The UK’s broadcast regulator Ofcom has imposed a small but symbolic fine on the operator of an on-demand programme service, provided through the website HardGlam.

In its judgement Ofcom ruled that between 25 February and 18 November 2014, users of James Farey’s HardGlam services could access sexually explicit R18 equivalent material without a system in place that would restrict under-18s from accessing it. The UK’s Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) – responsible for regulating the editorial content of certain on-demand programmes services concurrently with Ofcom – originally found the HardGlam website in breach of its Rule 11 in April 2014 and has thus imposed a financial penalty of £1,500.

ATVOD regarded HardGlam as not in compliance with Rule 11 during the period in question, and so referred the service to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction on 14 May 2014. Ofcom also considered breaches of ATVOD’s Rules 1 and 4, which relate to notifying ATVOD that a service is providing relevant content and paying a fee.

Ofcom’s judgement confirmed breaches of Rules 1, 4 and 11 had occurred, and also considered evidence as to the gravity and duration of the breaches and their potential impact on minors. The regulator decided that the breaches were sufficiently serious, repeated and reckless to justify the imposition of a financial penalty.