Indian flooded with pesky calls; UK's Ofcom assessing complaint



London: Close on the heels of an Indian-origin picture researcher receiving annoying calls and SMSes after his cell number was inadvertently broadcast on a Channel 4 show, the UK's broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has said it was "assessing" over 160 complaints made in reference to the programme.

27-year-old Rakesh Sagar has complained to Ofcom, and is also seeking legal advice after he received around 300 calls and text messages, some abusive in nature.

Ofcom said that it was "assessing" over 160 complaints made in reference to Channel 4's Big Fat Quiz of the Year, telecast on December 30, and a decision on launching a further investigation would be taken following the assessment process.

"Ofcom cannot comment further on this matter as complaints of this type fall under the category of fairness and privacy," its spokesperson told a news agency.

Well-known British comedian Jack Whitehall wrote down the number for TV audiences on the pre-recorded show, claiming it belonged to fellow panelist and controversial UK media personality Jonathan Ross, and invited viewers to "call him whenever you want".

Sagar did not watch the programme and was perplexed when he started receiving phone calls from people who thought he was Ross.

He said: "On the night it was shown I started getting calls with abuse from people who hate Jonathan Ross... Ofcom said they would look into it and suggested I change my number, but I paid a lot of money for it because it is a very easy number to remember so I'm not doing that".

Channel 4 has apologised to him for the calls but insists viewers must have "guessed" his number because it was partially obscured onscreen.

A Channel 4 spokesman said: "An illegible and non-functional number which contained more digits than a standard mobile number was shown very briefly on the contestant's panel on Big Fat Quiz of the Year".

Whilst it was obscured and only shown briefly, some viewers have attempted to guess the number and this appears to have led to calls being made to this phone, he said.

"We have apologised and have further obscured the digits on repeats of the show".

The comic quiz show had already attracted complaints because of "disgraceful" jokes made about the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and US President Barack Obama.

PTI