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Premier League confident over Ofcom investigation

The Premier League insists they abide by EU and UK competition law following news that Ofcom will launch an investigation into how their TV rights are sold.

A Premier League statement said: "We note that Ofcom has launched an inquiry.

"Ofcom has stated that this is at an early stage and it has not reached a view as to whether there is sufficient evidence of any infringement.

"The Premier League currently sells its audio-visual rights in a way that is compatible with UK and EU competition law and will continue to do so. We will be able to demonstrate that as part of this process."

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Ofcom to investigate sale of Premier League TV rights

Regulator Ofcom will investigate how the Premier League sold its live television rights after a complaint from Virgin Media.

Earlier this year, Virgin Media said it had filed a complaint over the increasing costs of showing matches, and claimed consumers were paying more as a result of the escalating bidding war between broadcasters.

Sky and BT currently own the live rights to Premier League matches.

Ofcom said it would consider whether there had been a breach of either British or European Competition law which distorts or restricts competition.

Sky Sports and BT Sport were not immediately available for comment.

Ofcom taken to court over Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

BFGW stars Sam and Pat pictured at a BAFTA awards party in 2011. Credit: PA

Gypsy campaigners are coming to the High Court over Ofcom's handling of their complaints about the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding television programmes.

The Traveller Movement, a charity supporting gypsies and travellers, has won permission to seek a judicial review against the communications watchdog.

It accuses Ofcom of conducting a flawed and biased investigation into accusations by the movement and eight individual women that the BFGW programmes perpetuated racist stereotypes.

They also complain the Channel 4 series broke broadcasting regulations regarding consent, sexually exploited traveller children and "caused untold harm to social cohesion" by reinforcing misconceptions and prejudices.

Ofcom has indicated it will defend its actions and contends the gypsy case is unarguable.

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Watchdog: Ukip should be treated as a 'major party'

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has ruled that the UK Independence Party (Ukip) should be given the same status as the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.

Ofcom said Ukip must be treated as a "major party" in England and Wales for election broadcasts.

"We hope that all broadcast outlets will reflect on the fact that patterns of support in British politics are changing very quickly and that more and more people are supporting and voting for Ukip," the party's director of communications Patrick O'Flynn said.

The Ofcom rules state that "due weight must be given to the coverage of major parties during the election period" and there must be "due impartiality."

New plans to tackle 'confusion' over service numbers

Ofcom has announced measures to make the cost of calling businesses and services more transparent for consumers from June 2015.

They include:

  • Clearer pricing for all numbers starting 08, 09 and 118.
  • Cost of service numbers will be broken down into an ‘access charge’ to phone company, plus a ‘service charge’ to the company or organisation.
  • The service charge for premium rate (09) numbers will be capped.
  • Consumer calls to Freephone (0800, 0808 and 116) numbers which are generally free from landlines, will become free from mobile phones too.
  • Confusion around 0845 numbers - which are sometimes tied to the cost of a geographic call - will be addressed.

Telephone call charges 'to be made simpler' from 2015

Charges for telephone calls to business and services will be made simpler from 2015 with clearer pricing for all numbers starting 08, 09 and 118, Ofcom has announced.

Under new plans, 080 freephone numbers will be free from mobiles as well as landlines.

Ofcom said the changes should all be implemented by 2015. Credit: Press Association

Ofcom said the measures are designed to tackle "consumer confusion" over non-geographic’ service numbers that have a range of uses, from finding out information to banking, directory enquiry and entertainment services.

Its aim is to make prices more transparent, improve competition, restore consumer confidence in non-geographic service numbers and increase their usage.

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