We aim to provide challenging, distinctive, quality programmes to serve our audiences and are constantly looking for new ways in which to inform and entertain viewers. Inevitably, therefore, some of our programmes will deal with controversial subjects which may not be to the tastes of all viewers and may cause offence to some members of the audience.
The Ofcom Broadcasting Code (the Code) is designed to ensure that generally accepted standards are upheld in television programmes in order to protect members of the public from harmful or offensive material. Section 1 of the Code deals specifically with protecting under 18s, whilst Section 2 deals with issues of "harm and offence" generally. Since these two sections of the Code must be read together, they have been combined in this Handbook into one chapter, although the rules relating to the protection of under 18s are highlighted at the start.
As a responsible broadcaster, we seek to follow the principles and comply with the rules in the Code and the key to this is considering and managing audiences' expectations. This includes scheduling material responsibly, providing viewers with information through warnings and 'flaggings', and ensuring that the broadcast of challenging and potentially offensive material can be justified in its context.