Ofcom Slaps Record Fine On BBC For Fake Call-Ins
July 30, 2008 at 5:09 AM (PT)
The BBC has been fined a total of £400,000 for airing fake contest phone calls on eight different radio and TV shows in 2005-2007.
Four of the incidents involved radio shows, including BBC 6MUSIC's LIZ KERSHAW SHOW (fined £115,000), RUSSELL BRAND SHOW (£17,500), and CLARE MCDONNELL SHOW (£17,500) and BBC RADIO 1's JO WHILEY show (£75,000). Receiving £45,000 fines were BBC ONE's "COMIC RELIEF" and "SPORT RELIEF," while BBC ONE SCOTLAND's "CHILDREN IN NEED" (£35,000) and BBC TWO/CBBC's "TMi" (£50,000) were also fined.
"The BBC deceived its audience by faking winners of competitions and deliberately conducting competitions unfairly," OFCOM said in levying the record fine for the faked calls, including pre-recorded calls, made-up winner names, and calls solicited after winners had already been selected. The network had previously been fined £50,000 in JULY 2007 for contest falsification on an episode of children's show "BLUE PETER" on BBC ONE.
"Whilst we must never be complacent and must remain constantly vigilant, audience research suggests the comprehensive action we have taken is rebuilding the trust of viewers and listeners."