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Encyclopedia > Ofcom

Ofcom is a regulator for communication industries in the United Kingdom. Ofcom was initially established in the enabling device, the Office of Communications Act 2002 [1], but received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003. On December 29, 2003, Ofcom inherited the duties that had previously been the responsibility of five regulatory bodies: ImageMetadata File history File links Logo_300dpi_35mm-1-.jpg Ofcom logo File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Communication is a process that allows beings - in particular humans - to exchange information by one of several methods. ... See also the Communications Act 2003 (Nigeria). ... December 29 is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 2 days remaining. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

  • the Broadcasting Standards Commission,
  • the Independent Television Commission,
  • the Office of Telecommunications (Oftel),
  • the Radio Authority, and
  • the Radiocommunications Agency.

The inaugural chairman of Ofcom is David Currie, Dean of Cass Business School at City University and a life peer under the title Lord Currie of Marylebone. Its inaugural chief executive was Stephen Carter, formerly a senior executive of J Walter Thompson UK and NTL. Its second, and current chief executive, is Ed Richards, formerly Ofcom strategy partner and COO and, previous to joining Ofcom, a government advisor. The ITC has been superseded as the British commercial television regulator by Ofcom (the Office of Communications). ... David Currie is the current chairman of Ofcom and a member of the House of Lords under the title of Lord Currie of Marylebone. ... City University, London, is a British university based at Northampton Square in Clerkenwell, London. ... In the United Kingdom, Life Peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles may not be inherited (those whose titles are inheritable are known as hereditary peers). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Virgin Media, Telewest and Virgin. ...

The short form of the name is given as OFCOM (all capitals) in the Communications Act 2003, which established the Office of Communications. Ofcom itself uses the mixed case form seen here, which is also the more widespread in the media.

Ofcom's main office is at Riverside House, 2a, Southwark Bridge Road, Southwark, London SE1 9HA. The Borough or Southwark is an area of the London Borough of Southwark situated 1. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ...



Ofcom's duties which are wide-ranging, covering all manner of industries and processes. It has a statutory duty to further the interests of citizens and consumers by promoting competition and protecting consumers from harmful or offensive material.

Some of the main areas over which Ofcom presides are licensing, undertaking research, creating codes and policies, addressing complaints and looking into competition. Ofcom has developed a reputation for its tendency to issue a large number of consultations (there was even a consultation on the consultations). This however reflects Ofcom's intention to operate in a more open and accountable manner, being receptive to public and industry comments. Research is a human activity based on intellectual investigation and aimed at discovering, interpreting, and revising human knowledge on different aspects of the world. ...


Ofcom considers consultations to be a vital way of helping it to make the right decisions based upon the right evidence. Ofcom's formal process of consultation starts with their publishing a document (all of which are published on their website), asking for views and responses. If the document is long and complicated, Ofcom will usually publish a plain English summary. Plain English focuses on being a flexible and efficient writing style that readers can understand in one reading. ...

Ofcom will then usually allow a period of ten weeks for interested persons, companies or organisations to read the document and send in their responses. After this ten week period, Ofcom will normally publish all of the responses on their website (excluding any which are marked by the respondent as confidential).

After the consultation has closed, Ofcom will prepare a summary of the responses, and may use this as a basis for some of their decisions. [2]

Programme Complaints

The four housemates accused of racism and bullying in Celebrity Big Brother 2007 (from left to right) Jo O'Meara, Danielle Lloyd, Jade Goody and Jack Tweed

As the regulatory body for media broadcasts, part of Ofcom's duties are to examine specific complaints by viewers/listeners about programmes. When Ofcom receives a complaint it firstly asks the broadcaster for a copy of the programme, and it then examines the programme to see whether it is in breach of the broadcasting code. Ofcom also asks for a response from the broadcaster to the complaint. Considering these, Ofcom will mark the complaint as either upheld or not upheld, or alternatively 'resolved'. Image File history File links BBHousemates. ... Image File history File links BBHousemates. ... Because racism carries connotations of race-based bigotry, prejudice, violence, oppression, stereotyping or discrimination, the term has varying and often hotly contested definitions. ... Bullying is the tormenting of others through verbal harassment, physical assault, or other more subtle methods of coercion such as manipulation. ... Celebrity Big Brother 2007 is the fifth series of the United Kingdom reality television series Celebrity Big Brother, a spin-off of Big Brother. ... Joanne Valda OMeara (born 29 April 1979) in Romford, London Borough of Havering is an English singer and actress. ... Danielle Lloyd (born 16 December 1983, Liverpool) is an English lingerie and glamour model, and former Miss England (2004). ... Jade Goody (born 5 June 1981) is a British reality television celebrity who gained notoriety after appearing on Big Brother in 2002. ...

In June 2004, Ofcom, having received complaints from twenty-four viewers, censured Fox News commentator John Gibson for stating that the BBC had "a frothing-at-the-mouth anti-Americanism that was obsessive, irrational and dishonest". [3]. Ofcom held that these statements were untrue opinions based on false evidence that necessitated that Fox offer the BBC rebuttal time [4]. shelby was here 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Fox News Channels slogan is We Report, You Decide The Fox News Channel is a U.S. cable and satellite news channel. ... John Gibson is a neoconservative American television talk show host, hosting the weekday edition of The Big Story and The John Gibson Show on Fox News Radio. ... The British Broadcasting Corporation, which is usually known as the BBC, is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world in terms of audience numbers, employing 26,000 staff in the United Kingdom alone and with a budget of more than GB£4 billion. ... Cover of Anti-Americanism by French author Jean-Francois Revel. ...

Perhaps one of the most controversial decisions made by Ofcom regarding a complaint was that regarding Jerry Springer: The Opera. Having received a large number of complaints from various viewers, Ofcom decided there had been no breach of the broadcasting code, citing the broadcaster's right of freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. David Soul stars as Jerry Springer Jerry Springer – The Opera is a musical written by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, based on the television show The Jerry Springer Show. ... Freedom of speech is the right to freely say what one pleases, as well as the related right to hear what others have stated. ... The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, also known as the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), was adopted under the auspices of the Council of Europe[1] in 1950 to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. ...

One recent decision which attracted much media attention was Ofcom's decision to restrict junk food advertising aimed at children.

By 20 January 2007 Ofcom received over 38,000 complaints regarding Celebrity Big Brother and racial issues concerning Shilpa Shetty and Jade Goody. This was Ofcom's highest ever complaints response. Big Brother is a reality show shown on Channel 4 in which a number of contestants live in an isolated house trying to avoid being evicted by the public with the aim of winning a large cash prize at the end of the run. ... Shilpa Shetty (Tulu: ಶಿಲ್ಪ ಶೆಟ್ಟಿ) (born 8 June 1975 in Mangalore, India) is a four-time Filmfare Award-nominated Indian film actress and Supermodel. ... Jade Goody (born 5 June 1981) is a British reality television celebrity who gained notoriety after appearing on Big Brother in 2002. ...


Ofcom is in charge of a large chunk of the electromagnetic spectrum, and licenses portions of it for use in TV and radio broadcasts, mobile phone transmissions, private communications networks, and so on. The process of licensing varies depending on the type of usage required. Some licenses simply have to be applied for and paid for, others are subject to a bidding process. Most of the procedures in place have been inherited from the systems used by the legacy regulators. However, Ofcom may change some of the processes in future. Legend γ = Gamma rays HX = Hard X-rays SX = Soft X-Rays EUV = Extreme ultraviolet NUV = Near ultraviolet Visible light NIR = Near infrared MIR = Moderate infrared FIR = Far infrared Radio waves EHF = Extremely high frequency (Microwaves) SHF = Super high frequency (Microwaves) UHF = Ultra high frequency VHF = Very high frequency HF = High... See TV (disambiguation) for other uses and Television (band) for the rock band European networks National In much of Europe television broadcasting has historically been state dominated, rather than commercially organised, although commercial stations have grown in number recently. ... Look up legacy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Ofcom was created to take the place of five previous regulators to deal with the technological convergence of media platforms, and some claim this burden may be too great for it. For example in the broadband industry users complaining to Ofcom about poor services are met with "Ofcom does not investigate individual consumer complaints". Failed ISPs like E7Even and Euro1net are examples of this. E7Even collected fees for up to 4 years in advance and also took payments for MAX upgrades. It also had a "billing error" where most of the thousands of prepaying customers were billed incorrectly. Despite all these problems being reported to OFCOM it opened its "own-initiative investigation" by which time E7Even had collapsed, leaving customers and suppliers owed thousands of pounds. Technological convergence is the modern presence of a vast array of different types of technology to perform very similar tasks. ...

Ofcom's failure to provide a compulsory MAC code scheme means that customers of failed ISPs like E7Even and Euro1net end up having to find new service providers and pay a connection fee of up to £60, which would not be required if they could use MAC codes to move to other providers.

In response to situations such as those highlighted above, however, Ofcom are making the MAC process compulsory from 14th February 2007 [5], meaning that in future similar situations, customers of failing ISPs will be less severely inconvenienced and cannot be "locked in", with Ofcom actually having authority to intervene when a service provider fails to comply with the MAC process.

See also

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the independent British self regulatory organisation (SRO) of the advertising industry. ... The Press Complaints Commission is a British organisation that has regulated printed newspapers and magazines since 1990. ... Shortcut: UK topics This is a list of topics related to the United Kingdom. ... The Internet Service Providers Association, or ISPA, is a British body representing providers of Internet Services. ... This article is about the location. ... The abbreviation FCC can refer to: Face-centered cubic (usually fcc), a crystallographic structure Federal Communications Commission, a US government organization Farm Credit Corporation/Farm Credit Canada, a Canadian government organization Families with Children from China, an adoption support organization Florida Christian College, a college in central Florida Fresno City...

External links

  • Ofcom website
    • Ofcom Broadcast Codes
  • OfcomWatch - Ofcom-related blog

  Results from FactBites:
Ofcom at AllExperts (737 words)
Ofcom was designed to be a 'super regulator', required in an age where many media platforms are converging.
Ofcom's formal process of consultation starts with their publishing a document (all of which are published on their website), asking for views and responses.
Ofcom is in charge of a large chunk of the electromagnetic spectrum, and licenses portions of it for use in TV and radio broadcasts, mobile phone transmissions, private communications networks, and so on.
Ofcom : Media Regulator (1056 words)
Ofcom has brought in David Connolly, a seasoned former advertising sales chief from Scottish Television, to make sure ITV obeys the new rules on selling airtime put in place by the government to protect advertisers.
Ofcom's annual plan of action will be taken on a roadshow around the country before being implemented each April.
Ofcom has already run into criticism for annual costs that will run to GBP 164 million in the financial year from April 2004.
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