Where time stands still

Is there something in the water supply, or are all tabloid journos thick? It’s sloppy journalism time again, because the subeditor who wrote the headline for  this story seems to think that what’s on the Net should comply with the BBC’s 9 p.m. watershed if it’s from the BBC. Er, isn’t he or she missing something?

The row is over the BBC’s iPlayer, which allows you to see programmes again. But what upsets the Daily Mail, a Tory MP and Mediawatch-UK‘s  John Beyer is that young people can have access to it.

The Mail‘s headline screams, “How the BBC’s iPlayer is making a mockery of the 9pm watershed by making explicit material available 24 hours a day”, yet neither of its two interviewees makes any reference to the watershed, just to the availability generally of material to young people.

However, let’s put journalistic tidiness aside for a moment. The BBC iPlayer is available 24 hours a day because it’s on the Internet, and the Internet is available throughout the world, throughout all time zones. Is the Mail really suggesting that the BBC block access to the iPlayer until nine o’clock in the evening here in Blighty, denying its use to, say, New Yorkers from around 6 p.m. and those in Los Angeles from the middle of the afternoon?

To illustrate its story, the Daily Mail prints a picture of a leggy bit of female totty from the programme Glamour Girls, looking provocatively gorgeous in the sort of swimwear we feature in our earlier story about billboards in Brum. Oh, but of course, the paper has a childproof lock on it. How silly of us to forget that! Children can’t pick up the Daily Mail without their parents’ knowledge.

A Beeb spokesman brings some common sense to bear on the issue: “The BBC takes its responsibility to enable parents or guardians to protect younger viewers from unsuitable BBC content on its websites very seriously and provides a number of tools to do this.

“For example, BBC iPlayer clearly labels programmes which may be unsuitable for young audiences. A lock system allows parents or guardians to prevent younger viewers from watching guidance-rated programmes unless they have a password. Setting up these systems is optional but they can be easily activated at any time.”

All sorted, then.

11 Responses to “Where time stands still”

  1. marc draco says:

    Let’s not forget there’s no watershed on the Sun, the Star (or, heaven forbid) the Daily Sport. Eeek!

  2. Jono says:

    Now can write a story that recognises that the iPlayer isn’t available outside the UK – the BBC checks your IP address to make sure your ISP is in the UK before allowing you to view stuff on the iPlayer.

    That isn’t to say that I in any way support the Mail’s position – I rather think the BBC has the correct view on this. It is gratifying to see that those commenting on the Mail article think it is wrong on this as well. (Though I suspect that might be partly down to the reverse Comment is Free effect – if The Guardian website attracts those who would never touch the paper to its comments, the Mail might do likewise)

  3. Ken says:

    Yes, all tabloid journos are thick, like the people who read their ‘comics’….

  4. Andy Armitage says:

    I wasn’t aware of that, Jono, not having used the iPlayer. And thanks for your observation. It would still be a very impractical suggestion on the Mail‘s part, since most people are watching the telly in the evenings, not their computers; and then, of course, there must be be many other video outlets (YouTube being but one) that are there 24/7, no matter where you are on God’s good earth.

  5. mauvedeity says:

    Er, the BBC iPlayer isn’t available across the rest of the world. You can only use it, so I’m told, if you’re coming from a UK IP address. So therefore your point about cutting off access at 9 PM local time denying people in the rest of the world is wrong.

    On the other hand, I agree with the rest. Keep up the good work!

  6. ian says:

    I can say from personal experience that someone sitting at a PC isn’t going to be looking to the BBC iPlayer for some one handed browsing material…

  7. Aharon says:

    how do they know how to rate stuff anyway? do they ask like a 10 year old, that passed some rigorous personality tests that ensure s/he is representative of all 10 year olds – to sit and watch a show, then if the 10 year old goes mad, its clearly unsuitable for that age?
    Or are they using some sort of tried and tested methods of prejudice?

  8. Stuart says:

    If a child is on the internet unmonitored, then them seeing an episode of Graham Norton is the least of teh parents worries!

    BTW those of us with cable have had these programmes on-demand for several years, anything post watershed is pin protected before 9 – works quiet well

  9. Dan Factor says:

    The Daily Mail, Mediawatch UK and Tory MPs have an agenda against the BBC so they will leap upon anything which shows the BBC in a negative light to further that agenda.
    To them the BBC is a “lefty librel politically correct” organisation which is “exposing our righteous Christian children” to “pornography” and “filth”.

  10. Phil says:

    Just wait until they hear about video recorders. *shiver*

  11. tom p says:

    Interestingly, and very unusually for the hate mail, all of the comments except for teh ones from anti-bbc loonies, are criticising this article. Perhaps it’s ‘cos they’re coming at it from a “If parents let their kids watch such things then they are bad” stance.