STV rapped over regulations breach


By Rory Reynolds

BELEAGUERED broadcaster STV has been rapped for breaching media regulations.

Broadcast regulator Ofcom has ruled that the channel’s popular Business Briefing programme was in breach of the Broadcasting Code by being sponsored by STV Jobs.

The Broadcasting Code – which is enforced by Ofcom – prohibits the “sponsorship of news and current affairs programmes”.

STV said that the Business Briefing, which followed the main 10.00pm news bulletin, featured a clause stating that the briefing was a “short specialist report following a news programme – including sport, travel and weather reports – may be sponsored.”

However Ofcom said yesterday that Business Briefing was in breach of the Broadcasting Code.It said that by attributing the rise in the number of public sector workers to “the Government’s rescue of the stricken banking sector” the programme had “clearly dealt with matters of political and industrial controversy.”

It also added that programmes such as sport, travel and weather “do not deal with matters of political or industrial controversy” – whereas Business Briefing had.

They concluded by saying “STV Business Briefings went beyond providing factual market information – which may be sponsored.”

The Scottish broadcaster welcomed the “clarification”, but added that previous guidelines were “unclear”.

A spokesperson said: “STV welcomes Ofcom’s clarification regarding the sponsorship of short specialist reports within news, as we believe the previous guidelines were unclear on this matter.

“We plan to re-introduce our Business Briefings in future and the sponsorship around these reports will reflect the clearer guidance that Ofcom has now provided.”

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