Broadcast giants collaborate to restore public trust

Broadcasters have agreed to work together to restore public trust in the industry, following a summit held by media regulator Ofcom and the BBC Trust this week. The agreement follows allegations of television trickery and phone-in abuses which have led to fines from Ofcom and premium rate services regulator Icstis.

Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan, ITV executive chairman Michael Grade, 5 chief executive Jane Lighting and BBC director general Mark Thompson were among the broadcasters represented.

They have agreed to create a cross-industry group to “consider” common approaches to issues raised by the use of premium rate services in programmes. They will also overhaul contractual and compliance issues relating to premium rates phone services, bring together a common framework of principles and develop proposals for industry-wide training.

Ofcom chairman David Currie (pictured) says: “The issue of trust has been the dominant theme for the UK broadcasting sector in 2007. It is absolutely critical for viewers and the industry as a whole that broadcasters take the initiative to regain the trust of their audiences.” A meeting will be held next summer to review the actions agreed.

Broadcasters including ITV, BBC and Channel 4 were forced to pull premium services in spring amid allegations consumers were being ripped off. ITV called in Deloitte to review the broadcaster’s operations leading Grade to order a “tough” package of new measures last month.

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