Journalism defined – in law

I came across this whilst reading Autonomous Mind’s interesting piece about BBC secrecy regarding complaints about climate change coverage.

"The law is an ass" - or not, maybe?

If you look at page 4 of the Scribd document with the email from the Information Commissioner, you’ll find part of the text of a Court of Appeal judgment which sets out a legal definition of journalism:

The Court of Appeal has also helpfully accepted a definition of what constitutes journalism that was introduced in the Information Tribunal. This definition was worded as follows:

“107. The first is the collecting or gathering, writing and verifying of materials for publication.

108. The second is editorial. This involves the exercise of judgement onissues such as:
* the selection, prioritisation and timing of matters for broadcast or  publication,
* the analysis of, and review of individual programmes,
* the provision of context and background to such programmes.

109. The third element is the maintenance and enhancement of thestandards and quality of journalism (particularly with respect toaccuracy, balance and completeness). This may involve the training and development of individual journalists, the mentoring of less experienced  journalists by more experienced colleagues, professional supervision and guidance, and reviews of the standards and quality of particular areas of programme making.”

Right at this moment I’m a little too busy to analyse this, what with my NCTJ Law exam being tomorrow, but when I’ve got a spare moment I’ll examine it in depth. Do share the link, and have a read of the report in full – it’s disappointing to see the BBC hiding behind a loosely-worded exemption.


About Gaz Corfield

B2B reporter, editor, potential entrepreneur, consumer of quality beers.
This entry was posted in Journalism, Useful tips and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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