Bulgaria’s media watchdog to discuss late-night porn shows with Prosecutor-General

Written by on June 20, 2012 in Bulgaria, News - No comments
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The Council for Electronic Media, the statutory body that oversees Bulgaria’s broadcast media, has asked for a meeting with the Prosecutor-General to discuss legal issues around late-night pornographic shows on television in the country.

The request was made after a written complaint was made to the council, reportedly from someone whose four-year-old daughter woke up late at night, switched on the television and saw one of the porn channels. The child is reported to be seriously traumatised.

According to a report in Bulgarian-language mass-circulation daily Trud, the Council for Electronic Media wants to discuss with Prosecutor-General Boris Velchev whether Penal Code provisions against the distribution of pornography apply to the porn channels.

In Bulgaria, several cable television providers offer channels such as Private Spice.

The complication is that such channels are broadcast via transmitters outside Bulgarian territory and it is difficult to establish under whose jurisdiction they fall, Trud quoted the Council for Electronic Media as saying. However, part of the issue is that the channels are shown because cable and satellite television operators in Bulgaria have contracts with them.

Viewership ratings agencies are not able to say just how many people watch the porn channels in Bulgaria because, reportedly, the channels have not signed up to have their audiences counted.

However, unofficial information is that viewers stay on such channels for very brief periods of time – a fraction of the amount of the time that viewership ratings agencies claim that people spend watching what is said to be the most-watched channel, bTV.

According to Trud, Council for Electronic Media head Georgi Lozanov said that it would “archaic” to remove porn channels altogether but access to them should be limited.

The report said that currently, there were two ways to limit access, through PIN codes on the cards that give access to digital TV, and the other is for subscribers to input passwords on their digital receivers.

However, there was one channel in an analogue packaged that showed “adult content” after midnight and this could not be blocked digitally, the report said.

(Photo: gamal abdalla/sxc.hu)

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