This morning I received the following letter from Ofcom.
George Lamb, BBC 6music, Ray Davies guest
Thank you for contacting Ofcom about the above programme. We understand you were concerned by the treatment of Ray Davies during a telephone interview in the show, and subsequent comments about him when he terminated the call.
Firstly, in terms of the treatment of Ray Davies himself, he is a consenting adult who had actively agreed to take part in the programme. The majority of adults can make informed judgements about participating in such programmes and it is not for Ofcom (or the general public) to make that decision for them. People who participate in programmes (and others directly affected by a programme) do have recourse, if they consider that they have been treated unfairly in a programme of their privacy has been infringed without justification, to complain to Ofcom.
In the course of considering such complaints (i.e. those brought by the participant him/herself), Ofcom may consider the circumstances surrounding the complainant's agreement to participate. However, the legislation in terms of the area of fairness and privacy does not permit Ofcom to consider complaints made by the general public on behalf of participants in programmes. We are therefore not able to consider complaints made by members of the public relating to Ray Davies' treatment in the programme.
Subject to the restrictions outlined above, it is still open to Ofcom, if it considers it appropriate, to consider complaints from viewers concerning issues of general harm and offence under Rule 2.3 of the Broadcasting Code which concerns generally accepted standards. In applying generally accepted standards, the Code directs broadcasters to ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context. Context includes but is not limited to:
- the editorial content of the programme
- the service on which the material is broadcast
- the degree of harm or offence likely to be caused
- the likely expectation of the audience
We acknowledge some listeners may have found the treatment of Ray Davies in poor taste, and perhaps of a juvenile nature. However, the comments were directed at Mr Davies specifically rather than any other section of society generally, and, notwithstanding any complaint from Mr Davies directly, we do not judge that this went so far as to be at odds with our rules or general listeners' expectations of this show, which has an established reputation for irreverent and anarchic humour. In our view there was no breach of generally accepted standards and of Rule 2.3 in this case.
While we don't have grounds to uphold your complaint on this occasion, if you have not done so already and wish to give your feedback to the BBC directly, their details are as follows: