Producers Handbook

The Obscene Publications Act 1959

The Obscene Publications Act 1959 applies to television and covers material which is obscene, whether it is in a person's possession or it is published or broadcast. The definition of obscene is "likely to deprave and corrupt" the audience for which it is intended and includes not only sexually explicit material but material relating to violence and drug taking. This offence is more likely to apply to research material than material actually transmitted because of the stricter tests relating to harm and offence under the Communications Act 2003 and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.