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SBD Global/May 7, 2014/Media

Fans' Foul Language Forces BT Sport To Halt Interviews Outside Grounds

BT Sport "has been forced to abandon post-match interviews outside football grounds after a live broadcast was repeatedly interrupted by foul language from chanting Arsenal fans," according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. Presenter Jake Humphrey "had to apologise to viewers" after eight clearly audible instances of the word "f***ing" were broadcast as he attempted to discuss Arsenal's 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool on Feb. 16. The company's outside broadcast interviews "were seen as an attempt to differentiate itself from Sky, which has broadcast live Premier League action since its launch 20 years ago." But following the incident, which breached broadcasting regulations, BT Sport said that "it would no longer broadcast post-match analysis from outside grounds" (GUARDIAN, 5/6). In London, Mike Dawes reported they "have decided only to broadcast from outside the grounds at matches where the risk of foul and abusive language is 'significantly reduced' after being summoned by watchdog Ofcom." The regulator said the Arsenal broadcast was a "'clear example of the most offensive language being broadcast before the watershed' and that BT Sport had chosen a location where there was a 'strong likelihood'" of such language being used (DAILY MAIL, 5/6). In response to the criticism, BT Sport insisted it undertakes a "full risk assessment" before broadcasts, but "had limited options to cut away from the chanting because no commentators or pundits were available" (London DAILY MIRROR, 5/6). Ofcom acknowledged that Humphrey "apologised as soon as possible" and said BT, which was involved in a similar case last year, would be asked to "a meeting to discuss its compliance arrangements" (PA, 5/6).
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