- Section one:
Family viewing policy, offence to good taste and decency, portrayal of violence and respect for human dignity.
Section 6(1) of the broadcasting act 1990 requires that the ITC does all it can to secure that every licensed service includes nothing in its programmes which offends against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime or lead to disorder or be offensive to public feeling.
- Section two:
Privacy, fairness and gathering of information.
The principles of the right to respect for private and family life and the right to freedom of expression are reflected in Article 8 and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, incorporated into UK law in the Human Rights Act 1998. As a public authority, the ITC must seek to ensure that the guidance given throughout this Code is consistent with Convention principles.
- Section three:
As stated in the foreword, the broadcasting act 1990 makes it the statutory duty of the ITC to draw up, and from time to time review, a code giving guidance as to the rules to be observed for the purpose of preserving due impartiality on the part of licensees as respects matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy. The Impartiality Code relates specifically to Section 6(1)(c) of the Act and is drawn up in accordance with Section 6(3), 6(5) and 6(6). It is published under Section 6(7).
For ease of reference, guidelines relating to the requirement under Section 6(1)(b) that news be presented with due accuracy and impartiality and the requirement under Section 6(4) relating to the views and opinions of persons providing a licensed service are also incorporated here. These are based on the ITC's code making powers under Section 7(1)(c) of the Act as well as those deriving from Section 6(3). Section 47 of the Act allows the ITC to substitute for Section 6(1)(c) a modified requirement in respect of local licensable programme services. Guidance is given in Section 3.8 of the Code.
This section refers mainly to programmes covered by the impartiality requirements: i.e. those dealing with matters of political or industrial controversy, and current public policy. The only exceptions to this are in relation to news (3.4), where the due accuracy requirement relates to news on all topics, and to appearances by politicians and other political activists.
- Section 4:
Party political and parliamentary broadcasting.
Party Political and Party Election Broadcasts
Section 36 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 requires the ITC to ensure that Party Political Broadcasts (PPBs) are included in the regional Channel 3 (ITV), Channel 4 and Channel 5 services. This section of the Code reflects the rules which the ITC has determined in accordance with the Act. Within the terms of these rules, the precise allocation of broadcasts is the responsibility of licensees. Unresolved disputes between licensees and any political party, as to the length, frequency, allocation or scheduling of broadcasts, should be referred by the party or the licensee to the ITC.
- Section five:
Terrorism, crime, anti-social behaviour, etc.
Terrorist or criminal activity
Particular care is required with a programme which carries the views of people or organisations who use or advocate the use of violence or other criminal activity within the British Isles or abroad to attain political or other ends. Programmes must not give the impression of condoning criminal activity, even (or especially) where its seriousness may not be accepted or recognised in every section of society. (See Appendix 4 - Terrorism Act UK 2000.)
- Section six:
Charitable appeals and publicity for charities.
Under Section 7(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1990 the ITC is required to give guidance as to the rules to be observed with respect to appeals for donations. Licensees should also refer to The Charities Act (Appendix 4).
- Seseven seven:
This section applies both to programmes specifically categorised as religious and, where appropriate, to general programmes which deal with religious matters.
Section 6(1)(d) of the Broadcasting Act 1990 requires 'due responsibility' to be exercised with respect to the content of religious programmes. In particular such programmes must not involve:
any improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of those watching the programmes; or
any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination'.
- Section eight:
Commercial references in programmes.
Commercial products or services must not be promoted within programmes.
However the availability of licensee produced materials or services (factsheets, helplines and web sites) that can demonstrate a clear relationship to the content of programmes, can be promoted if editorially justified The licensee must retain the editorial responsibility for these products or services. Books, videos, CD-ROMs, DVDs and music may be promoted only at the end of the programme.
The reference should be brief and confined to the name of the item, its cost and availability. Names of retailers must not be given and no commercial services produced by the licensee or other third parties should be mentioned. Any statement of why the item is a useful addition to the programme must be short and factual.
- Appendix one:
Extracts from the broadcasting act 1990.
The Commission shall do all that they can to secure that every licensed service complies with the following requirements, namely:
A) that nothing is included in its programmes which offends against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime or to lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feeling;
that any news given (in whatever form) in its programmes is presented with due accuracy and impartiality;
that due impartiality is preserved on the part of the person providing the service as respects matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy;
D) that due responsibility is exercised with respect to the content of any of its programmes which are religious programmes, and that in particular any such programmes do not involve -
i) any improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of those watching the programmes; or
ii) any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination; and
that its programmes do not include any technical device which, by using images of very brief duration or by any other means, exploits the possibility of conveying a message to, or otherwise influencing the minds of, persons watching the programmes without being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred.
- Appendix two:
Statement of common principles on the portrayal of violence on television.
- Appendix three:
The broadcasting standards commission.
- Appendix four: