As a journalist I pride myself on my ability to be impartial and uphold a standard of professionalism. This applies to the ethical considerations I make when planning and executing a project of this kind.

During my time at university it has always been drilled into us to consider the ethical codes laid out by various organisations and regulators, in order to apply a level of consistency and morality to our work.

The ethical codes are definitely something which applies to this piece of work. I am following the BBC Editorial Guidelines for this project as I aim to pitch this documentary at BBC Radio 1 Stories.

Section 7 of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines: Privacy
This section states: “The BBC respects privacy and does not infringe it without good reason, wherever in the world it is operating.  The Human Rights Act 1998 gives protection to the privacy of individuals, and private information about them, but balances that with a broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.”

Under Section 7 the BBC states that when reporting on topics involving death and grieving relatives, no person should be pressured to interview. This area of the guidelines normally refers just to interviewing grieving families immediately after an accident or tragic event.

I feel like the above is relevant to my interview with Danny Sweatman about his two brothers who were lost to meningitis. Even though their deaths are not as recent as this section normally refers to, I do think that a certain level of respect and care should be taken when conducting interviews of this type, which is what I think I achieved.

I also feel that it could be relevant to my interview with Melanie Corney, as I was asking her to relive a particularly traumatic and scary time of her life. A level of respect and consideration for her privacy needed to be acknowledged for this interview.

Section 6 of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines: Fairness,Contributors and Consent
This section states: “We should treat our contributors honestly and with respect.  Our commitment to fairness is normally achieved by ensuring that people provide ‘informed consent’ before they participate.  ‘Informed consent’ means that contributors should be in possession of the knowledge that is necessary for a reasoned decision to take part in our content.”

To keep in line with this particular guideline, I have collected signed interview release forms from each of my interviewees and given them all the details to do with my documentary prior to their involvement. I made sure they knew where it was going to be published, how to follow the progress by giving them the links to my social media and this blog, and always asking if they had any questions regarding the project. I also made sure that it was clear that if they had any problems with anything published on any of my platforms to let me know so we can sort out their issues.

Section 18 of the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines: The Law; Copyright and other Intellectual Property Rights
This sections states: “Intellectual property rights includes: copyright, moral rights, performers’ rights, trademarks, patents and designs, rights to prevent ‘passing off’ and breach of confidence.”

Copyright is the main feature of this section that applies to this piece of work. The . restrictions of copyright are covered under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

In order to make sure I am in compliance with this law, I have made sure that all the pictures used in this piece of work are either in the public domain, licensed under creative commons or provided by the author with permission.

For all creative commons pictures I have made sure to keep a record of the author and publish this where required. This information will be submitted alongside all my other paperwork for this assignment.

With regards to music within my actual documentary, this too shall also be copyright free and any attributions will be made where appropriate.


Featured image credit: Orietta.sberla