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Communications Act 2003

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319OFCOM’s standards codeE+W+S+N.I.
This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

(1)It shall be the duty of OFCOM to set, and from time to time to review and revise, such standards for the content of programmes to be included in television and radio services as appear to them best calculated to secure the standards objectives.

(2)The standards objectives are—

(a)that persons under the age of eighteen are protected;

(b)that material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services;

(c)that news included in television and radio services is presented with due impartiality and that the impartiality requirements of section 320 are complied with;

(d)that news included in television and radio services is reported with due accuracy;

(e)that the proper degree of responsibility is exercised with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes;

(f)that generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of offensive and harmful material;

(g)that advertising that contravenes the prohibition on political advertising set out in section 321(2) is not included in television or radio services;

(h)that the inclusion of advertising which may be misleading, harmful or offensive in television and radio services is prevented;

(i)that the international obligations of the United Kingdom with respect to advertising included in television and radio services are complied with;

(j)that the unsuitable sponsorship of programmes included in television and radio services is prevented;

(k)that there is no undue discrimination between advertisers who seek to have advertisements included in television and radio services; and

(l)that there is no use of techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred.

(3)The standards set by OFCOM under this section must be contained in one or more codes.

(4)In setting or revising any standards under this section, OFCOM must have regard, in particular and to such extent as appears to them to be relevant to the securing of the standards objectives, to each of the following matters—

(a)the degree of harm or offence likely to be caused by the inclusion of any particular sort of material in programmes generally, or in programmes of a particular description;

(b)the likely size and composition of the potential audience for programmes included in television and radio services generally, or in television and radio services of a particular description;

(c)the likely expectation of the audience as to the nature of a programme’s content and the extent to which the nature of a programme’s content can be brought to the attention of potential members of the audience;

(d)the likelihood of persons who are unaware of the nature of a programme’s content being unintentionally exposed, by their own actions, to that content;

(e)the desirability of securing that the content of services identifies when there is a change affecting the nature of a service that is being watched or listened to and, in particular, a change that is relevant to the application of the standards set under this section; and

(f)the desirability of maintaining the independence of editorial control over programme content.

(5)OFCOM must ensure that the standards from time to time in force under this section include—

(a)minimum standards applicable to all programmes included in television and radio services; and

(b)such other standards applicable to particular descriptions of programmes, or of television and radio services, as appear to them appropriate for securing the standards objectives.

(6)Standards set to secure the standards objective specified in subsection (2)(e) shall, in particular, contain provision designed to secure that religious programmes do not involve—

(a)any improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of the audience for such a programme; or

(b)any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination.

(7)In setting standards under this section, OFCOM must take account of such of the international obligations of the United Kingdom as the Secretary of State may notify to them for the purposes of this section.

(8)In this section “news” means news in whatever form it is included in a service.

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