Thursday, 13 December 2012

Television compliance and regulation

Television is highly regulated because of its mass audience with a mixture of demographics, ethnicity and religion. It is a platform people trust and find credible. This is why regulation is strict and broadcasters have to abide. However it is hard not to upset audiences now and again. Ofcom, The Office of Communications, is a government approved regulatory and competition authority for broadcasters, telecommunication and postal industries. Ofcom set the rules that the industries must follow. The broadcasters themselves then have their own self-regulations.
For example the BBC have very high standards of regulations as a company, to ensure their broadcasting image is represented well and not upsetting or loosing their audiences. Before becoming an employee or being commissioned by the BBC they ensure that you have completed their safeguarding trust certificate. ‘Safeguarding Trust is an editorial training programme which examines the issue of where to draw the line between legitimate media artifice and unacceptable audience deception.’ (BBC, 2007)
This is something I will undertake over the next few months, as it will educate me on the regulatory expectations of television. It will teach me the must not’s in programming such as, ‘exploring editorial dilemmas around shooting/recording, editing, interactivity, live broadcasting and 'as lives', and running competitions.’ (BBC, 2007) If I complete the Safeguarding Trust it will also look good to employers that I have taken my time to consider these broadcasting compliances.
However saying all this there is now becoming a blur between the boundaries of traditional TV and online and on-demand TV. Ofcom only control material broadcasted over an analogue or digital TV signal, so who has control over the new wave of TV services? They are self-regulated by a group called, Association for Television on Demand. Their regulatory code do follow closely that of Ofcom’s however the problem with online TV is that they are far harder to regulate as anyone can upload a video to the internet. Programmes that are made for after the watershed on TV can be accessed any time of the day. However we have seen restrictions put in place by the catch up TV websites, such a BBC Iplayer and 4OD requiring users to be over 18. I must consider this in my own work, such as making sure I clearly consult users if my film is inappropriate for younger audiences or could offend. Overall I feel that knowing the regulations of the Television broadcasting will help with my development into the industry.

BBC, 2007. Safeguarding Trust, Introdcution. [online] Available at: [accessed 12th December 2012]