U.K.'s Five hit with record fine


In a ruling that could have major implications for other U.K. broadcasters caught up in the participation TV scandal here, media regulator Ofcom has imposed on the Five channel its highest-ever fine for a terrestrial channel for its role in the controversy (HR 6/27).

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said last week that the regulator took the issue seriously and warned that other broadcasters could end up in the firing line.

"We take these issues extremely seriously and will not hesitate to protect viewers' interests. Every broadcaster needs to take very careful note of this decision," he said.

Five has been fined £300,000 ($599,670) for repeated breaches of the broadcasting code relating to its show "Brainteaser," produced by Endemol U.K. subsidiary Cheetah TV.

Ofcom is investigating 20 other complaints against U.K. terrestrial broadcasters charged with misleading viewers participating in onscreen competitions.