What content has to comply with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code?

All broadcast output is regulated. Programmes (whether commissioned or acquired), trailers for programmes and continuity announcements must comply with the Code.

The Code acknowledges the importance of freedom of expression but points out that with those rights come responsibilities. The Code has 9 key sections containing "Principles" and "Rules":



  1. Protecting the under-eighteen's;
  2. Harm and offence;
  3. Crime;
  4. Religion;
  5. Due impartiality;
  6. Elections and referendums;
  7. Fairness;
  8. Privacy;
  9. Commercial references in TV programming


Ofcom publishes and regularly updates guidance on areas of the Code. Ofcom also publishes a Broadcast Bulletin every two weeks setting out its published adjudications for both standards complaints and fairness and privacy cases.

This Handbook incorporates the latest rules and guidance and is updated at regular intervals.