David Hickson's Silent Calls Victim Blog

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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Media coverage of 1 February Ofcom Silent Calls announcement

I was involved in briefing, or contributing to, a number of items of media coverage of the Ofcom announcement on 1 February.

My briefings were not fully noted in all cases.

My briefings

New Ofcom "rules" for Silent Callers - Tuesday 1 February
New "rules" for when to make Silent Calls (is this a joke?)

The coverage

¾Breakfast TV - Ofcom on Silent Calls
ºRadio 4 Today - Lynn Parker of Ofcom on Silent Calls
ºRadio Leeds - New Ofcom rules on Silent Calls
ºRadio Coventry and Warwickshire - Silent Calls discussion
ºThree Counties Radio - Comment on new Silent Call rules
ºRadio West Midlands - Silent Calls chat
ºRadio 4 PM - Cold Calling
Plenty of coverage in the print and on-line media


Apart from simply ignoring facts stated in my briefings, some false information may have been conveyed in reporting this story.

1.The common impression that the penalties reported by Ofcom have any positive connection with the complaints received in 2010 is false. Despite also receiving 6,600 complaints about Silent Calls in 2009, and allegedly investigating 22 companies, Ofcom has not found anyone to be breaking its rules since 2008.
2.Answering Machine Detection has become more effective recently, since Ofcom allowed an increase in the duration of the sample used - i.e. a longer period of silence at the beginning of every call when AMD is used.
3.Ofcom has never Notified or Penalised anyone for causing Silent Calls due to use of Answering Machine Detection. The formal approval applied from 1 February is the result of efforts to persuade Ofcom to recognise this cause of Silent Calls and thereby to effectively prohibit its use. We have achieved the first objective, but this has only led to an extension of Ofcom's formal approval of the practice of hanging up in Silence.

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