Category Archives: Broadcast

Who regulates online video? And social media?

As of the middle of 2018, there was no regulator for social media in the UK, noted the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) in its blog on 13 July 2018. A tricky topic: is it really feasible to regulate the content of individual users? Can platforms realistically keep on top of all the content?

Across the European Union, TV and on-demand video is regulated under the Audio Visual Media Services Directive (known as the AVMS Directive). In Britain the actual work of regulating broadcast and on-demand is carried out by Ofcom.

At the start of 2019, video on newspaper and magazine websites was not regulated by Ofcom: it fell under the ambit of the print and online regulators – IPSO for most publishers. The same was true for online-only publications signed up to IPSO.

The EU could change that.

Proliferation of multi-media content meant “newspaper websites could, in theory, start to resemble video-sharing platforms,” said the IPSO blog.

But this website notes that the ethical codes for newspaper sites are nowhere near as demanding as for broadcast media.

Read the full IPSO blog post here.

NUJ holds celebration for ethical journalism

The National Union of Journalists chose Valentine’s Day to celebrate independent, ethical journalism, prompted by memories of a broadcasters’ strike in 1985 that prompted the BBC management to resist attempts to stop it broadcasting a Real Lives programme about Northern Ireland. Journalism academic Tony Harcup commented on the NUJ website about the importance of ethical journalism for society. Read more.

Poet’s foul language too early for Ofcom

A documentary about the performance poet Luke Wright contained 38 uses of “the most offensive” language and 23 other sexually-loaded words but was broadcast before the watershed (the earliest time for transmitting material unsuitable for children). Community broadcaster Notts TV apologised and said it slipped through the net after a change of scheduling staff. Ofcom found a breach of its code. Read its findings in its October 2017 bulletin (page 6).

Does media ethics extend to abuse of journalists?

Media ethics is usually seen to be concerned with the conduct of journalists and those who employ them and publish their work. But does it also extend to the conduct of those who attack them – and the social media companies that facilitate such attacks?

BBC chair calls for end to attacks on journalists – especially women (Guardian)
Journalism under fire from abuse and trolls (Guardian)

Law blog: images ‘justified’ in London terror reports

Media coverage of the 2017 Westminster terror attack included pictures and video of desperate attempts to save the life of a police officer, and a woman falling into the Thames after the terrorist drove at pedestrians on a bridge. The use of such images – already widely seen on social media – produced heated debate, but media law blogger David Banks considered many were not intrusive, and the told the story in a way that words alone could not. Read his post here.