British TV regulators are ruining psychic readings by decreeing that TV psychics may no longer actually predict anything. And there are separate rules about crystal balls.
According to the Guardian, regulator Ofcom has developed some new rules in response to an increase in TV ads for psychics. The new regulations state,
Television advertisements must not promote psychic practices or practices related to the occult. Psychic and occult-related practices include ouija, satanism, casting of spells, palmistry, attempts to contact the dead, divination, clairvoyance, clairaudience, the invocation of spirits or demons and exorcism.
Psychics will still be allowed to advertise their services, but only if they clearly state that they're "for entertainment purposes only" and can't actually predict specific things, like new jobs, births, or deaths. They are permitted to continue using "props" like chicken bones, tea leaves, and crystal balls, but not if they "imply a prohibited psychic practice or practice related to the occult." The same applies to "spirit guides." Clarifies the regulator, "Psychic readings cannot stray beyond the carefully circumscribed area of entertainment and should never be presented as reliable, substantiated or offering anything other than a form of entertainment."
Ofcom's probably hoping to prevent a British version of American TV's Miss Cleo, whose employees the FTC alleged "misrepresent the cost of services both in advertising and during the provision of the services; bill for services that were never purchased; [...] engage in deceptive collection practices [and] often respond to consumers' inquiries with abusive, threatening, and vulgar language." But what's the point of psychics if they're not allowed to predict that someone whose name involves the letter E will come into your life and solve all your problems? Also, I'd imagine that some spirit guides are currently very mad that regulators have described them as mere entertainment. Expect a spate of hauntings in Ofcom's offices any day now.
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