Ofcom’s new Broadcasting Code enshrines freedom of expression
Ofcom today release their new Broadcasting Code (.pdf and HTML versions available on site), which comes into effect on 25 July. It deals a heavy blow to would-be censors such as Mediawatch-UK and the CCTV by focusing on “informed choice” and the importance of “context”.
From the press release:
The Code allows broadcasters more creative freedom. It also allows audiences greater scope to exercise informed choice through the provision of information about what is to be broadcast. For the first time in a broadcasting code, the meaning of “context” is given and its importance highlighted.
The Code provides for broadcasters to transmit challenging material, even that which may be considered offensive by some, provided it is editorially justified and the audience given appropriate information. The freedom to broadcast this material is, of course, limited at times when children may particularly be expected to be listening or viewing – in television terms, pre-watershed.
The code does put greater emphasis on the protection of under 18s (eg no more hard-core on subscription as kids can access PIN numbers), but that is unlikely to appease campaign groups who think the entire population should be treated as if they have not yet reached the age of adulthood.