What do we mean by media regulation?

  • Regulation is control and/ or guidance e
  • Relegation consists of rules and procedures set out by our governing body

2 types of media regulation

External regulation and internal regulation


External Regulations

E.g. some laws that impact on media production

  • Contempt of court
  • Obscene publication act
  • Defamation law
  • External regulation is controlled by the government

Internal regulations

  • Internal regulation is by the industry itself. These organisations create codes of conduct which impact on the media production.
  • E.g. –ASA, BBFO, Ofcom

What impact can regulations have?

  • Both forms of regulations can impact of media production
  • Media producers have to be careful about the content that is shown in the media
  • If a regulation body such as BBFC, Ofcom or ASA receive enough complaint regarding a media product then they have to investigate this product.
  • Potentially these regulatory bodies have the power to withdraw a product from audience consumption if they feel it is necessary.


CODES – Ofcom is an ethical code for television and radio covering standards, sponsorship, fairness and privacy.

SECTION 1- protecting under 18’s

  • Material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of under 18’s must not be broadcast.


  • When covering and pre-trial investigation by the police into an alleged criminal offence in the UK, broadcasters should pay particular regard to identifying any person who is not yet adult who is witness or victim
  • Identification means: name, address, educational establishment, work, picture/footage
  • Also the code states that particular justification is required to identify a juvenile who is potential defendant


Children (under 15 for Ofcom) must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable

Advert after 9pm

  • Family guy
  • American dad
  • Walking dead
  • Breaking bad
  • South park


  • News must be reported with accuracy and presented with impartiality
  • Significant mistakes in the 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 or particular people in respect of the above matters
  • Impartiality can be achieved over a series of broadcasts
  • Personal views and authored programmes are aloud if signalled at the outset


  • Guarantees of confidentiality or anonymity given to contributors should be honoured.


  • Broadcasters or programme makers should not obtain or see information, audio, pictures or an agreement to contribute through misrepresentation or deception
  • There are some exceptions to this;-where there is no public interest e.g. wind up calls or entertained set up, consent should be obtained from the individual before broadcast-material involving celebrities can be used without consent, If it is in the publics interest and is unlikely to result in injustice
  • -if the individual or organisation is not identifiable then consent is not required
  • -if it is in the public interest and cannot responsibly be obtained by other means.
  • Any infringement of privacy must be justified in the public interest
  • If the reason is public interest, this must outweigh the right to privacy
  • Examples of public best interest would include-protecting public health and safety
  • -exposing misleading claims made by individuals or organisations
  • -revealing or protecting crime
  • People have a legitimate expectation of privacy in a public place if he activities are of a private nature
  • People under investigation or in the public eye (and their families and friends)have the right to a private life, unless public interest can be claims.


  • This is the recording or filming of an interview or attempting interview
  • The exception to this is that it is warranted in the public interest.
  • NOTE: vox pops are not classed as door stopping


What is defamation?

  • Defamation is something that is published with cause’s serious harm to someone’s reputation.
  • Under this law, people can sue for damages.
  • They must be identified, but not always by name.
  • Lower the person in the minds of right thinking members of society
  • Injures the persons job reputation
  • Causes a person to be shunned and avoided
  • Expose a person to hatred or ridicule


  • Journalists can print defamatory comments if they can prove illegal offence

Defence 1- truth

  • Truth- if the statement is true and you can prove it, then you can print it
  • Must be able to back up the truth with some evidence

Defence 2- privilege

  • There are some privilege circumstances when the law says that there should be complete freedom of speech.
  • A reporter can write exactly what is said (even if it is defamatory) providing that it is fair and accurate.
  • E.g. court cases, inquest, council meetings.

Defence 3- honest opinion

  • You can make defamatory comment if it’s in the public’s best interest, the criteria for Honest Opinions are:-Something based of privilege opinions (court, report)-Something that you think is your honestly held opinion (if you are inaccurate then errors can lead to what you write NOT being your honest opinion. E.g. ‘that theatre play was appalling’ you’re meant to say ‘appealing’
  • -Something that’s based on true facts that you can prove (not something you think is true)
  • Something that the public is interested in (sports, reports, theatre)

In terms of the prince harry story;

(Prince Harry has been photographed at a party where police were called after reports of illegal drug abuse)

It would be very difficult to write and you would have to be careful how you word things to do with drugs, otherwise Prince Harry could sue the writer,  however it is in the publics interest to know, therefore this would give us a reason for writing it.we would also need to show evidence of the allegations e.g. a photograph, or even a witness statement from other people who were at the party to find proof of the allegations to investigate the story further, Some of the regulations of Ofcom are;

“The use of illegal drugs, the abuse of drugs, smoking, solvent abuse and themisuse 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;

• must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised in other programmes likely to be widely seen or heard by under-eighteens unless there is editorial justification.”