“Ofcom research on offensive language identified that..”

With a straight [type]face, and expletives deleted, the BBC reports that Ofcom have slapped Radio Ulster on the wrist for Will Crawley’s Talkback interview with Tony Curtis after receiving two complaints. Although it was hardly an “X-rated rant”. I mean, Tony Curtis. At this point, he can say what the fuck he likes. Ruling below the fold.From the Ofcom bulletin [pdf file]


Ofcom research on offensive language identified that “fuck” and its derivatives were considered by audiences to be among the most offensive language, while “bastard” is considered by some to be very strong language, and “shit” was regarded as mildly offensive if used around children and young people.

Ofcom noted that Talkback is a political and current affairs programme and therefore that children were not particularly likely to have been listening to this broadcast.

Notwithstanding this, Ofcom went on to consider whether the language used in the broadcast exceeded generally accepted standards and was justified by the context. Ofcom took into account the nature of the programme, the fact that it was a live broadcast, and also the apologies offered to listeners by both the presenter and Mr Curtis.

Ofcom considers that during live interviews it is important for the broadcaster to properly brief interviewees of the need to avoid offensive language (where appropriate) and also to be particularly vigilant during the broadcast itself for any potential breaches of the Code and where necessary take action to prevent them.

While Ofcom acknowledged that the apologies to listeners went some way in mitigating the potential offence of the language used, Ofcom considered that the language, in particular the use of the word “fuck” was likely to have gone beyond the expectations of the audience for a programme of this type and at this time.

In breach Rule 2.3