Comply with codes of conduct, regulations and standards when working in journalism

Business Sectors (Suites): Journalism
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 31 Mar 2019


This Standard is about complying with the regulatory framework which governs the practice of journalism in the UK in order to meet minimum standards of ethical behaviour. It involves knowing and respecting the content of employers’ codes of conduct and organisational guidelines which are intended to ensure or exceed compliance with the regulatory framework. It requires an understanding that failure to achieve these high professional standards jeopardises the credibility of each organisation and content and undermines the trust which is an essential component of audiences’ relationships with journalists and all other content providers. This Standard applies to all those working in journalism.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

1. comply with relevant regulatory requirements and industry codes of conduct at all times 2. make sure that any news content you produce is impartial and accurate 3. make sure fairness is maintained in the treatment of individual’s and organisations’ content and outputs in which you are involved 4. follow codes and guidelines to obtain any required consent from contributors to content, make sure you can justify the inclusion of any material with the potential to give offence to some audience members in terms of its context at all times 5. gain appropriate permission for any act of surreptitious or covert recording, trespass or clandestine acquisition of documents 6. respond to complaints in line with relevant legal obligations and your organisation’s code of conduct 7. keep accurate, legible and comprehensive notes of research or interview material for the period stipulated in employers’ codes of conduct or guidelines 8. declare any potential conflicts of interest in terms of the subject matter with which you are dealing in line with codes of conduct or guidelines 9. seek the advice of qualified and experienced people when dealing with any ethical uncertainty

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the role of regulators including Ofcom and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code as it applies to broadcast journalists and The Editor’s Code of Practice, IPSO and Impress for print/online journalists

  2. your employers’ in-house codes of conduct, content and programme guidelines, and complaints’ procedures

  3. the issues of equality and diversity in relation to journalism and how to assess the impact that content and other outputs can have on them

  4. the considerations when assessing online material from non-regulated internet sources

  5. the dangers and benefits of surreptitious recording of material including when, and when not, to disclose your recording activity – whether for journalistic or entertainment purposes

  6. when it is permissible to intrude on individual privacy in the public or national interest

  7. how to decide whether and who to interview, and when it is appropriate to withdraw

  8. codes and organisational content guidelines relating to material that may give offence

  9. when it is necessary to seek editorial or legal guidance - and how to obtain it within your organisation or  independently

  10. how to assess potential conflicts of interest and why you should not use confidential information gained in the course of your work to benefit your own or associates’ private interests
  11. when and how to cover acts of terrorism, civil protest, or public disorder, and when you should stop such coverage
  12. whether your reporting exacerbates a situation or aggravates the plight of civilians and, if so, how this might be justifiable
  13. when and how you should give humanitarian assistance


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2022





Originating Organisation

Screen Skills (formerly Creative Skillset)

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Media and Communication, Media Associate Professionals

SOC Code



Codes, conduct, guidelines, legal, advice