U.K. TV Channel Fined Over Unscrambled 'Explicit' Content

Tod Hunter
LONDON — The British government's Office of Communications has fined adult TV channel Television X — The Fantasy Channel $50,000 for broadcasting "highly explicit sex material" last year.

The office, known as "Ofcom," received complaints from rival broadcasters after the channel showed two nude female performers — known as "babes" on the channel — engaging in sexual acts, including the use of sex toys.

In the U.K., subscription TV channels are allowed to broadcast "adult-sex" content between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. if the channel has a PIN protected encryption system or other equivalent protection. There also must be measures in place to insure that the subscriber is an adult.

Even under those restrictions, broadcasting material that would receive a British Board of Film Classification rating of R18, "highly explicit sex material," is prohibited under the Broadcasting Code.

Ofcom ruled the channel broke the rules on June 8, 2007, by broadcasting "adult-sex" material during a time reserved for free, unencrypted trailers, and also by broadcasting encrypted material judged to be the equivalent of R18-rated film.

Broadcasters are also expected to apply "generally accepted standards" to protect members of the public from offensive material, and must insure that potentially offensive material is justified by the context. Ofcom also found the channel to have not met those rules.