Content standards presentation for London Metropolitan University
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Content standards presentation for London Metropolitan University



Presentation given to MA students at London Metropolitan University on the Broadcasting Code (March 2011). *NB: uses material available in the pubic domain*

Presentation given to MA students at London Metropolitan University on the Broadcasting Code (March 2011). *NB: uses material available in the pubic domain*



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Content standards presentation for London Metropolitan University Content standards presentation for London Metropolitan University Presentation Transcript

  • Content Standards RegulationPresentation to London Metropolitan UniversityMA Communications Management students
    Damian Radcliffe, Ofcom
    10th March 2011
  • Purpose of Ofcom
    Communications Act 2003 section 3
    It shall be the principal duty of OFCOM, in carrying out their functions -
    a) to further the interests of citizens in relation to communications matters; andb) to further the interests of consumers in relevant markets, where appropriate by promoting competition
  • Broadcasting Code
    • Protecting the Under-Eighteens
    • Harm & Offence
    • Crime
    • Religion
    • Due impartiality and accuracy
    • Elections
    • Fairness
    • Privacy
    • Sponsorship
    • Commercial References
  • Generally Accepted Standards
    • Key Factors
    • “adequate protection...” against harm and offence
    • offence must be “justified by the context”
    • context:
    • editorial content
    • the service it is broadcast on
    • time it was broadcast
    • likely size & composition of the audience
    • information
  • Al Jazeera
    • Key Factors
    • freedom of expression and news
    • important and serious treatment - public interest
    • documentary evidence and not sensationalised
    • news channel
    • warning
    • no prohibition on point of death
    • length
    • cold-blooded and callous
    • extremely graphic
    • just after 9pm watershed
    • point blank shooting
    • noted a range of techniques available
  • Impartiality
    • Key Factors
    • impartiality - restriction on freedom of expression
    • exercise great care - political debate
    • code allow for personal view programmes but...‘due impartiality’ must be maintained
    • no requirement for equal time
    • must acknowledge alternative views exist
    • major matter - ‘due weight’
    • systems in place to ensure impartiality is maintained
  • STV News Report
    • ProgrammeThis evening news bulletin included a report on the sentencing of Mr James Kerr for the murder of Mr Thomas Nicoll
    • ComplaintMs ‘B’ complained that the programme unfairly suggested she made false claims of sexual abuse against Mr Thomas Nicoll and that she may “have his death on her conscience”.
    • Key Factors
    • Public interest in unrestricted court reporting
    • Public interest in reporting that abuse claims were cause of murder
    • Very serious allegation made against Ms ‘B’
    • No factual basis for allegations that abuse claims were false
  • Send in the Dogs
    • Programme
    • Factual ‘fly on the wall’ programme following the work of the Greater Manchester Police Dog Unit. ‘F’ (a minor) was shown driving and abandoning a car and then being arrested by the police.
    • Complaint
    • ‘F’s father complained that his son’s privacy was unwarrantably infringed by the broadcast (without consent) of un-obscured images of his son being arrested.
    • Key factors
    • Incident took place in public
    • Public interest in disclosing crime and wrongdoing
    • Public interest in examining the work of the police
    • He was a minor
    • His prosecution was subject of reporting restrictions prohibiting the showing any images of him
  • Undue Prominence and Promotion
    • Key Factors
    • rules based on European law
    • over-promotional
    • tele-shopping style
    • the way it was filmed
    • editorial justification
    • context - news not review programme
  • Find out more (related to the clips we saw)
    Generally accepted standards
     Swearing after the watershed
     Finding for Ramsays Great British Nightmare, Channel 4, 30 January 2009, 21:00 - 23:00 (in breach)
     Free Agents, Channel 4, various dates from 20 February 2009, 22:00  (not in breach)
    Offensive images
     Finding for News, Al Jazeera, 9 February 2010, 21:04 (in breach)
     Finding for Comment & The Real Deal, Press TV, January 2009, Various dates and times (in breach)
  • Find out more (part two)
    Fairness and Privacy
     Finding for Scotland Today – STV, 18 Jan 2008, complaint made by Ms ‘B’ (upheld)
    Finding for Send in the Dogs, ITV1, 28 July 2009, complaint by Mr E made on behalf of F (his son) – (upheld)
    Undue prominence and promotion
     Finding for Five News at 7, Five, 5 February 2009, 19:00 (upheld)
  • Challenges for the Future?
    • Public concern remain about some content
    • But convergence creates possible confusion
    • Statutory v self-regulation
    • Role of media literacy
    • The importance of freedom of expression and information
    • So what are the important areas:
    • Protection of children
    • Privacy
    • Transparency (whether commercial or labeling)