Wednesday, April 09, 2008

BBC's lack of Live Earth time delay earns a ticking off

The BBC coverage of Live Earth - and in particular, the 23 uses of "fucking" and "motherfucking" - has earned the Corporation a very strict and very cross dressing down from Ofcom - although they won't be fined.

The swearing - mostly down to Chris Rock and Snoop Dogg - poured out of screens during Al Gore's attempt to save the planet by flying pop stars round and round it in aeroplanes. The BBC hadn't broadcast the event of time delay, despite the exact same thing having happened on Live 8. Gamely, they did try to suggest this wasn't a bad move:

In the case of Live Earth, the BBC said it had been given full sight of running orders, films and scripts in advance and had not been denied access to artists and their managers. There had been meetings and written communications both internally and between Live Earth organisers and the BBC. The organisers had given repeated written assurances that the problems seen at Live8 would not recur, and that all the required steps would be taken in relation to artists and their managers.

In addition, the BBC said that it had identified the artists whom it regarded as
potentially problematic, and had taken steps, for example by briefing artists and
monitoring the live output, to avoid the broadcast of inappropriate material before the watershed.

Mmm. A signed piece of paper from Snoop Dogg saying he won't swear. Neville Chamberlain would understand.

The BBC's justification for not running with a time delay is a little odd, too:
The BBC considered, amongst other things, that the use of a short time delay was not appropriate because it would have resulted in coverage which was in no sense ‘live’, of an event which was accessible ‘live’ on other UK platforms.

A seven-second delay would have made it not-live? Because someone else might be listening to it on the radio and it wouldn't quite sync up?

Ofcom, though, takes into account that the BBC does admit it ballsed up, which is why they're going to make them say "sorry" on BBC 1 and BBC 2. Management will probably just be relieved there's no big cash fine to pay.

1 comment:

James said...

Whilst it was fairly silly not to use a delay, I can almost understand the BBC's predicament; Either broadcast it completely live and risk a ticking-off from OFCOM, or screen a show called 'Live Earth' on a 7-second delay and practically hand the Daily Mail the story 'LIE EARTH: BBC In New Deception Scandal'.

"One viewer said 'It's a disgrace, I feel cheated. My friend was at the concert and he phoned me to say 'Are you watching this?! Ricky from Kaiser Chiefs just did a really good jump!!' but I had no idea what he was talking about. Until about seven seconds later. Why do the BBC want the planet to die?"

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