Complaint by Mr C Fairness and Privacy Cases Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin

07 May 2013

Decision: Upheld

This complaint concerned the programme "Panorama: Gambling Nation", first broadcast on 05 November 2012. The complainant, Mr C, had taken part in the programme, and although he was not named and attempts were made to obscure his face, his actual voice remained audible and this rendered him identifiable. Following the programme, Mr C had been identified on a social networking site by a number of people who knew him.

Ofcom applied Rule 8.1 of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code ('the Code'), which states that any infringement of privacy in programmes must be warranted. Ofcom conducted its review in three stages.

Firstly, Ofcom considered the subject matter and concluded that the subject of gambling addiction was sensitive. The private nature of the information, coupled with the safeguards assured to keep Mr C anonymous, meant that Mr C had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the circumstances.

Secondly, Rule 8.6 of the Code states that if the broadcast of a programme would infringe the privacy of a person, consent should be obtained before the relevant broadcast is made, unless the infringement of privacy is warranted. Mr C had consented to his contribution being broadcasted, on the basis that his identity would be protected. Ofcom therefore found that Mr C did not consent to the broadcasted version on 05 November 2012, from which he was identified.

Finally, in determining whether the infringement of privacy was warranted, Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster's right to freedom of expression and its right to receive and impart information without interference did not outweigh Mr C's expectation of privacy in relation to the broadcast.

Ofcom found that Mr C's privacy was unwarrantably infringed in the programme as broadcast.

The full case can be found on page 26 of the Ofcom bulletin, found here.