Media regulation is control and guidance. it consists of rules and procedures set out by a governing body. External regulation is laws set out by the government. Internal regulation is codes of conduct set out by national organisations linked to a range of media industries.
Media producers have to be careful about the content that is shown in the media. If a regulatory body receive enough complaints regarding a media product then they have to investigate this product. Potentially these regulatory bodies have the power to withdraw from audience consumption.
Ofcom is an ethical code for television and radio covering standards, sponsorship, fairness and privacy.
This is something which is published which causes serious harm to a person’s reputation. A person can sue for damages, they must be identified not always by name. It can lower the person in the minds of right-thinking members of society, injures the person’s job reputation, exposes a person to hatred.
Journalists can print defamatory comments if they can prove a legal defense.
Truth – if a statement is true and you can prove it you can print is. You must be able to back it up with evidence.
Privilege – there are some circumstances when the law says there should be freedom of speech. A reporter can write exactly what is said providing it is fair and accurate.
Honest Opinion – you can make comments as long as they are in the public interest.
The criteria is:
- something which the public is interested
- something based on a privilege occasion
- something based on true facts which you can prove
- something which is your honestly held opinion.
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?
According to Ofcom “The use of illegal drugs, the abuse of drugs, smoking, solvent abuse and the misuse of alcohol must not be featured in programmes made primarily for children unless there is strong editorial justification. Must generally be avoided and in any case must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised in other programmes broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television), or when children are particularly likely to be listening (in the case of radio), unless there is editorial justification;” (2015). This type of news story wouldn’t usually be broadcasted on a children’s programme, however there is justification for publishing this news story as the public need to be made aware, but for children I would have to pitch it in a children friendly manor. I would do this by not using graphic images that could disturb the children viewers. These images would include: photos of the drug, photos of someone taking the drug or video footage. Also, I wouldn’t glamorize the subject as children could be influenced by it and want to do it as a celebrity is.
If was to run this story I would ask my reporters to research and verify what happened. I would ask them to question some people who were at the scene and maybe Harry himself. This way I could broadcast the story, if I had proof of exactly what happened, and not break the law.