BBC targets homophobic remarks

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The BBC has introduced disciplinary procedures for any radio presenters who swear or use offensive language on air in reaction to a report from communication watchdog Ofcom.

The move comes after complaints regarding Radio1 DJ Chris Moyles claiming he used the word gay in a derogatory way to describe a ringtone.

Although the Ofcom report does not cite the gay remarks, it refers to comments about women who urinate in the shower being “dirty whores” and the use of the words “piss” and “twat.”

The report said: “The BBC assured us that since these programmes were broadcast, new procedures have been introduced by Radio 1. In future, presenters who accidentally swore or used other offensive language on air would be subject to disciplinary measures.

“Should this happen twice within twelve months, the presenter would suffer a financial penalty. Programme teams had also been reminded of the existing guidance on how to deal with offensive language from contributors, which included the possibility of persistent offenders being taken off air.

“The BBC said that the Controller of Radio 1 has raised the issue of language with this presenter, who had given an assurance that his use of language would be more carefully managed.

“The Controller would continue, as part of his wider communication with presenters and staff, to emphasise the need to maintain a careful balance between creating an entertaining and authentic service for young listeners and using language that might cause harm and offence to others.”

The regulator’s report also said fellow presenter, Scott Mills, had made a “serious misjudgement” when he made a expletive filled prank call.

The document concluded, “We appreciate the wide choice of content that is broadcast by the station, but we have concerns about the number and, in some cases, the seriousness of compliance issues that have arisen.

“We recognise that Radio 1 aims to produce imaginative and innovative programming but the station also attracts a wide-ranging audience, including large numbers of children. It is, therefore, important that the station’s compliance reflects this. Any future similarly serious compliance issues may result in the consideration of further regulatory action.”

Last week, BBC governors ruled that Moyles’ ‘gay’ ringtone comments “met the required editorial standards and did not demonstrate homophobia.”

Its report said: “In broadcasting to an audience of predominantly young people, it was to be expected that Chris Moyles would use expressions and words which the listeners used themselves,” the report said.

“The committee believed that Chris Moyles, when using the word, had meant no offence to gay people.

“It did, however, feel that it would be advisable to think more carefully about using the word ‘gay’ in its derogatory sense in the future.”