The regulator of premium rate phone lines is to meet broadcasters, programme makers and premium-rate service providers today in an attempt to solve the current problems with interactive elements of television shows.

Watchdog Icstis hopes the meeting will find ways to restore the public's trust in programmes following a number of investigations into some of the most popular programmes from major broadcasters.

Icstis chief executive George Kidd said earlier this week that "the industry has a major role to play in ensuring that viewers can take part in TV shows with confidence".

One solution that was suggested by Sir Alistair Graham, Icstis chairman, earlier this week was for shows to be granted a licence or "kite mark" so that viewers would know they were not being "ripped off".

"I am anxious that we sort out this pretty grim mess that the broadcast companies have got themselves into," he told the Today programme.

Controversy over phone votes began last month when it emerged that Channel 4's Richard and Judy programme encouraged people to phone in for the You Say, We Pay competition when a list of competitors had already been drawn up.

Since then ITV admitted that an error led to voters using the red interactive button during X Factor being overcharged. The channel's Saturday Night Take Away is also under investigation for the same problems as You Say, We Pay.

ITV has appointed auditors from Deloitte to scrutinise its interactive elements and suspended these services while the checks take place.

The BBC's Saturday Kitchen also faces an investigation.



08/03/2007 11:04:44