Choosing a Standard
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Which standard is relevant to my concerns?
There are four Broadcasting Codes of Practice (for radio, free-to-air TV, pay TV and election programmes in an election period). They contain 'standards' outlining what’s required of broadcasters.
When making your complaint, you need to choose the standards that best fit your concerns – the Authority will not consider any that are not applicable and you can’t change or add standards at a later stage in the process.
See the explanations below to help you choose the most relevant standard(s).
Good Taste and Decency
May relate to offensive language, sexual material, nudity, violence or anything else that might cause offence or distress in the context of a programme.
Primarily concerned with appropriate use of classifications, timebands and advisories (including warnings).
Relates to children as viewers, not participants. It is mainly concerned with steps taken to protect children, such as through the use of warnings, classifications and scheduling (eg during or outside children's normal viewing or listening times).
Broadcasters must exercise 'care and discretion' when dealing with violence. This standard requires violence to be appropriate to the context of the broadcast (such as the time of day, warnings and the nature of the programme).
Law and Order
Applies to broadcasts that encourage viewers to break the law or otherwise promote criminal or serious antisocial activity.
Discrimination and Denigration
Only applies to discrimination/denigration directed at specified sections of the community, not individuals. A high level of condemnation is generally required to find a breach.
Concerned with whether a broadcast amounted to 'alcohol promotion' and, if so, whether this was socially responsible.
Only applies to news, current affairs or factual programming which discusses a controversial issue of public importance. Broadcasters must make reasonable efforts to present competing viewpoints about important issues.
Only applies to news, current affairs or factual programming. Programmes should be accurate in relation to 'material points of fact' and should not mislead.
Only applies to identifiable individuals featured in the broadcast or directly affected by it. Key issues include whether a person had a reasonable expectation of privacy, whether private information was disclosed and whether the disclosure or intrusion was highly offensive.
Concerned with fairness to individuals or organisations taking part or referred to in a programme. Key issues include informed consent, informed participation and reasonable opportunity to comment.