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Key Points

  • Any infringement of privacy in programmes, or in connection with obtaining material, must be warranted e.g. by consent, or that it’s in the public interest.
  • Consent. Most filming (and broadcast) involves an infringement of privacy and, therefore, should normally be done with consent. Even when filming in public places, individuals may have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
  • Suffering and distress. When reporting on emergencies, accidents or personal tragedy, the public interest in reporting and right to freedom of expression must be balanced with the need to be compassionate and the privacy of those involved.
  • 'Doorstepping' or interviews without prior arrangement should not take place unless an interview has been refused, it has not been possible to request an interview or it's likely that contacting the subject will frustrate the purpose of the programme.
  • Secret filming and recordings. All secret filming and recording (except for entertainment purposes) must comply with the Code and be justifiable by the public interest.
  • Secret filming for entertainment purposes where there is no public interest should only be undertaken where it is editorially justified and does not amount to a significant infringement of privacy such as to cause annoyance, distress or embarrassment. Informed consent must be given by those filmed before material can be broadcast.
  • Revealing private information without consent is likely to infringe privacy and is only likely to be justifiable if the public interest in revealing the information 'outweighs' the privacy infringement.
  • Broadcasters must pay particular regard to the privacy of people under 16. Those under 16 do not lose their right to privacy because of the fame or notoriety of their parents.