Law and Order: Legal challenges faced by journalists.
Journalists play a vital role in our society, as they uncover truths and share information to regular people. However, there are often barriers legally that stop Journalists. Sometimes these barriers are for the benefit of privacy, but they can also stop a journalist from fulfilling their duty.
When we think of journalism we picture newspapers, blogs, articles or even videos. However, we often do not think about the legal challenges that journalists face. For journalists to follow the rules, they often have to navigate carefully through their stories and work. From entertainment journalism to sports journalism the legal challenges are always present.
The Office of communications, more commonly known as Ofcom, is the Government approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the United Kingdom. Ofcom are a powerful force within the United Kingdom, holding much power over telecommunications, television, radio and the postal sector. Every year Ofcom receive thousands of complaints for the general public- in 2019 they assessed 28,000 complaints. In 2019 Ofcom revealed that an episode of Big Brother received 28,000 complaints making it the most complained about show of the decade. With Ofcoms broadcasting code they stand as an authority figure legally for television and radio, also covering radio and television journalism.
in 2013 the Defamation Act was passed, this completely changed how journalists write stories and go about their job. This new defamation act meant that a statement that could harm someone’s reputation or change the perception people have of them could be taken into court as a libel case. In 2020 we saw Johnny Depp take the Sun Newspaper to court over defamation. The Sun released a statement in one of their newspapers accusing Johnny Depp of domestic violence, he then proceeded to claim this was defamation. Evidently, this shows that newspapers and journalists can be taken to court for defamation and it happens across different forms of journalism.
Journalists have lots of rules and laws to follow if they are working with children, for example there are extra privacy laws. Moreover, if they are working or writing an article within a school setting- they must obtain the right to do so. Writing articles about children, makes a journalists job even harder in the face of law.
With journalists being there too provide information to the public and reveal the truth, should there be limits on journalism? Or should they have the freedom to reveal the information they have, and inform the citizens? Remaining within the limits of the law is essential for journalists in the modern day.