with RCS

Infringement of privacy at Vibe

A volunteer presenter on a community radio station in the Enniskillen and Fermanagh areas of Northern Ireland has attracted two Ofcom complaints on the grounds of unwarranted infringement of privacy after dedicated songs to a listener.

The presenter dedicated two songs to someone he referred to by their first name and the initial of their last name and the initials of both their first name and last name.

Mrs K, who made the complaints, said the two incidents in June last year meant that her privacy had been unwarrantably infringed.

In the programme broadcast on the 15th of June 2008, the presenter said:

[blockquote]“Phil Collins, moonlighting from Genesis…going to dedicate that song to [first name and initial of last name]…It’s a song called ‘I Don’t Care Any More’…get a life”.[/blockquote]

In the programme broadcast on 17 June 2008, the presenter said:

[blockquote]“Right, I’m going to do a dedication especially for a person who goes by the name of [initials of first and last names] – you know who you are – and I would like to dedicate this song especially for you. These words are so, so…apt…let’s say. This is Queen, ‘Death On Two Legs’ and…well, the words say it all. [Initials of first and last names], you know who you are.”[/blockquote]

After the song was played, the presenter said:

[blockquote]“Yeah… that’s ‘Death On Two Legs’ by Queen, especially for [initials of first and last names]…the late, great Freddie Mercury wrote that song about management that let him down. I will just dedicate that to someone else who is just as nasty and conniving…”[/blockquote]

Ofcom considered that the disclosure of private information alluding to Ms K’s character and the nature of the relationship between herself and the presenter, in combination with the use of her initials and her first name in the programmes did infringe her privacy.

The regulator found that there was no justification to warrant the inclusion of the presenter’s remarks about Ms K in the programmes, and found the station in breach of broadcasting rules.

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