The BBC Fined for Misleading Public

LONDON -- Media watchdog Ofcom fined the British Broadcasting Corporation ?400,000 on Wednesday, the largest financial penalty it has ever issued against the public broadcaster, for misleading the public through fake quizzes and competitions.

Ofcom said eight BBC shows, four on TV and four on the radio, were guilty of "very serious" failings.

"The investigations found that in come cases the production team had taken pre-meditated decisions to broadcast competitions and encourage listeners to enter in the full knowledge that the audience stood no chance of winning," Ofcom said. "In other cases, programs faced with technical problems made up the names of winners."

In May, the watchdog fined Britain's biggest commercial broadcaster ITV a record ?5.68 million for cheating viewers over phone-in competitions on some of its most popular shows. The fine was larger as viewers were encouraged to call on premium rate phone lines, but the BBC had not profited from entries made to its faked competitions.