These are the notes I took in lesson today. I wanted to leave the notes as they are because i feel as though they are in an easy to revise from format, so this blog post isn’t a normal blog post as it is basically just a revision tool for me.

Media Regulations –

  • Regulation = control/guidance – consists of rules and procedures set out by a governing body.
  • Two types of regulation:
    external – set by national organisations linked to media industries.
    Internal – set by government
  • Some laws that impact on media production –
    Contempt of court
    Obscene publications act
    Defamation law
    External regulation is controlled by the Government
  • An example of internal regulation is the bbfc – control film certificates (e.g. 15, 18)
  • Both forms of regulation can impact on media production
    Bodies such as the BBFC, Ofcom or ASA can withdraw a product from audience consumption if they receive enough complaints.

Ofcom –

  • Protecting under 18’s –
    Material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of under 18s must not be broadcast.
    When coving any pre-trial investigation into an alleged criminal offence in the UK broadcasters should pay particular regard to identifying any person who is not yet adult who is a witness or victim
  • Children –
    Under 15’s must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material is unsuitable (watershed 9PM)
  • Impartiality and accuracy –
    News must be reported with accuracy and presented with impartiality

Significant mistakes in news should be acknowledged and corrected on air quickly
No politician may be used as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter
broadcasters must be impartial when reporting news and ‘matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy’.
In terms of local radio – don’t give undue prominence to the views of particular people in respect of the above matters
Personal views and authored programmes are allowed if signalled at the outset

  • Fairness –
    Guarantees of confidentiality or anonymity given to the contributors should be honoured
  • Deception –
    Broadcasters or programme makers should not obtain or seek information, audio, pictures or an agreement to contribute through misrepresentation or deception
    However there are some exceptions to this:
    If it is in the public interest and cannot reasonably be obtained by other means;
    Where there is no public interest, e.g. wind-up calls or entertainment set ups, content should be obtained from the individual before broadcast

If the individual involving celebrities can be used without consent if it is in the public best interest and unlikely to result in unjustified public ridicule or distress.

  • Privacy – Any infringement of privacy must be justified in the public best interest
    if the reason is public interest, this must outweigh the right to privacy
    examples of public interest would include: revealing or detecting a crime, protecting the public health and safety.
    People have a legitimate expectation of privacy in a public place if the activities are of a private nature.
    People under investigation or in the public eye (and their family and friends) have the right to a private life, unless public interest can be claimed.
  • Door stepping –
    This is the filming or recording of an interview with someone without prior warning.
    The exception is that this is ‘warranted’ in the public’s best interest.

Defamation –

  • Defamation is something which is published which causes SERIOUS HARM to a person’s reputation;
    A person can sue for damages (money);
    They must be identified – not always by name.
  • Lice –

Lower the person in the minds of right-thinking members of society;
Injures the person’s job reputation;
Causes a person to be shunned or avoided;
Exposes a person to hatred or ridicule.

  • Defence –

Journalists CAN print defamatory comments if they can prove a legal defence.
Truth – if a statement is true and you can prove it, then you can print it;
You must be able to back up the truth with evidence (recordings/ notebooks).
There are some ‘privileged’ circumstances when the law says there should be complete freedom of speech;
A reporter can write exactly what is said, even if it is defamatory, providing it is fair and accurate.
Examples – court cases, inquests, council meetings.
You can make defamatory comments as long as they are in the public interest. The criteria for Honest Opinion are:

Something which the public is interested in (sport reports, theatre reviews);
Something based on a privilege occasion (court report, a council meeting, a public meeting);
Something based on true facts which you can prove  (not something you THINK is true);
Something which is your HONESTLY HELD opinion. If you are inaccurate then errors can lead to what you write NOT being your honestly held opinion. “That theater performance was appalling (you’re meant to say ‘appealing’)

Prince Harry task –

Consider the following scenario:

“Prince Harry has been photographed at a party where police were called after reports of illegal drug abuse.”
You are an Editor working on the CBBC news programme ‘Newsround’ , and you have to decide how to cover the story on the programme. How would Defamation Law and the Ofcom Broadcasting code affect how you cover this story?

The Ofcom broadcasting code would impact on this story because I would not be able to glamour the story in any way. For example I could not entice people to read the article by advertising it as ”Prince Harry’s wild night out!”. This may give children the impression that being associated with people who are involved with illegal drugs is a positive thing, when of course it isn’t. Under section 1.10 of the Ofcom broadcasting code it states that: ”must not be featured in programmes made primarily for children unless there is strong editorial justification”. I feel as though this story does have strong editorial justification because of the figure in question.

Defamation is also important to keep in mind because an article that says Prince Harry is associated with drug users could be incredibly damaging to his reputation.

With all of this in mind I would make it clear that Prince Harry was only attending the party, and seemingly unaware of the illegal drug use. It is not known yet if he himself took any of the drugs or had any part in the process. So until we have confirmation that he was involved we have to be as on the fence as possible. I would ask my reporters to question the police and ask why they felt the need to attend the party and search for the drugs. Baring in mind this is to be on newsround I would make a point that there are no positives of illegal drug use and they are completely unacceptable in society.

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