Instances of deceit and fakery has today cost the BBC a £400,000 fine from Ofcom.
Over half of that amount consists of fines levied for misleading listeners during radio shows. The Liz Kershaw show on 6Music warranted a £115,000 fine – larger than any received by a single BBC television show.
The fine is the highest financial penalty to be imposed by Ofcom against the BBC.
The regulators found the BBC in breach of Rule 2.11 of the Code, which states that competitions should be conducted fairly.
In each of the cases that Ofcom investigated, they found the BBC deceived its audience by faking winners of competitions and deliberately conducting competitions unfairly.
The fines are as follows:
– Comic Relief, BBC1 on 16 March 2007 £45,000
– Sport Relief, BBC1 on 15 July 2006 £45,000
– Children in Need, BBC1 (Scotland) on 18 November 2005 £35,000
– TMi, BBC2 and CBBC on 16 September 2006 £50,000
– Liz Kershaw Show, BBC 6 Music on 1 May 2005 -6 January 2006 £115,000
– The Jo Whiley Show, BBC Radio 1 on 20 April – 12 May 2006 £75,000
– Russell Brand, BBC 6 Music on 9 April 2006 £17,500
– The Clare McDonnell Show, BBC 6 Music from September 2006 £17,500
The investigations found that in some cases, the production team had taken pre-mediated decisions to broadcast competitions and encourage listeners to enter in the full knowledge that the audience stood no chance of winning.
In other cases, programmes faced with technical problems made up the names of winners.
Overall, the regulators found that the BBC failed to have adequate management oversight of its compliance and training procedures to ensure that the audience was not misled.