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Sky apologizes for glitch during Game of Thrones airing

Comcast’s Sky satellite service in the United Kingdom has apologized for airing a profanity-laced episode of the HBO drama “Game of Thrones” in violation of local broadcast rules.

The episode, “Prince of Winterfell,” aired on the Sky Atlantic channel on August 19 around 7:30 a.m. The program contained several swear words that normally would not be allowed on television at that hour, according to decency rules enforced by British television regulator Ofcom.

The decency rules prohibit obscene content from airing on television in the United Kingdom between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., unless a broadcaster offers a mechanism for blocking the program unless a viewer opts to watch it. Typically, broadcasters employ encryption software that requires a viewing PIN to unlock the show if a program contains profane speech or images during those hours.

Sky offers such a mechanism, but the PIN method failed that morning due to a software glitch, a spokesperson for the company affirmed this week.

“Sky takes its duties as a responsible broadcaster very seriously and we deal with these issues in intense detail and institute changes, upgrade software or enhance processes to avoid any recurrence,” the spokesperson said.

Sky says it will offer content ratings across all programs carried on its channels in the future, with mature content viewable if a user enters their PIN.

“It is never our intention to offend or upset our viewers,” Sky affirmed.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).