A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jonathan Ross escapes prosecution?

I was not surprised by the furore over Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand. Both have a lavatorial sense of humour. In Brand's case, it is mixed with whatever the reverse of sexual innuendo is. That is not much of the innuendo more the sexual overtones.

I admit I watch Ross on his TV show. Not so much for him, but to see how he fares with the guests. Some he does better with. He has a good way with American actresses, who have probably been yearning to get out of the Hollywood and TV world of prissy pretention. With Ross they can get an hour's worth of therapy that they are being paid for rather than paying good money to some fake shrink in Los Angeles. Ross is entertaining and you know what you get. I know I can always switch off.

However, making rude suggestions and leaving them on an answering machine is somewhat different. I won't repeat all that has been said whilst I have been half-terming. But I did read an interesting point in the Guardian letters. Peter J Smith says that Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 would render a person liable to imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to level 5 on the standard scale, or to both for sending lewd messages to an answering machine or to someone in person. However, if someone sent offensive messages in the course of providing a programme service within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 1990 then they would not. Mr Smith asks a very pertinent question - "If the radio programme had not been broadcast, would the terms of section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 apply to the offensive messages?"

As the offending stunt was pre-recorded did some legal officer at the BBC fear that Ross and Brand could be prosecuted if the programme was no aired. If so, it is hard to see why they are in the frame when it is some faceless BBC bureacrat who may be hiding a guilty secret. After all, if it was not aired, would the possibility of two stars being prosecuted cause more anguish for the BBC? Who knows!

When the root-and-branch inquiry is conducted perhaps Mr.Smith's question could be the first to be put?


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