Following an Ofcom inquiry into compliance failures in respect of phone-in TV programmes, Ofcom has introduced new mandatory licence conditions for television broadcasters in a bid to strengthen viewer and consumer protection. Service providers will now have to seek permission and meet certain conditions in order to provide premium rate telephone services for Participation TV. In addition, Ofcom will be issuing new guidance to clarify broadcasters’ responsibilities under the Broadcasting Code for voting and competitions. Ofcom will re-consult later in the year on whether to introduce similar changes to radio licences.

Following consultation, Ofcom has published its simplified Outline procedures for statutory sanctions in content and content-related cases. The revised outline procedures provide for a 2-stage rather than a 3-stage process, which Ofcom hopes will allow it to deal with cases more quickly and efficiently, but without jeopardising the rights of broadcasters to a fair hearing.