Playboy TV Fined in U.K.

Tod Hunter
LONDON — The U.K. media regulatory agency Ofcom has fined Playboy TV $33,000 for "serious and repeated breaches" of the broadcasting code after airing unencrypted sexually explicit material in 2007.

Ofcom received five complaints about seven programs on the Playboy One service between Sept.-Dec. 2007, before Playboy One encrypted its signal in Sept. 2008.

The agency found that broadcasts included masturbation, oral sex between women and men and women, "clear labial detail," sexual intercourse, and full nudity. Some programs also included strong language "in an overtly sexual context."

Ofcom ruled that the "explicitness, strength and/or sustained nature of the sexual content and language" was unacceptable on an unencrypted free-to-air channel and that Playboy TV had failed to provide "adequate protection" for viewers from "potentially harmful or offensive material." It also made note of repeated violations, which "increased the seriousness of the compliance failure in this case,"

Playboy TV responded it had completely replaced the programming of Playboy One in Feb. 2008 with material that was "significantly softer and includes heavily edited versions of any sex content."

The sanction comes four years after Playboy TV was fined $36,000 by Ofcom for screening the hardcore film "Sandy Babe Abroad" in violation of the program code.