With the forthcoming General Election Ofcom has reminded stations and licence holders where to find information about the Broadcasting Code rules which apply during election and referendum periods.

During election periods special impartiality rules apply and they are set out in Section Six of the Code:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/elections/

The relevant Guidance Notes are at:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/guidance/831193/section6.pdf

In particular, please note that Ofcom has recently published the list of major parties applicable for the May 2015 elections:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/guidance/major-parties.pdf

At ALL times there are rules which apply to broadcasters concerning ‘due impartiality’ and ‘due accuracy’ and ‘undue prominence of views and opinions on matters of political or industrial controversy and matters relating to current public policy’.

These rules are included in Section Five of the Broadcasting Code:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/broadcasting/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code/impartiality/

The Section Five guidance notes are at:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/broadcast/guidance/831193/section5.pdf

Please also see the recent note to broadcasters Ofcom published in the Broadcast Bulletin 275 (p10):

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/enforcement/broadcast-bulletins/obb275/Issue275.pdf

In addition, you may find of interest the slideshow below which outlines Ofcom’s various election rules.

If you would find it helpful to have informal guidance on Sections Five and Six of the Code, you can contact Ofcom directly (adam.baxter@ofcom.org.uk).


Updated by Bill Best on 30 March 2015.