The Governors' Programme Complaints Committee (GPCC) has today published
its finding after considering complaints received against the broadcast
of Jerry Springer - The Opera.
The Committee, which met on Thursday 17 March, decided by a majority
of four to one not to uphold complaints against the BBC's decision to
broadcast the opera and found that BBC management's decision to broadcast
Jerry Springer - The Opera was not in breach of the relevant editorial
standards, codes and guidelines.
The majority view of the Committee was that:
The offence - particularly the offence to religious beliefs - caused
to sizeable numbers of people should not be underestimated or taken
Reasonable and comprehensive attempts were made to minimise offence
through appropriate scheduling, clear warnings, and the use of other
programmes prior to the broadcast to set the piece in context
The BBC is committed to freedom of expression and has a duty to innovate,
to reflect new and challenging ideas and to make available to its audiences
work of outstanding artistic significance
In all the circumstances, the outstanding artistic significance of the
programme outweighed the offence which it caused to some viewers and
so the broadcasting of the programme was justified.
Richard Tait, Chairman of the GPCC, said: "The Governors' Programme
Complaints Committee is required to consider whether transmitted programmes
have met the requirements of relevant editorial standards, codes and
"Each of us as members of the GPCC approaches these considerations
with an open mind and I am grateful to my colleagues for their contribution
to a thorough process conducted with integrity.
"As a Committee all of us are satisfied that we addressed the
issues raised by the many people who contacted the BBC both before and
following transmission of Jerry Springer - The Opera and gave each due
consideration before reaching our judgement."
Notes to Editors
1. The following Governors are members of the GPCC:
Richard Tait (Chairman)
2. The GPCC's remit can be accessed via bbc.co.uk/complaints
3. The BBC received around 55,000 complaints about Jerry Springer - The Opera prior to broadcast (including emails and telephone contacts)
and approximately 8,000 complaints following transmission.
The BBC received a total of approximately 2,200 supportive messages.