4.2.1, 4.2.2 – The impact of media law and regulations on journalism practice

Journalists have to abide by a code of ethics known as Journalism ethics. There are two types of media regulation which conform to these ethics. External and Internal regulation are the two types of regulation.


External Regulation

External Regulations are regulations set by a governing body outside of journalism and this is controlled by the government government. Laws set by the government impact on media production. These laws are: Defamation Law, Copyright Law, Contempt of Court and obscene publications Act.

Defamation Law

This law is in place to prevent someones reputation being harmed without proof of what has been said or the accusation is true. If a journalist makes a comment about a person or company without proof that the statement is true and that comment can effect the persons career or reputation or a companies reputation then that person or company can sue for damages. However if the company or person accused can’t prove that it was a defamatory statement then the person will not have a case and the journalist will get away with it. An example of this is a Cameron Diaz case.

The sun newspaper published an article which hinted that she had engaged in an affair with a friend who was also in a relationship. this caused damage to both relationships. Diaz won the case but it is uncertain how much money she was awarded.


Copyright Law

Copyright Law has been set by the government to prevent a person stealing the intellectual property or the hard copy of someones work. If a person creates a piece of work that can be considered a copy of someone else then the original preppy holder can take legal action against the person who has copied his work. copyright cases are usually settled outside of court. The owner of the copyright for a certain object/song/film etc can be transferred either through the original owner dying and it being left in the will, it being bought off that person or being outbid for their own work. An example of this is the Ed Sheehan case.

Ed Sheehan was involved in a copyright case in which he allegedly stole the chord sequence note for note of an X Factor winners song in the chorus for his song ‘Photograph’. The case was settled outside of court by the two parties.


Internal Regualtion

This is where media is regulated from within journalism by 2 governing bodies. These government bodies are IPSO and OFCOM

The Role Of IPSO

Journalists have to follow a strict code of ethics which are based on principles. These principles are: Truthfulness, Accuracy, Objectivity, Impartiality, Fairness and Public Accountability. IPSO is an internal regulation organisation to ensure these ethics are kept within print journalism. A journalist also has to be impartial, meaning that they can not take sides and must be unbiased. They also have to be objective, meaning that they have to show both points of view within the story. A journalist also has to be accurate, meaning that what they produce cannot be fake, they also have to be truthful which ties into this as they cannot lie. They also to take into consideration public accountability, meaning that a story must be within the public interest.

The Role Of OFCOM

The role of OFCOM is similar to that of IPSO. OFCOM Also has a code of conduct, however it was set up to ensure the principles are kept within broadcast journalism and has a few extra regulations. One of the OFCOM codes is to protect privacy. For example, if a celebrity is on holiday, they have a relative expectancy of privacy and this means that a journalist cannot take a photo of them or write an article about themas that would be violating their privacy. Also, a child under 15 is to be protected by OFCOM by regulating scheduling. The 9pm watershed is what does this. As with IPSO, codes about impartiality and accuracy are in the regulations alongside the rest. A code that IPSO does not have and OFCOM do is to prevent doorstepping. Doorstepping is the filming or recording of an interview or attempted interview with someone (or announcing that a call is being filmed or recorded for broadcast purposes) without any prior warning. The exception to this is that it is ‘warranted’ in the public interest. Vox pops are not classed as door-stepping.



In this scenario, I am a CBBC newshound presenter covering a story about Prince Harry in which he was photographed at a party where police were called out after reports of illegal drug use. External regulation and the OFCOM code of ethics would effect how I could report this as the target audience is very young (6-12) meaning that I would have to sensor my reporting so that it is suitable for that age group, in order not to harm the children in any way. this is due to OFCOM having strict regulations on what can be shown and before 9 o’clock anything that shows drug use cannot be screened and this would effect the way I can present the story as the show is before 9 o’clock. This is the 9pm watershed which sensors certain content such as this before 9pm. The defamation law will have an impact on how I can cover this as I will have to present it in a way which will not damage his reputation.


How The Editors Code Will Affect My FMP


“The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text.”

In my FMP I will make sure I don’t publish anything that is inaccurate and will check all information is true. For example in my article about Billy-Lee Dixon I am going to check that the information is correct my using a range of sources. I am also going to watch the interview back and check all the facts.


“Everyone is entitled to respect for his or her private and family life, home, health and correspondence, including digital communications.”

“Editors will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent. In considering an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy”

One of my articles is about a particular person, so I must respect his privacy. For example, I must not publish their contact details onto a public website.


“Journalists must not engage in intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit.”

I will not persistently contact my interviewee and harassing them.


Billy is 17 and therefore I must not intrude on his school life.\



How Will Copyright And Defamation Laws Affect My FMP?

Defamation Law

I will be very careful not to break the defamation law by not publishing anything that could damage billy’s reputation if it is not true.


I will not infringe the copyright law by crediting who took the photo. Also, I will credit myself if I have taken the photo myself. If I use music, I would need to use copyright free music. If it is not for public publication, I could use copyrighted music. If it is a live recording I have taken myself it is not copyrighted.


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