Material on pornographic TV station 'illegal'

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The Independent Online
MANY SCENES shown on the Red Hot Dutch pornographic satellite channel are illegal under British law, according to the Broadcasting Standards Council, which is seeking to have the channel banned in Britain.

The council yesterday published its report to Peter Brooke, Secretary of State for National Heritage, and said the explicit nature of scenes in the films shown on the channel would be rejected if submitted to the British Board of Film Classification.

The channel shows sexual practices which if carried out in this country would be illegal under the Sexual Offences act and would, if published, be liable to prosecution under the Obscene Publications Act.

Mark Garner, who runs Red Hot Dutch from Manchester said about 1,000 people a week were signing up for the channel. He said the material for the programmes was largely bought in the US, then re-edited in the Netherlands.

The BSC report says the channel broadcasts films showing 'explicit sex between males and females, including oral sex between males and females, close-up shots of penetration and ejaculation . . . group heterosexual and lesbian orgies are commonplace . . .

'There is an association between aggression and some of the sexual action. Women are frequently shown in degrading and humiliating circumstances, but for both sexes it could be considered dehumanising. The channel is now inviting viewers to submit their own pornographic videos to an address in Holland.'

It says that the channel represents a significant threat to the orderly regulation of broadcasting, since other pornographic channels could also follow suit. It also highlights the risk to children should video recordings of the output, screened between midnight and 3am, fall into their hands.

The Independent Television Commission said yesterday that it had also reached the view, independently of the BSC, that Red Hot Dutch should not be allowed to broadcast and breached Article 177 of the 1990 Broadcasting Act. However, the Department of Heritage appears to be hamstrung by the wording of the European directive on transfrontier broadcasting, under which it is the country broadcasting the channel which decides what is acceptable. Red Hot Dutch is broadcast from Denmark, though the company which owns it is British-based and backed by a group of European investors.

Mr Garner said it had 25,000 subscribers in Germany, about 20,000 in Britain and about 1,000 so far in France. It started selling in Germany in June, Britain in July and France in November.

It intends to expand its output from three to six nights a week. The company is also planning to start another channel, Hobby Television, concentrating on subjects such as cookery and fishing.