Mass Media: Misinformation

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 25th October 2021.

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Photo of Munira Wilson Munira Wilson Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to help ensure that (a) TV news broadcasters and (b) print news outlets report responsibly to reduce the negative impact of panic-buying.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

The government is committed to a free and independent media. It is not appropriate for the government to arbitrate on what should or should not be published or broadcast.

Ofcom is the UK’s independent regulator of television services. The Ofcom Broadcasting Code covers standards in programmes and has rules to ensure that broadcast news is reported with due accuracy and impartiality​. The government does not interfere in broadcasters’ editorial decisions and it is for content makers to decide what to include in their programmes, provided that they comply with the Broadcasting Code.

There is also an independent self regulatory regime to ensure that the press adheres to a wider set of clear and appropriate standards, and to offer individuals a means of redress where these are not met. The regulators, IPSO and IMPRESS, enforce codes of conduct which provide guidelines on a range of areas, including discrimination, accuracy, privacy, and harassment. If they find that a newspaper has broken the code of conduct, they can order corrections. IPSO can also order critical adjudications and Impress can levy fines.

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