Thursday 18 January 2018

No Ofcom probe into Loose Women's rape victims poll

A poll on ITV show Loose Women asked viewers whether rape was ever a woman's fault
A poll on ITV show Loose Women asked viewers whether rape was ever a woman's fault

ITV show Loose Women will not be investigated by Ofcom over their controversial rape victims poll.

The TV watchdog has decided not to launch an investigation into the September 1 episode of the panel programme, which led to 74 complaints, asking whether rape was ever a woman's fault.

The vote, which was criticised by viewers and help centres such as Rape Crisis, followed comments made by Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, who told the Sunday Times that victims have to "take responsibility".

ITV later apologised, admitting the poll was "misjudged".

Ofcom has chosen not to take further action after assessing the complaints.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said: "We carefully considered a number of complaints that it was offensive for this programme to ask the audience 'are women ever to blame' in cases of rape.

"We noted the panel did not say that rape victims were in any way responsible for the behaviour of their attackers; and the audience strongly concurred with the sentiment 'no means no' expressed by many on the panel.

"We found the panel discussion and references to an online poll were in line with audience expectations for this live panel programme, which often covers difficult topics.

"Therefore, we are not taking the matter forward for investigation."

However, the live final of The Voice has been found in breach of Ofcom's broadcasting code for showing flashing images without any warning.

The incident, which spawned one complaint, happened during the final, broadcast on BBC1 on April 4, when Emmanuel Nwamadi performed Somebody That I Used To Know.

Certain types of flashing images can trigger seizures in viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy (PSE), and the media regulator said the incident "posed a significant risk of harm to viewers in the audience with PSE".

Ofcom said: "The technical assessment of the flashing images in this performance found that on two occasions they failed to comply with the PSE Guidance. Television broadcasters must take precautions to maintain a low level of risk to viewers who have photosensitive epilepsy.

"Where it is not reasonably practicable to follow the Ofcom guidance (see the Ofcom website), and where broadcasters can demonstrate that the broadcasting of flashing lights and/or patterns is editorially justified, viewers should be given an adequate verbal and also, if appropriate, text warning at the start of the programme or programme item."

Press Association

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