Journalism

“In a modern, developed society it is only a small minority of citizens who can participate directly in the discussions and decisions which shape the public life of that society. The majority can participate only indirectly, by exercising their rights as citizens to vote, express their opinions, make representations to the authorities, form pressure groups and so on. But the majority cannot participate in the public life of their society in these ways if they are not alerted to and informed about matters which call or may call for consideration and action. It is very largely through the media, including of course the press, that they will be so alerted and informed. The proper functioning of a modern participatory democracy requires that the media be free, active, professional and enquiring.”
Senior Law Lord, Lord Bingham (House of Lords 2000).

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) in the UK used to produce “Guideline Notes” and the “Editors Code of Practice”. These guidelines served as a useful starting point on how to approach news related coverage. Go to; www.pcc.org.uk. The PCC officially closed on 8th September 2014. The last code of practice guidelines from the PCC is dated 2012, but still available to download from the site at the time this was published.

After the Levenson inquiry into press standards a new body has been set up to deal with press regulation and complaints which replaces the PCC. The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is the new industry watchdog; www.ipso.co.uk. Currently it is a matter of choice whether any publication signs up to IPSO. It is too early to know what effect this body will have on press standards and freedom, as well as dealing with complaints against the press.

These developments however have minimal influence over independent television and radio media which are regulated by a different body by statute (an act of Parliament). The broadcast industry is regulated by the Office of Communications (Ofcom). However, many aspects of Ofcoms’ Codes of Practice relate closely to the old PCC guidelines. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is covered by a Royal Charter as well as Parliament. Complaints against the BBC (inaccuracy and impartiality) would be dealt with by the Editorial Complaints Unit. Though unhappy viewers / participants can still contact Ofcom about complaints, or if unsatisfied by the response from the BBC directly.




CITIZEN JOURNALISM

This is a recent “catchall” term for people who may regularly film, photograph and/or report on events both local and national. It can include those with professional equipment, mobile phones, or a notepad. To upload to the internet, either video, or pictures, or write a blog, contribute to a website. Conveying and sharing information as quickly as possible without the use of official news-desks and broadcasters. Often, if not crucially from the perspective of a concerned citizen who just happens to have a camera.

Broadcasters are increasingly looking for the media out there produced by people “on the street”. How many times has a news item come about because of footage uploaded to YouTube, or some other social media site. Or a mainstream news item is given a fresh angle because media surfaces from a mobile phone?

Another feature of this method and the immediacy of the media, it is often not edited and just raw looking video which can contribute to the sense of a live, or virtually live event to give people the


(cont/d) information almost first hand to witness themselves. However it works there is no dispute that it is a growing area of news gathering and distribution. It is a consequence of technology and the ability to convey information.

A number of broadcast media will ask those with media to sign away their rights with dodgy terms and conditions. DO NOT give your work away, it undermines yours and other peoples rights to earn a living.

As someone with a camera you will inevitably at some point be seen as “the enemy” or a nuisance and therefore a target for protesters, police, bailiffs, security personnel and general public. Patience is a virtue, but with this in mind protective clothing may be required in some circumstances (see; equipment - news gathering).

Ironically almost all media used to criminalise protesters and others comes from police Evidence Gatherers and CCTV cameras. So taking out doubts and distrust on those who work at ground level will not solve the problem at all and actually mean that events with social, and historical value will only exist from the point of view of the police EG’s and CCTV.

The Journalist has a responsibility to document events and any failure by any news gatherers reflects on all others.




For information of legal issues when filming in the U.K go to; Legal (U.K)

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