A warning to Subtv because of the TV programme Big Brother

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 16.12.2008 10.30
Press release


The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority has stated that the television broadcaster Subtv Oy has violated the Act on Television and Radio Operations. The material broadcast in the Big Brother Game programme in September was deemed to be inappropriate for an early afternoon show.

After a viewer complaint the Ministry of Transport and Communications requested the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority, FICORA, to investigate the episode aired that day.

On the basis of the picture material and a written report submitted to FICORA it deemed that Subtv Oy had violated the Act on Television and Radio Operations by transmitting content inappropriate for children on 4 September at 14.30-15.30.

The Act on Television and Radio Operations defines four watersheds including age limits. Programmes that may be harmful for children under 11 may not be broadcast on weekdays before 17.00. The 19.00 watershed is used for distinguishing programmes intended for audience under 13, the 21.00 watershed for audience under 15, and the 23.00 watershed for audience under 18. Programmes including pornographic content may not be broadcast before 24.00.

FICORA issued a warning to Subtv Oy for violating this provision of the Act. The broadcaster admitted that it had acted against the law. FICORA calls on Subtv Oy to ensure that no content inappropriate for children be broadcast against the requirements of the watersheds referred to in the Act.

Minister Lindén: The broadcasters must recognise their responsibility

Ms Suvi Lindén, Finland's Minister of Communications, is pleased that FICORA has taken action against illegal content.

"Television broadcasters must be very careful not to broadcast any content or picture material detrimental to the development of children and young people at times when they are likely to watch television programmes", Minister Lindén said. "The broadcasters must recognise their responsibility and I hope that the decision made will encourage them to self-criticism."

"People have sent me a lot of comments and feedback about the Big Brother show in particular, and I believe that it is very important that action is taken against inappropriate content.", she said

Earlier this autumn Minister Lindén and the television broadcasters discussed the application of watersheds to pay television too. Currently, the pay-TV operators are not required to apply them.

The broadcasters took a positive view of the matter regarding their own programme production. Minister Lindén hopes to see further visible measures from the operators.

Further information:

Mr Aleksi Randell, Special Adviser to the Minister of Communications, tel. +358 9 160 28324, +358 400 500 822
Ms Henna Hartikainen, Legal Counsel, FICORA, tel. +358 9 6966 765
Ms Kirsi Miettinen, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 9 160 28570, +358 400 719 629