OFCOM guidance on occult advertising

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LAShTAL.COM is not an occult site, but this is an interesting article from The Guardian (UK). My thanks to Media Correspondent, Frater FS…

Media regulator spells out TV rules on ‘occult-related practices’
Guidance dealing with satanism, chicken bones and crystal balls is published by Ofcom in response to new wave of TV ads

Tuesday 20 December 2011 12.43 GMT

The media regulator has set down rules on psychic TV services that ban the casting of spells and other “occult-related practices” including satanism, and offer guidance on the correct use of chicken bones and crystal balls.

Ofcom, more used to handing down rulings relating to gaffes by Jeremy Clarkson or issues with Frankie Cocozza’s behaviour on the X Factor, on Tuesday published guidance to deal with a new wave of personalised live TV adverts offering viewers psychic television services.
Rule 15.4 relates to “explicit prohibitions” on certain psychic practices.

“Television advertisements must not promote psychic practices or practices related to the occult,” said Ofcom. “Psychic and occult-related practices include ouija, satanism, casting of spells, palmistry, attempts to contact the dead, divination, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the invocation of spirits or demons and exorcism”.

Ofcom said the use of chicken bones, crystal balls, tea leaves and other props was “not in principle problematic” but said they should never be used to “imply a prohibited psychic practice or practice related to the occult”.

It said the use of “spirit guides” were also allowed subject to the same limitations.

The media regulator said personalised astrology, horoscopes and tarot card readings were only acceptable if they were clearly labelled as “entertainment” and must never predict specific events, such as births, deaths, marriages – or new jobs.

“Advertisements for personalised and live services that rely on belief in astrology, horoscopes, tarot and derivative practices are acceptable only on channels that are licensed for the purpose of the promotion of such services and are appropriately labelled … for entertainment purposes only.”

The regulator added: “Psychic readings cannot stray beyond the carefully circumscribed area of entertainment and should never be presented as reliable, substantiated or offering anything other than a form of entertainment.”

It remains to be seen how the guidelines will be viewed by the psychic and fortune-telling industry – and whether they saw it coming.

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