Subliminal broadcasts

The request was partially successful.

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please inform me of any subliminal broadcasts transmitted on any of
your television or radio channels, with dates and times.

Please inform me of the shortest permissible video sequence
duration allowable within any television broadcast.

Yours faithfully,

P Foomer

# FOI Admin, Channel Four Television Corporation

Our Ref: FOI/2009/71

Dear Mr Foomer,

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, which we received on May 27th 2009. In your request,
you asked us:

"Please inform me of any subliminal broadcasts transmitted on any of your
television or radio channels, with dates and times. Please inform me of
the shortest permissible video sequence duration allowable within any
television broadcast".

We are dealing with your request under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and we will reply to you within 20 working days of
our receipt of your request. In some circumstances a fee may be payable
and if that is the case, we will let you know the likely charges before
proceeding.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact us.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Admin Team

Channel 4

[1][Channel 4 request email]

Tel + 44 (0) 20 7306 8777

Fax + 44 (0) 20 7306 8351

[2]www.channel4.com

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1. mailto:[Channel 4 request email]
2. http://www.channel4.com/
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Dear # FOI Admin,

This request is currently overdue a response from Channel 4.

By law, the response has to be answered by no later than 24 June 2009.

Under the Freedom of Information Act Channel 4 should have replied by now, and are breaking the law.

Yours sincerely,

P Foomer

# FOI Admin, Channel Four Television Corporation

Our Ref: FOI/2009/71

Dear Mr Foomer,

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 ("the Act"), which we received on May 27th 2009. We
apologise for the brief delay in providing our response to you. In your
request, you asked us to detail any instances of subliminal transmissions
and rules relating to the shortest permissible sequence of video.

Please note that the Ofcom Broadcasting code; under rule 2.12, prohibits
the use of hidden messages:

"Broadcasters must not use techniques which exploit the possibility of
conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing
their minds without their being aware or fully aware, of what has
occurred."

You can view this section of the broadcasting code by following this link:

[1]http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/bco...

Furthermore, in its guidance relating to rule 2.12 of the Broadcasting
Code, Ofcom states:

"If an image (however brief) can be seen by viewers then it is not
subliminal."

You can read this section of Ofcom's guidance by following this link:

[2]http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/guidance/...

Because the information you requested is related to our programmes, it
falls outside the remit of the Act pursuant to the Creative Output
Exclusion (Schedule I Part VI of the Act). This means that under the
terms of the Act, we are not obliged to provide you with any of the
information requested.

However, in the interests of openness and without prejudice to our
position that this information is outside the scope of the Act, we can
confirm, that Channel 4 has, in its 26 year history, been involved in two
incidents in respect of hidden messages both of which were reported in the
press at the time.

The first incident occurred in as part of a programme called Eurotrash,
which was made for Channel 4 by a production company called Rapido, on
June 2nd 1995. This consisted of a single frame portraying a sexually
explicit image.

The second incident was transmitted as part of a programme called Brass
Eye, which was made by a production company called Talkback, on March 5^th
1997. This transmission consisted of a single frame using derogatory
language about the then Channel 4 Chief Executive, Michael Grade.

We can confirm that each incident was fully investigated by Channel 4 and
reported to the then regulator, the ITC. In the case of Eurotrash, the
hidden message was caused by a technical error by the production company
and in the case of Brass Eye was found to have been inserted deliberately
by the presenter Chris Morris. Channel 4 was found to have had no prior
knowledge of either incident which was beyond its control.

Many thanks for your interest in Channel 4.

Yours sincerely,

FOI Admin Team

Channel 4

[3][Channel 4 request email]

Tel + 44 (0) 20 7306 8777

Fax + 44 (0) 20 7306 8351

[4]www.channel4.com

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1. http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/codes/bco...
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http://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv/ifi/guidance/...
3. mailto:[Channel 4 request email]
mailto:[Channel 4 request email]
4. http://www.channel4.com/
http://www.channel4.com/
5. mailto:[email address]

P Foomer left an annotation ()

Nice to see at least one broadcaster being a bit more open re this subject.

Mai left an annotation ()

Hi, I watched Derren Brown & David Blaine on channel 4 tonight (sept 11 2009) and throughout their shows there were no less than 7 'flashes' of images on the screens. Like you I have written a request to channel 4 asking what they are and why they are doing it. I know they told you that it is legal to show the images no matter how brief as long as they could be seen. The problem I have with this is I could see them all but my partner sat next to me could not. So really if he cant see them (he has no problem with his eyesight etc) then would that make it illegal as only some people could see them? I am awaiting a response from channel 4. It really worries me that companies are still putting out subliminal messages, especially such a large, well established broadcaster like channel 4. Thanks for uploading your messages, they were very helpful. Thanks, Mai

Stuart left an annotation ()

"Visible" messages (consisting of a white flash and unreadable content have been used throughout the current Channel 4 series of Peep Show. They were also "visible" during the Channel 4 screening of The Truman Show this evening.

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