 k a pop, I'm guessing) and let HP and their opponents slug it out among themselves, happy like pigs in mud...