Channels Lead TV Phone-in Crackdown

TV phone-ins should be 'safer' for viewers to use from now on.

Channel 4 and Channel Five have announced their collaboration on a programme-makers' 'handbook' they said is designed to stamp out the TV deception incidents such as those that dogged the industry over the last year.

It was a necessary move though as, between them, the two broadcasters have been fined almost £1.8m in the past year for misleading viewers in premium-rate phone-ins.

Channel 4 and Five will shortly unveil what they are calling the result of their collaboration, the Independent Producer Handbook.

The guide is aimed at fostering 'best editorial practice' among independent producers making shows for the two broadcasters.

The issue is complex though as Channel 4 and Five are the only commercial public service broadcasters to commission all their original programming from the independent production sector.

They said it would be useful for the industry if production staff had one book to help them navigate editorial, compliance and ethical dilemmas.

The guide is the result of "two years of joint work and the most comprehensive guide either broadcaster has ever attempted", they said.

Kevin Lygo, the Channel 4 Director of TV and Content, said: "The handbook will be an essential tool for both Channel 4's programme-makers and commissioners.

"We hope it will promote best practice and a clearer understanding of the parameters of the Ofcom broadcasting code and the law to better enable the making and broadcast of creative and bold programmes."

Meanwhile, Ben Gale, the Channel Five director of programmes, added: "The Independent Producer Handbook has been designed to provide programme-makers with clear, practical legal and regulatory guidance.

"We hope it will prove to be a useful aid for everyone involved in the production process."

The guide, which will be published online early next month, will provide advice for programme-makers, including frequently asked questions and answers relating to the key areas of Ofcom's broadcasting code and relevant media law.

The joint initiative is in response to the deception issues that plagued the TV industry last year.

Five was fined £300,000 by Ofcom in June last year over Endemol-made phone-in quiz show Brainteaser, in which members of the production staff stood in as contestants.

In December 2007, Channel 4 was fined £1.5m by regulator Ofcom for causing "serious consumer harm" after viewers wasted millions entering phone in competitions on Richard & Judy and Deal or No Deal that they had no chance of winning, or which were unfairly conducted.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

04 April 2003
British forces tighten grip around Basra
British forces have tightened their grip around Iraq's second largest city, Basra, after another foray into the enemy stronghold today. Journalists embedded with the British vanguard report that the Desert Rats and elements of the Irish Guards advanced to four miles of the city's centre following the operation.
13 November 2014
Postal Workers To Receive Missing People Alerts
Postal workers are to receive alerts of missing and vulnerable people as part of a new agreement between Royal Mail (RM) and the charity Missing People. RM's 124,000 postal workers will receive images and descriptions of missing children and adults to hand-held scanners, usually used to track deliveries.
22 March 2010
Two Arrested In Luton Drugs Raid
Two people were arrested by Bedfordshire Police after a dawn raid at a property in Selbourne Road, Luton at the weekend. The raid involved members of Luton’s Intelligence Team and supported by members of the Safer Neighbourhood Team and officers from the Tasking Unit, based at Luton Police Station.
05 February 2009
Apology After Adverts Interrupt FA Cup Goal
ITV boss Michael Grade has apologised to viewers watching last night's FA Cup game after adverts were shown over the only goal in the Merseyside derby. Many viewers missed Everton's Dan Gosling's extra-time goal on Wednesday night's match against Liverpool, when the game suddenly switched to adverts for Volkswagen cars and Tic-Tac sweets.
09 March 2005
ITV profits rocket despite dwindling audience share
ITV plc has reported a 57% rise in profits at the end of the first full year since it was spawned from the merger of Granada and Carlton - pre-tax profits for the group were £340 million.