BBC fined for mishandled quiz shows

Ofcom fines pubcaster for 'very serious' offenses

LONDON -- The BBC reiterated its pledge to rebuild viewer trust Wednesday in the wake of a 400,000 pound ($792,000) fine levied by media regulator Ofcom. The fine covers a slew of "very serious" offenses relating to the mishandling of quiz shows on radio and television last year.

The pubcaster, which last year was 50,000 pounds for faking competitions on children's show "Blue Peter," was slammed by the watchdog and fined the record fee for eight separate programs that had deceived viewers on a multitude of occasions.

"In each of these cases, the BBC deceived its audience by faking winners of competitions and deliberately conducting competitions unfairly," Ofcom said, adding that its investigations had found that "in some cases, the production team had taken pre-mediated decisions to broadcast competitions and encourage listeners to enter in the full knowledge that the audience stood no chance of winning."

Ofcom found that BBC bosses had "failed to have adequate management oversight of its compliance and training procedures to ensure that the audience was not misled."

In statement, the BBC said it takes the issues "extremely seriously" and has undertaken a comprehensive retraining program for all 19,000 of its staffers.