Net taking steps to prevent future breaches

MTV Networks Europe has been fined a total of £255,000 ($484,500) by U.K. media regulator Ofcom for “widespread and persistent” breaches of its broadcasting code by four of its channels.

The Viacom-owned operator will have to pay the following penalties: TMF £80,000 ($152,000), MTV France £35,000 ($66,500), MTV UK £80,000 ($152,000) and MTV Hits £60,000 ($114,000).

The “highly offensive language and material” was broadcast before the 9pm family-viewing watershed.

Auds complained about a number of shows. They included: repeated use of the words “motherfucker”, “fuck you” and “fuck” in a music video by Aphex Twin for the song “Windowlicker” on TMF, and racist and homophobic text messages aired by MTV France in “Belge Chat.”

Additionally TMF screened a trailer for the reality skein “Totally Jodie Marsh” on seven occasions between 9.48am and 3.15pm on July 24 last year containing the sentence: “I just don’t want you settling down with some fucking wanker from a modeling agency.”

Other breaches identified by Ofcom included a 4.30pm broadcast of MTV UK show “Totally Boyband” in 2006 featuring “extensive offensive language.”

In a statement the regulator said: “Ofcom concluded that this material was not justified by the context of broadcasts that were likely to appeal to children and that the likely audience would have expected to have been protected from the most offensive language and material in such programming.”

A spokesman for MTV said: “MTV Networks Europe takes this sanction and fine very seriously and has taken a series of steps to minimize as much as possible any breaches in the future.

“These include strengthening procedures regarding programs for pre-watershed broadcast, reviewing MTV’s archive programming, increasing the number of staff involved in compliance and investing in a new channel management system.”

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