- The Editors' Code of Practice sets standards for journalists working for newspapers, magazines and free-standing editorial websites.
- It has clauses to uphold accuracy and to protect people's privacy.
- It permits undercover reporting but only if justified by special 'public interest' factors.
- The Independent Press Standards Organisation, which adjunicates on complaints against editors and journalists in member organisations in newspaper, magazine and online sectors, requires editors to publish adverse adjunications.
- Broadcast journalism is regulated by the Office of Communications (OfCom).
- Broadcast organisations must comply with the OfCom Broadcasting Code, which requires them to avoid harm and offence, to be fair and to protect people's privacy.
- OfCom has statutory powers to compel broadcasters to air its adjudications on complaints against them.
- It can fine them for the worst trangressions of the code, and can close a commercial broadcaster which persistantly or recklessly flouts the code.
- There must be 'due accuracy' and 'due impariality' in all broadcast news.
- The BBC is not regulated by OfCom as regards accuracy and impartiality. The BBC Trust is the ultimate adjudicator on complaints against the BBC in these respects.
The landscape of law, ethics and regulation
- The media are the eyes and ears of the general public, and free media is an essential element in maintaining parliamentary democracy.
- The European Convention on Human Rights has codified fundamental freedoms, including that of freedom of expression.
- Sources of UK law include custom, precedent and statutes and statutory instruments, and European Union Regulations.
- The two main divisions of the law are criminal and civil law, and journalists need to use correctly the legal terms appropriate for the type of court they are reporting.