Britain Relaxing Broadcast Rules On Indecent Speech
The British public has become "more willing to tolerate mild swearing and offensive language" on television any time during the day before 9 00 p.m., but several words, including the notorious f- and c-words should only be used after the watershed hour, the media watchdog OFCOM said today (Thursday). OFCOM said that it had commissioned research intended to provide "a barometer of potentially offensive terms" to broadcast producers and staff. It indicated that most British viewers were "relaxed" about terms that are generally barred in the U.S. being used after 9 00 p.m. -- and are even willing to hear them earlier. In the U.S. the watershed hour is 10 00 p.m., but many programs broadcast on the east and west coasts at 10 00 p.m. air in the central time zone at 9 00, virtually barring objectionable language from being broadcast during primetime (8 00 p.m. to 11 00 p.m.). The new rules would allow such previously unacceptable terms as Jesus Christ (as an exclamation), lezza, poof, and queer to be used at any time, prompting the gay rights group Stonewall to warn that they could result in "inappropriate language being given license by broadcasters."