Ofcom Lodges Complaint Over Dutch Porn Channels

Mar 8, 2012 12:00 PM PST

LONDON — U.K. communications regulator Ofcom has lodged a complaint with Dutch authorities over two adult chat channels that are licensed in the Netherlands but broadcast in the U.K.

Ofcom, which has the power to act against U.K.-based broadcasters that offer restricted or hardcore content, said that discussions are underway with Dutch media authority Commissariaat voor de Media to see how Babestation and Smile TV can be blocked from Freeview,  which offers over-the-airwaves digital TV.

Babestation and Smile TV, which broadcast from 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. on five terrestrial Freeview channels, make money by convincing viewers to call premium phone lines.

The Dutch-licensed adult chat channels are accessible to 90 percent of about 10.6 million U.K. homes that use Freeview as their only access to digital TV.  

Ofcom in recent years has taken a tough stance on adult entertainment channels in the U.K., revoking licenses of four channels of TV network Tease Me after repeat violations and fining Playboy TV and subsidiary Just4Us $175,000.

It also fined subscription channels Essex Babes, Northern Birds and Live XXX Babes  $144,000, imposed $36,000 in penalties over seven Playboy One  programs and fined Satellite Entertainment $32,000 for its adult chat program SportsXXXBabes.

But Babestation and Smile TV are licensed by the Dutch media authority, rather than Ofcom, the U.K. regulator has no power to block or ban them.

Freeview is owned by broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB and transmission company Arqiva.

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