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Key Points

Encouraging or Inciting Crime

  • Programmes must not contain material that is likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime, or lead to disorder.
  • Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.
  • Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television and radio services except where it is justified by the context.
  • Descriptions or demonstrations of criminal techniques which contain essential details which could enable the commission of crime must not be broadcast unless editorially justified.

Payments

  • Confessed or convicted criminals should not be paid (or benefit financially in some other way) for interviews about their crimes unless it is in the public interest to do so.
  • Any programmes featuring convicted or confessed criminals should be referred to the legal & compliance department for early advice. No payment or commitment to pay a criminal should be made before this has been approved by the commissioning editor and programme lawyer.
  • In criminal legal proceedings, no payment or promise of payment may be made to a witness or potential witness until proceedings have ceased, that is the defendant has been convicted or acquitted. Only actual expenditure or loss of earnings necessarily incurred during the making of a programme contribution may be reimbursed.
  • Where criminal legal proceedings have not commenced but are likely and foreseeable, for example following an undercover investigation into criminal activity, payments to those who reasonably may be expected to become a witness should only be made if it is in the public interest, for example the criminal activity could not reasonably have been uncovered without the payment being made. Where such a payment is made the Code states that the payment should be disclosed to both the defence and the prosecution if the person goes on to become a witness in any subsequent trial.

Under 18s

  • When reporting on legal proceedings, any under 18s involved must not be identified, even indirectly, where to do so would breach the law. Even when reporting on pre-trial investigations where there is no legal prohibition on identifying under 18s, careful consideration should be given to the position of potentially vulnerable young people and children before identifying them or broadcasting personal details about them.