Go-ahead given for TV cash donations

THE financial viability of certain, specialist types of TV channel – such as those involved in religious and minority ethnic programming – could be more assured, following a decision by broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, to allow direct appeals for donations from viewers.

Until now, only radio stations were allowed to ask for money, but, yesterday, Ofcom moved to include TV licensees, so long as they operate by strict guidelines to ensure donations are not mis-spent and that ‘vulnerable’ viewers are not exploited. Ensuring editorial independence is another requirement.

It follows consultation begun in April.

Broadcasters will now be required to keep accurate records of donations received, keep accurate records of how such donations are spent, make such records available to Ofcom upon request, and adhere to rules governing undue prominence of products and services and editorial independence when airing acknowledgments for donations.

Says Ofcom: “Additionally, broadcasters must not exploit vulnerable viewers, create unrealistic expectations about what donations can achieve, or try to use appeals for donations as a way of avoiding rules prohibiting political advertising and sponsorship.”