UK regulator chides CNN International for sponsorship of "Inside Africa."

Posted: 23 Feb 2010   Print   Send a link
"CNN International has been criticised by Ofcom [UK regulator] after it broke UK broadcasting rules by accepting sponsorship for one of its current affairs shows. A viewer complained to the broadcasting watchdog that the 29 September edition of CNN International’s show, Inside Africa, breached regulations as it was sponsored by Zenith Bank. ... According to Ofcom, sponsorship of current affairs programming is outlawed in the UK to 'support the important principle that news and current affairs must be reported with due accuracy and presented with due impartiality.' ... Ofcom said today that Turner had reminded the editorial team responsible for the Inside Africa programme of the relevant rules in relation to sponsorship and that it 'intends to retrain all relevant members of staff including those based in Africa'. Turner told Ofcom CNN’s lead producer would also be relocated from the network’s headquarters in Atlanta to Johannesburg to 'help to ensure the show stays true to its editorial mission as...feature programming focussing on African culture'." Oliver Luft, PressGazette, 22 February 2010. Something is missing here. CNN's remedy seems to have more to do with changing the nature of the program than eliminating the sponsorship. In Europe, I think the principle is that commercials occur in a block between programs, rather than a program being associated with a certain advertiser. (For example, Ofcom would have taken a dim view of John Cameron Swayze's "Camel News Caravan," on NBC, 1949-1956.)
     "And all because of a single complaint!" Chris Forrester, Rapid TV News, 23 February 2010.