The BBC has been fined a total of £400,000, a record amount for the BBC by Ofcom for fakery of which Beijing Olympic organisers would be proud.
The corporation, say Ofcom, deceived its audience by faking winners of competitions and deliberately conducting competitions unfairly, specifically by having them pre-recorded and presented as live. Affected programmes included Comic Relief in March 2007 (£45,000 fine), Sport Relief in July 2006 (£45,000 fine) and Children in Need in November 2005 (£35,000 fine). The BBC has reportedly put in place integrity training for its 19,000 staff though it is not known whether directors and presenters are required to attend.
Earlier this year in May, ITV were fined over £5 million for abusing premium rate callers who were overcharged a total of £7.8 million in trying to win competitions that had already been finalised. Ofcom, who could have fined ITV £30 million (5% of its qualifying ad revenue) ordered ITV to pay back the £7.8 million but so far only £10,000 has been reclaimed. The balance will be going to charities selected by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF). The fine of £5 million mostly applied to programmes fronted by presenters Ant and Dec, who have stated that they were unaware of what was going on.
In September last year GMTV was fined £2 million for abuse of premium rate callers.