British Media Regulator Tightens Rules on Sexual Content for Telecasts Before 9 P.M.

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The ruling was prompted in part by raunchy performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera on last year's "X Factor" final.

LONDON -- Britain's media regulator has tightened regulations on sexual content and barely-there clothing in pre-9 p.m. broadcasts, after warnings that sexualized content is damaging children.

The regulator has warned broadcasters that they have a duty not to broadcast material that is unsuitable to children.

The ruling was prompted after thousands of complaints about unsuitable performances by Rihanna and Christina Aguilera on last year's X Factor  final. Music videos from 50 Cent had also overstepped the mark, the regulator said.

"While Ofcom acknowledges these programs are not made for children, they nevertheless tend to attract a significant child audience and therefore broadcasters should ensure that the content is suitable for family viewing.

After conducting independent research on the effects of sexualization in the wake of the complaints, Ofcom found that more than a third of parents and children surveyed felt they had been exposed to unsuitable content before the watershed.

The regulator has made around a dozen warnings or rulings against channels in the last year for showing content that falls outside the spirit of the existing regulations.

Ofcom has now told broadcasters that it will not tolerate breaches of the code following the renewed warning.

"It is important to note that in pre-watershed content, Ofcom would not expect to see singers and dancers wearing clothing that does not adequately cover their bodies, in particular their breasts, genital area and buttocks," Ofcom said.

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