Producers Handbook


See also 'Crime FAQ's'


A. Television programmes and rushes are deemed to be 'journalistic material' and, as such, are given special protection in law from seizure by the police. If the police want to obtain such material, they must apply to a judge. If the police ask for your footage, politely inform them that the footage is journalistic material and that they must put their request in writing to Channel 4's legal and compliance department. At the first available opportunity, you should make contact with your programme lawyer or another lawyer in the legal and compliance department to inform them what has happened.


A. Whilst there is no legal duty to provide information to the police for their inquiries save in exceptional circumstances (if it relates to a breach of section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 regarding national security, or it relates to terrorist offences), you must never be dishonest or attempt to mislead the police in their enquiries, as this may constitute an attempt to pervert the course of justice - a criminal offence. If you are approached by the police in relation to any programme-making activities, contact the programme lawyer (or another lawyer in the legal and compliance department) immediately.

A. Wherever possible, this should be agreed by the broadcaster in advance. However, where an undertaking has been given to a source by a programme-maker, once it appears that such an undertaking may also become binding on Channel 4, programme-makers must immediately notify their commissioning editor, who will consult with the programme lawyer and, if necessary, refer the matter up editorially. Where there is the possibility that any undertaking may conflict with the law, for example an unqualified undertaking of anonymity has been given to a source by a journalist, this will be referred up to Channel 4's most senior editorial executive who may refer the matter to the board of directors. Generally, programme makers and journalists should not make such unqualified undertakings before contacting and seeking the approval of the broadcaster.