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Monday, January 11, 1999 Published at 14:11 GMT


Radio watchdog fines Evans

Evans: Warned about "a serious abuse of the airwaves"

Virgin Radio has been fined £10,000 after Chris Evans broadcast a photographer's mobile phone number and urged listeners to harass him.

It is the second highest penalty that the industry watchdog, the Radio Authority, has ever imposed.

Mr Evans, who owns Virgin Radio as well as presenting the breakfast show, gave out Mel Bouzad's number after he allegedly harassed Oasis singer Liam Gallagher.

Evans told his listeners to ring Bouzad and "hound him until he goes toes up".

The Radio Authority said: "The result was that the photographer claimed to have received over 700 calls, including death threats."

It said Evans's remarks constituted "a serious abuse of the airwaves and a breach of its Programme Code" on the privacy of individuals.

The statement said: "The Authority has warned Virgin that similar breaches in the future would result in a more severe penalty being imposed."

"The Authority does not condone the behaviour of any photographers who invade privacy, but it has no jurisdiction over any such allegations.

"However, to broadcast personal details about someone without prior permission, and to urge harassment, is a very serious matter."

A Virgin Radio spokeswoman said: "We accept the Radio Authority ruling."

The biggest fine imposed by the Radio Authority was £20,000 for taste and decency. That fine was also against Virgin Radio, but in 1994 when it was under different management.

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