Gem TV found in breach of Ofcom code for 11:30am screening of The Exorcist
Gem TV, a Farsi language channel, has been found by Ofcom to be in breach of the broadcasting code by showing horror film The Exorcist at 11:30 in the morning, and again in the early evening.
The channel, which broadcasts via the Hotbird 6 satellite, is available in Europe and the Middle East.
The Exorcist has been rated 18 by the British Board of Film Classification, and under rule 1.23 of the broadcasting code “BBFC 18-rated films or their equivalent must not be broadcast before 2100 on any service (except for pay per view services), and even then they may be unsuitable for broadcast at that time”.
General Entertainment & Music Ltd (GEM Ltd) said the channel broadcasts in Farsi for Iranian viewers, so its programme times and schedules are based on Iranian time. It added that the film’s scheduling would therefore have been compliant with the Code when judged against Iranian local time.
Ofcom noted the Licensee’s comments in respect of its target audience being in Iran, but rejected this as a defence, stating that 11:30 in the UK would have been 15:00 in local Iranian time – still putting it before the watershed.
Ofcom added: “More importantly, where a service can be received in more than one time zone, scheduling considerations made under the Code are judged against the earliest time at which the service can be received (i.e. the most westerly time zone). For GEM TV this is UK time. In that respect we would point out that the complaint was made by a viewer in the UK.
“For The Exorcist to have been scheduled in the morning and early evening therefore represented two clear and serious breaches of the Code.”