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Navigating Broadcast Regulations During the UK General Election

At The Relations Group we specialise in strategic broadcast PR placements and understanding regulatory compliance. We can help you navigate election programming requirements and broadcast regulations during the general election effectively.


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As the UK gears up for the General Election on July 4th, 2024, it's crucial for broadcasters to adhere to Ofcom's strict guidelines to ensure fair and impartial coverage. Here's a breakdown of the key points on broadcast regulations during the general election from Ofcom's recent guidance on election programming.


Heightened "Due Impartiality" Requirements

During election periods, broadcasters must comply with heightened due impartiality rules as outlined in Sections Five and Six of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code. These rules mandate balanced coverage of political issues and require broadcasters to present a wide range of significant views.


Key Sections to Note:

  • Section Five (Due Impartiality and Due Accuracy): Ensures that news coverage is impartial and accurate at all times.

  • Section Six (Elections and Referendums): Specific rules apply from the date Parliament is dissolved (May 30, 2024) until the election concludes.


Politicians as Presenters:

Special rules apply to politicians acting as presenters during the election period:

  • Rule 6.6: Candidates cannot act as news presenters, interviewers, or presenters of any type of programme.

  • Rule 5.3: Politicians not standing in the election may present non-news programmes, but their political allegiance must be disclosed, and impartiality must be maintained.


Editorial Responsibility:

Broadcasters have the editorial freedom to decide how to maintain due impartiality. Techniques include presenting alternative viewpoints, summarizing different perspectives, and challenging interviewees' views.


Conclusion

Adhering to these guidelines is crucial for broadcasters during the election period to ensure fair and balanced coverage. By maintaining strict impartiality and complying with Ofcom's regulations, broadcasters can contribute to a transparent and democratic electoral process. This means as a PR professional you need to be mindful when writing your press releases and cue sheets and when thinking about appropriate and relevant spokespeople in order to get pick up.


We are happy to brainstorm any angles or hot topics you feel could get broadcast coverage and ensure that your views are presented in a broadcast friendly manner.



*For more detailed guidance, refer to Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code and their recent notes to broadcasters published on 23rd MAY 2024 (Click Here) 

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