Broadcasting Standards Commission (partially found British broadcast communication regulator statements; 1981-2003)

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Broadcasting Standards Commission logo.

Status: Partially Found

Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) was an official British communication services regulator. It was created following the merger of Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) and Broadcasting Standards Council on 1st April, 1997, as part of the Broadcasting Act 1996. It was one of a few regulators responsible for enforcing broadcasting standards and fairness across television and radio. Notably, BSC and BCC would respond to complaints made concerning violations of standards and fairness, with many summaries of adjudications being broadcast on the involved television channel that would detail the regulator's findings.

Background[edit | edit source]

BCC operated from 1st June, 1987 to 1st April, 1997 before being merged with Broadcasting Standards Council to create BSC. BSC at the time was the only UK regulatory framework maintaining standards and fairness across all television and radio platforms, including terrestrial, cable, satellite, and digital services. As part of the Broadcasting Act 1996, it established Codes of Guidance concerning upholding of standards and fairness, enforced by considering and adjudicating on complaints, and reporting on violence, sexual content and bad language on programming and advertisements. It completed these tasks until 29th December, 2003, when it, along with four other regulatory boards, including the Independent Television Commission, were merged to form Ofcom.[1]

Anyone that viewed or heard a broadcast were allowed to write to BCC and BSC to complain about its content. Particularly, portrayals of violence, sexual content and issues that may otherwise be below standards of taste and decency, may attract Commission investigations, with the material and its context compared to the Standards Code.[2] Additionally, people with direct interest in broadcasts, e.g. individuals and companies that appeared or were referenced in the programming, can also complain if they felt they were unfairly treated or had their privacy infringed without warrant.

In the event the Commission believes a case should be of relevant public knowledge, e.g. if it is upheld or partially upheld, the Commission can direct the involved broadcaster to publish summaries of adjudications during broadcasts, and in newspapers and magazines.[3]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The archived list of Bulletins, which details every complaint made to the Commission, indicates many broadcasts were made thanks to the complaints being fully or partly upheld.[4] However, most summaries of adjudications by both BCC and BSC are lost media, because the findings are seldom repeated beyond their initial broadcasts, and would typically be of non-interest for the majority of viewers outside the complainants. Nevertheless, some summaries from both regulatory bodies have resurfaced online, being typically recorded by viewers at the time as part of Continuity videos popular among some television enthusiasts.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

1986 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Mrs. Shenfield about the 1984 Panorama episode "Wasting Welfare".
1988 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Dr. Spooner about the programme Borderland (12:12-13:02).
1988 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by the Isle of Man Government about two editions of the ITV program World in Action (3:31-4:52).
1991 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Mrs. Ackroyd about an edition of the BBC 1 program QED.
1991 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Dolphin Services (Bloom UK) and Mr. Eastcott about an edition of the BBC 2 program Wildlife Showcase called "Into the Blue".
1991 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Mr. Puttock about an edition of the ITV program In Suspicious Circumstances.
1994 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Mr. Flecknoe and five students at Carlton-Bolling College about an edition of Panorama that investigated allegations of an underclass in Britain among Asian Muslims.
1995 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Eastern Electricity concerning an item in the BBC 1 program Watchdog.
1997 BSC summary concerning a complaint made by Mr. Callaghan about the BBC 2 special The Underworld: The Krays.
1997 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Mr. Turnbull, The Associated Examining Board and the Southern Examining Group about an edition of Channel 4 program Dispatches called "Making the Grades".
2000 BCC summary concerning a complaint made by Wyatt & Son about an edition of Watchdog.
2002 BSC summary concerning a complaint made by Mr. Hole about the ITV 1 program Fat Club.


External Link[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]