2. Ensuring that a wide range of electronic communications services including high speed data services – is available throughout the UK;
3. Ensuring a wide range of TV and radio services of high quality and wide appeal;
4. Maintaining plurality in the provision of broadcasting;
5. Applying adequate protection for audiences against offensive or harmful material;
6. Applying adequate protection for audiences against unfairness or the infringement of privacy.
Ofcom: An evaluation of UK Broadcast journalism regulation of news and current affairs is an article by Christ Frost and talks about ethics in UK journalism. According to the author, Ofcom is the broadcasting regulatory of the UK which came into existence in 2003. The body is setup under communications ACT, and some of the duties include; ensuring that there is optimal use of electro-magnetic spectrum, high-quality range of electric communications, and protecting audiences against infringement of privacy and privacy. This literature aims at looking at Ofcom’s activities about its functions in the UK. The literature particularly identifies the trends in complaints issued against Ofcom and give necessary recommendations on changes that can be made. In the UK, when people want to complain about unfair treatment or the standards of broadcasting, they complain to Ofcom. According to the author, for a complaint to be made, a form has to be ordered by phone, or by post and can also be downloaded online. Once Ofcom receives the complaint they review and when a case is established they forward to a broadcaster so that a response is given. When a response is given, Ofcom upholds or resolves the dispute. If a dispute is not resolved, Ofcom makes arrangements on adjudication. In regards to cases which are more serious, more serious consequences are involved. This may include suspension of license, financial fines or penalties. Ofcom also gathers data and publishes reports after every fortnight and annually on complaints and statistics gathered (Frost, 2012 pg. 34-50).
This piece also talks about Ofcom’s broadcasting code which requires them to have a code, which complaints can be measured against. The codes are legislated under The broadcasting Act Commission. Different issues have drawn some complaints with Jerry Springer being the first. It was said to be blasphemous .47, 000 complaints. Other shows have also attracted complaints based on racism and breaches of privacy.
Under the statute, Ofcom has the power to issue sanctions. This distinguishes it from the Press complaints commission. From years of dealing with issues arising from media, Frost asserts that there is no research that shows certain penalties were effective in enforcing good practice. However, sanctions are seen as good. Recent outcries have left observers wondering as to whether Ofcom should have the role of regulating media, or there should be joint regulation when it comes to press and tabloids. Ofcom has been effective in regulating broadcasting with reduced incidences and non-compliance. Therefore, journalism has improved and reduced the number of complaints. The breaches have seen mostly come from error in judgment and misunderstandings.
The author of this article focuses on the Laws covering regulation in UK ad majorly Ofcom as a regulator. The author mentions Broadcasting Commission which works in parallel with Ofcom, but Ofcom has a greater reach and powers when it comes to regulating the media. Ofcom’ s role seems to be key in regulating Media in the U.K., protecting privacy and promoting responsible broadcasting. This article portrays a regulatory body which does much for the broadcasting in the UK. The author succeeds in showing how journalism ethical standards are achieved. A broadcaster who does not stick to ethics does not go unpunished.
This article passes its message clearly to the target audience and most importantly, covers most of the policies involved in regulating media. These legislations give a wider perspective in educating the audience the basis of Ofcom’s regulations and the extent. This literature is also informative on the processes involved in media regulation. This is an excellent piece, and it is very informative on ethics and journalism. However, the author should have also talked more about other existing bodies like Broadcasting Cooperation. Given the above, the participation of media owners in the regulation can be important to prevent biases from Ofcom. Also, regulations can be put in place to regulate press and tabloids. This is because when broadcasters are checked, on one hand, not regulating press and tabloids could also lead to the negative impacts being avoided as they also spread information.
Frost, C., 2012. Ofcom: An evaluation of UK broadcast journalism regulation of news and current affairs. Ethical Space, 9(1), pp.22-31.
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