Search Legislation

Communications Act 2003

Section 393: General restrictions on disclosure of information

854.With the exception of information obtained in accordance with section 196 of the Broadcasting Act 1990 (powers of entry and search, under which stricter rules apply), this section imposes limits on the disclosure of information relating to the affairs of any particular business obtained under this Act, the other enactments relating to the management of the radio spectrum and the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996. Subsection (1) prohibits the disclosure of such information while the business in question is still being carried on, unless consent has been obtained from the person carrying on that business.

855.Subsections (2) to (5) provide for a limited number of exemptions from this prohibition where the disclosure satisfies certain criteria. Examples of exempt disclosures include those required to facilitate the carrying out by OFCOM of their duties; disclosures necessary for the carrying out by Ministers, the OFT, the Competition Commission, the Consumer Panel or the Welsh Authority of duties under this Act or other specified enactments; and disclosures made in connection with civil proceedings brought under this Act or other specified enactments.

856.In addition, subsection (6) provides that this section will not (i) limit information that may be published by OFCOM under sections 15 and 26 as results of research or as information or advice, in the Secretary of state’s annual report under section 390 or in reports by OFCOM under any other provision of this Act or the Office of Communications Act 2002; (ii) prevent the disclosure of information for the purposes of a report of legal proceedings or (iii) apply to any information that has already been published or made public under (i) or (ii).

857.Subsection (10) makes it an offence for any person to disclose information in contravention of this section.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources