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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 11:43 GMT
'Super-regulator' Ofcom launches
Ofcom graphic
Ofcom acts as a one-stop shop for media regulation
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom, which replaces five media watchdogs including the Independent Television Commission (ITC), was launched on Monday.

Ofcom is also replacing bodies such as the Broadcasting Standards Commission (BSC) and the Radio Authority.

It will also oversee telephone services in the UK as well as dealing with taste and decency matters on TV and radio.

Ofcom was created to make the UK's media regulations more streamlined and less cumbersome.

But there has already been criticism that the new body has too wide a brief.

"It's going to try and do all of those things, and they're rather different sort of functions," BBC media correspondent Torin Douglas told Radio 4's Today.

Douglas said it had been hoped Ofcom's creation would cut costs as well.

But it will cost 25% more to run than the existing five regulators, partly of the reason because of its setting-up costs, and partly because it has been given new powers.

Oliver complaint

"That means it's not going to be this lighter, meaner, leaner regulator, it's going to be a hefty regulator," Mr Douglas said.

Meanwhile it is reported the outgoing Broadcasting Standards Commission has given one of its stiffest penalties to TV chef Jamie Oliver's show Jamie's Kitchen because of swearing it said was offensive to Christians.

The commission upheld a complaint about the comment, and was reportedly angered after the channel ran the unedited episode again in a later time slot.

Channel 4 will now have to broadcast the commission's adjudication on air and have it published in a newspaper, the Daily Telegraph reported.

An Ofcom spokesperson was unable to confirm or deny the report.

Rory Cellan-Jones reports
" The powerful regulator will have to decide just how much it wants to flex it's muscles"

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