British radio stations are to be issued with new guidelines on avoiding the broadcast of sexually explicit lyrics when children might be listening.
Ofcom, the media regulator, says that there are already rules prohibiting such broadcasts but they will offer stronger guidance as part of a continuing campaign to protect children from inappropriate content in the media.
Representatives of commercial radio stations and members of the BBC’s editorial policy unit met with Ofcom last week to discuss the matter. It is understood that music aired on breakfast and drivetime shows that could be heard by children travelling to and from school is of particular concern.
A spokeswoman said: “Ofcom takes its role in protecting children from offensive language on the radio very seriously. We are concerned that there have been a number of recent cases where offensive language was broadcast, some at times when children were particularly likely to have been listening. That is why we held a meeting with the radio industry this week to discuss the issues. We intend to publish guidance by the end of the year to clarify the rules in the broadcasting code.”
A BBC spokesman said: “The BBC, along with all radio broadcasters, sent a representative to discuss the matter and, while we have had no complaints upheld for bad language for more than three years, we will work with Ofcom to ensure we continue to deal with language in a responsible way.”
The move follows last month’s similar issuing of stricter guidance to television broadcasters about enforcing the 9:00pm watershed.