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Uk Media Regulation

Uk Media Regulation

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Published by: LEX-57 the lex engine on Oct 16, 2011
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MEDIA REGULATION IN THEUNITED KINGDOM
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This paper was drafted by Evan Ruth, Legal Officer at ARTICLE 19and revised by Toby Mendel, Head of Law Programme
 
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................................1THE PRINT MEDIA.............................................................................................................................2BROADCASTING CONTENT REGULATION.................................................................................4
R
EGULATION IN THE
P
RIVATE
S
ECTOR
.................................................................................................5T
HE
B
RITISH
B
ROADCASTING
C
ORPORATION
.......................................................................................7S
TANDARD
S
ETTING FOR ALL
B
ROADCASTERS
.....................................................................................9
THE ITC PROGRAMME CODE.........................................................................................................9
T
HE
A
PPROACH OF THE
ITC
 
P
ROGRAMME
C
ODE
...............................................................................10G
OOD
T
ASTE
,
 
D
ECENCY AND
V
IOLENCE
............................................................................................11P
RIVACY AND
I
NFORMATION
G
ATHERING
..........................................................................................12I
MPARTIALITY
....................................................................................................................................12O
THER
M
ATTERS
................................................................................................................................13
CONCLUSION.....................................................................................................................................14APPENDIX ONE: THE PRESS COMPLAINTS COMMISSION CODE.....................................16APPENDIX TWO: THE ITC PROGRAMME CODE (ABBREVIATED VERSION).................19
FOREWORD.....................................................................................................................................19SECTION
 
ONE:
 
O
FFENCE TO
G
OOD
T
ASTE AND
D
ECENCY
,
 
P
ORTRAYAL OF
V
IOLENCE
,
ETC
...........19SECTION
 
TWO:
 
P
RIVACY
,
 
G
ATHERING OF
I
NFORMATION
,
ETC
.......................................................22SECTION
 
THREE:
 
I
MPARTIALITY
....................................................................................................24SECTION
 
FOUR:
 
P
ARTY
P
OLITICAL AND
P
ARLIAMENTARY
B
ROADCASTING
..................................26SECTION
 
FIVE:
 
T
ERRORISM
,
 
C
RIME
,
 
A
NTI
-S
OCIAL
B
EHAVIOUR
,
ETC
.............................................27SECTION
 
SIX:
 
O
THER
L
EGAL
M
ATTERS
..........................................................................................28SECTION
 
SEVEN:
 
I
MAGES OF
V
ERY
B
RIEF
D
URATION
...................................................................29SECTION
 
EIGHT:
 
C
HARITABLE
A
PPEALS AND
P
UBLICITY FOR
C
HARITIES
......................................29SECTION
 
NINE:
 
R
ELIGION
...............................................................................................................30SECTION
 
TEN:
 
O
THER
P
ROGRAMME
M
ATTERS
...............................................................................31SECTION
 
ELEVEN:
 
C
OMMUNICATION WITH THE
P
UBLIC
...............................................................33
 
 
Introduction
Media content regulation in the UK revolves primarily around codes ofpractice, drawn up by a variety of bodies which are either entirely or largelyindependent, following wide public consultation. In some cases, these codesof practice have been developed by bodies with statutory powers over themedia while in others the responsible bodies have been established by themedia or journalists themselves. It is the purpose of this paper to describe thevarious codes of practice which are applied to the media, as well as thesystems for promoting adherence to these codes.In addition to the codes noted above, the broadcast media are also subject toa small number of specific content rules and all media are subject to laws ofgeneral application, such as those relating to defamation, obscenity and hatespeech. This paper will not deal in any detail with these topics. This paper willalso not deal with the whole question of ethical codes, drawn up by journalists’associations and applicable to individual journalists as a professional matter.The print media is entirely self-regulating in the United Kingdom and operatesfree of any specific statutory rules. The profession has established the PressComplaints Commission on its own initiative, and this body has developed acode against which to measure journalistic standards. For the broadcastmedia, two broadcasting acts set out broad categories of material whichshould be covered by codes of conduct but leave detailed elaboration of thesecategories to regulatory bodies. These acts provide for the establishment ofvarious independent regulatory bodies which undertake a variety of roles vis-à-vis broadcasters, including monitoring and applying the codes.The various codes of conduct in place in the UK
1
generally provide guidelinesfor media professionals, rather than setting clear prohibitions on specific typesof content. They represent an attempt to provide some guidance to the mediarecognising, however, that the world is almost infinitely complex and that it issimply not possible to provide clear rules about what is and what is notallowed in all situations. A variety of competing interests will generally be inplay, including the public’s right to know, the practical realities of life in themedia, particularly the need to publish in a timely fashion, and various privateinterests, such as privacy.The need to balance these competing interests means that the various codesdraw heavily on constantly evolving “community standards” and the concept ofthe “public interest”. The guidelines are not laws and, to a significant extent,their proper application depends upon the media maintaining constantawareness of the prevailing public “mood”, or community standards as broadlyreflected in the codes. This allows them to be flexible and to give the media
1
There are seven codes governing content standards within the media in the UK, one for thepress and six for the broadcast media.

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