(A code Issued on 20 September 1999 by the BSA, a statutory body)
To ensure that the relevant privacy principles are readily available, all seven principles which have been applied so far by the Authority when determining privacy complaints under the Broadcasting Act 1989 are listed below.
The Authority also reiterates the following comments from the Advisory Opinion issued on 25 June 1992 as they continue to be relevant:
These principles are not necessarily the only privacy principles that the Authority will apply;
The principles may well require elaboration and refinement when applied to a complaint;
The specific facts of each complaint are especially important when privacy is an issue.
Relevant Privacy Principles
i) The protection of privacy includes protection against the public disclosure of private facts where the facts disclosed are highly offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.
ii) The protection of privacy also protects against the public disclosure of some kinds of public facts. The "public" facts contemplated concern events (such as criminal behaviour) which have, in effect, become private again, for example through the passage of time. Nevertheless, the public disclosure of public facts will have to be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
iii) There is a separate ground for a complaint, in addition to a complaint for the public disclosure of private and public facts, in factual situations involving the intentional interference (in the nature of prying) with an individual’s interest in solitude or seclusion. The intrusion must be offensive to the ordinary person but an individual’s interest in solitude or seclusion does not provide the basis for a privacy action for an individual to complain about being observed or followed or photographed in a public place.
iv) The protection of privacy also protects against the disclosure of private facts to abuse, denigrate or ridicule personally an identifiable person. This principle is of particular relevance should a broadcaster use the airwaves to deal with a private dispute. However, the existence of a prior relationship between the broadcaster and the named individual is not an essential criterion.
v) The protection of privacy includes the protection against the disclosure by the broadcaster, without consent, of the name and/or address and/or telephone number of an identifiable person. This principle does not apply to details which are public information, or to news and current affairs reporting, and is subject to the "public interest" defence in principle (vi).
vi) Discussing the matter in the "public interest", defined as of legitimate concern or interest to the public, is a defence to an individual’s claim for privacy.
vii) An individual who consents to the invasion of his or her privacy, cannot later succeed in a claim for a breach of privacy. Children’s vulnerability must be a prime concern to broadcasters. When consent is given by the child, or by a parent or someone in loco parentis, broadcasters shall satisfy themselves that the broadcast is in the best interest of the child.