Nowadays, knowledge of media law is a basic requirement in the recruitment process to radio station. Therefore, as a reporter – you are required to read this carefully and apply. This document contains issues in the field: defamation, content of court and Data protection.
As a reporter you can be sued for slander (on radio station your news is spoken). It will happen if you do not follow the relevant rules. The most important principle is: you have to check your stories at least twice before you broadcast them. The most common reason of slander cases arise from journalists due to not checking their facts or even not be able to prove their facts. English law clearly explains when it comes to defamation – a defamatory statement is one that affects the reputation of person, organization or company, in other words adversely affects the claimant’s reputation. As a reporter you have to be aware to not expose someone to be hatred or contempt. If you cause someone to be avoided, you can also be sued for that. Unfortunately, this is connected with an order for damages and costs which are extremely huge. If you do not have relevant proof, you cannot disparage someone in their business, profession or trade. The Defamation Act 2013 is very strict – even if only you slander someone on air, everyone who helped you broadcast it can potentially be sued: the editor, the distributor, the broadcaster.
While you are preparing your news bulletin, you probably use another sources of media to find some facts. You should remember to verify them as well, because if it contains libel – you can also be sued for “fresh publication”. Not checking facts before publication, car...
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...e use if you did not know that the case is still active. Fair and accurate contemporary reports and discussion of public affairs.
Finally, as a journalist you need to protect personal data every person you are talking about on air. Data protection can be categorized by three groups: sensitive personal data, personal data and non-personal data. The first one contains: race, ethnicity, sex life, health. Second one: home addresses, salary, phone number and the third one: number of children, company address or photos of individuals on the crowded street. As a reporter you need to take care of this information. Not protecting them is a criminal offence. According to the Act, data must be handled for limited purposes, has to be relevant, up-to-date, kept no longer then necessary and kept secure.
Failure to follow these instructions can result in costs and imprisonment.
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