Culture, Media and Sport Committee

Session 2006-07, 29 March 2007

Fourth Report

Call TV quiz shows: Joint response from Ofcom and ICSTIS to the Committee's Third Report of Session 2006-07

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee today publishes its Fourth Report, Call TV quiz shows: Joint response from Ofcom and ICSTIS to the Committee's Third Report of Session 2006-07 (HC 428). 

On 25 January 2007, the Committee published its Third Report of Session 2006-07, on Call TV Quiz Shows.  Since then, there has been a succession of revelations of further abuses, both by dedicated TV quiz shows and by premium rate telephone competitions within mainstream television shows. This reinforces the Committee's decision to examine the subject and their view that stronger consumer protection is required.  The Committee welcomes the fact that stronger protection is being put  in place, while regretting that it has taken so long.

John Whittingdale, Chairman of the Culture Media and Sport Committee, said:

"When we decided to conduct this inquiry, we had little idea of the extent of abuse that would be subsequently revealed. The revelations of misleading and, in some cases fraudulent, practices on programmes aired by all of the terrestrial analogue broadcasters has been truly shocking. Had the Committee not conducted its inquiry, these might have remained uncovered.

While we welcome the steps which Ofcom and ICSTIS are now taking to improve protection for consumers, we remain astonished that such practices were so pervasive and were able to continue for so long. We sincerely hope that the measures announced by ICSTIS since publication of the Committee's report will engender better practice by producers and broadcasters in future and will not hesitate to revisit this if there is evidence of continuing abuse."

Rosemary McKenna, member of the Committee said:

"Viewers' faith in programmes they trusted and enjoyed has been severely damaged by abuse I could not have imagined when I suggested this inquiry to the Committee. While I am heartened by the rapid response of the broadcasters and promise of better regulation from ICSTIS and Ofcom, it is going to take some time and considerable work to restore viewers' confidence.''