262MC: Blog Task 7

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 21.20.10For this task I decided to research about the boundaries of drugs on TV.

In British broadcasting the watershed is the line at which adult content can be shown on television, no matter what the content. This includes, drug abuse, sex, violence and more. The same set of rules apply to other countries for both radio and television, however have different names for example in the USA it is called Safe Harbour.

Ofcom is the official broadcasting code which applies to all programmes. According to it, “Programme makers should always consider the impact that the representation of the use of illegal drugs, the abuse of drugs, smoking, solvent abuse and the misuse of alcohol, may have on younger viewers and listeners. ” (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/guidance/831193/section1.pdf). By this Ofcom mean that they don’t want any type of encouragement of drug abuse by any broadcasters unless they have no choice in displaying it when broadcasting it before the watershed time, and then must be justified (Research: Knowing the score (2000) BSC, BBFC; Smoking, alcohol and drugs on television (2005) Ofcom).

As a producer, you have to ensure that the production staff have done background checks regarding an under 18’s situation as the programme may vary depending on content. Ofcom recommend that because children vary in terms of age, gender, mental and physical stability and ethnic/religious background all these factors must be taken into consideration when looking into background checks and creating documented risk assessments.  Ofcom also point out that children under the age of 18 must be considered as main priority no matter how stressful the job of being a producer is (http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/guidance/831193/section1.pdf).

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