Solent local channel breaches Ofcom rules again

Local TV channel That's Solent has been found in breach of Ofcom broadcasting rules yet again after it broadcast a news report that came across as an advert.

During Ofcom's routine monitoring of the output of the channel, which serves parts of the Southampton and Portsmouth area on Freeview channel 7, it noted an item in a news bulletin about a taxi company called Cab My Ride, which had developed a booking application for mobile devices in partnership with the University of Southampton.

The nearly five minute item showed repeated footage of taxis with branding for the company, including its telephone number. At various points, information about where the app could be downloaded was also visible, as well as slogans giving details of the service provided. A one-sided interview with the taxi company's customer experience rep provided a further plug for the service.

Despite That's Solent defending the report, describing the reporter on the item  as “an experienced journalist familiar with Ofcom guidelines" and maintaining that there was “clear editorial justification” for “report[ing] on an innovative app developed over an extended period” like Cab My Ride, Ofcom ruled that the local channel had breached rules over the promotion of products, services and trade marks and undue prominence.

Last month, Ofcom found That's Solent guilty of breaching rules after showing a graphic murder scene featuring a woman being stabbed 17 times at 7:20pm. It also criticised the poor technical quality of output on the channel.

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