Ofcom and the paranormal

Exorcism, the occult and the paranormal
Extracts from Ofcom Broadcasting code (March 20130)
 

1.27 Demonstrations of exorcisms, occult practices and the paranormal (which purport to be real).

Must not be shown before the watershed (in the case of television) or when children are particularly likely to be listening (in the case of radio).  Paranormal practices which are for entertainment purposes must not be broadcast when significant numbers of children may be expected to be watching, or particularly likely to be listening (This rules does not apply to drama, film, or comedy). (See rules 2.6 in Section Two: Harm and Offence and Rule 4.7 in Section Four: Religion) 

 

4.7 Religious programmes that contain claims that a living person (or group) has special powers or abilities must treat such claims with due objectivity and must not broadcast such claims when significant numbers of children may be expected to be watching (in the case of television), or when children are particularly to be listening (in the case of radio) 

Exorcism, the occult and the paranormal
 

2.6 Demonstrations of exorcism, the occult, the paranormal, divination, or practices related to any of these that purport to be real (as opposed to entertainment) must be treated with due objectivity.  (See rule 1.27 in Section One: Protecting the Under Eighteens, concerning scheduling restrictions.) 

2.7 If a demonstration of exorcism, the occult, the paranormal, divination, or practices related to any of these is for entertainment purposes, this must be made clear to viewers and listeners. 

2.8 Demonstrations of exorcism, the occult, the paranormal, divination, or practices related to any of these (whether such demonstrations purport to be real or for entertainment purposes) must not contain any life changing advice directed at individuals.  (Religious programmes are exempt from this rule but must, in any event, comply with the provisions in Section Four: Religion. Films, dramas and fiction generally are not bound by this rule.)

Meaning of "life - changing". Life-changing advice includes direct advice for individuals upon which they could reasonably act or rely about health, finance, employment or relationships. Hypnotic and other techniques, simulated news and photosensitive epilepsy.

2.9 When broadcasting material featuring demonstrations of hypnosis techniques, broadcasters must exercise a proper degree of responsibility in order to prevent hypnosis and/or adverse reactions in viewers and listeners.  The hypnotist must be broadcast his/her full verbal routine or be shown performing straight to camera.

2.10 Simulated news (for example drama or in documentaries) must be broadcast in such a way that there is no reasonable possibility of the audience being misled into believing that they are listening to, or watching actual news.

2.11 Broadcasters must not use techniques, which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds without their being aware, or fully aware of what occurred. 

2.12 Television broadcasters must take precautions to maintain a low level of risk to viewers who have photosensitive epilepsy.  Where it is not reasonably practicable to follow the Ofcom guidance (see the Ofcom website), and where broadcasters can demonstrate that the broadcasting of flashing lights and/or patterns is editorially justified, viewers should be given adequate verbal and also, if appropriate, text warning at the start of the programme or programme item.