The Office of Communications ( Ofcom ) is the UK media regulatory body. It was founded as a " higher authority " for the new requirements by the increasing overlap of the various mass media in 2002 by the Office of Communications Act. She received full authority by the Communications Act of 2003. On 29 December 2003, Ofcom were assigned the tasks that were previously the responsibility of five other supervisors. The seat of authority is in London.


The purpose of the Authority is according to its statutes, to serve the interests of citizens and consumers by promoting competition and protects consumers from damage caused by abusive or offensive material.

The main duties of Ofcom includes licensing, research, create rules, the processing of complaints and the observation of the competition. Typical of Ofcom are surveys that are published on their websites and may also enter into the decision.

Foundations, structure and financing

The idea of ​​Ofcom differs from the model of the German state media authorities, especially by a strong practical orientation and a total economic orientation. Ofcom regulates in principle reserved and confide to market forces. For the same reason, it is technology neutral and is only where the competition a politically desired result missed obvious. With regard to the European market ( " Television without Frontiers" Directive), the Ofcom relies on greater self- control of the audience and keeps fully in matters of advertising guidelines to the specifications from Brussels.

Ofcom also protect the media users, citizens and consumers. It is an independent Appeal for viewers and listeners. It is based on the " Broadcasting Code ," in which the rules of media working for all TV and radio stations of Great Britain are committed. Proven Violations can be fined. In June 2008, it ranked as the radio provider GCap - claims to be the UK's largest commercial radio providers - with a record fine of 1.1 million pounds. Ofcom had demonstrated with unprecedented tenacity, the GCap stations had cheated in radio contests.

As media regulator Ofcom, according to Tim Suter, a member of the Executive Committee of the British regulatory authority, not on internal pluralism, drawing on a wide range of suppliers. A major difference is the lack of federal structures as they existed in Germany. " I find it hard to understand, is how to regulate broadcasting only on a regional level," Suter said in early April 2006 at a colloquium at the Berlin Institute for Media and Communication Policy ( IfM). "If television can be received with cable or satellite everywhere, one should settle regulation at the highest possible level. With us it works very well on a national level. "That's why the federal regulatory model in Germany is obsolete in the opinion of Ofcom Board Suter in essential points.

The UK regulatory loud Suter have already overcome many of the in Germany still unsolved problems, which is why the English market technologically and economically was second at the forefront in European comparison. For the British economy, it had been worth it, five regulators - including the Office of Telecommunications ( Oftel, the telecommunications regulation ), the Broadcasting Standards Council ( program complaints ) and the Independent Television Commission (ITC, private television ) - to join as Ofcom. " Our philosophy is competition," Suter explained in the IfM conversation: "We want that the market regulates itself, insofar as this is possible. Where the market has to offer no solutions, we come into play. "

A special role in regulatory issues, however, has held the BBC. She pushed back the its intended external regulation: Ofcom here only monitors the demands on the BBC for the protection of consumers and the quotations for securing creative diversity; Furthermore, the BBC receives from Ofcom notes to its annual program reports, which serve as the basis for, among other things planned for 2007 new BBC Charter.

Ofcom has helped that Britain has its media law changed in favor of the producers: The rights for films and documentaries generally remain with the authors and do not go automatically to the transmitter, the future limited only for a time and a certain distribution channel can acquire the broadcast rights. In no other European country since so many national productions are sent as in England. Because it goes to the Ofcom content and their contexts, not to distribution channels, it also rejects a control of the Internet categorically. Excluded from Ofcom principle of "light touch regulation" are also press and advertising, their monitoring of the Press Complaints Commission and the Advertising Standards Association is left.

Ofcom took on the basis of the adopted by the Blair Government Communications Act in December 2003, his work on. The state intervention Super Authority currently employs 801 people and has a total budget of 133 million pounds ( financial year 2005/ 06). That Ofcom is funded from license fees for radio and organizer services and a grant from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (DTI ) for the regulation and management of the radio spectrum.