These Guidelines are designed to cover compliance issues and the ‘rules' to be observed by “Designated Organisations” (D.Orgs) in producing Referendum Campaign Broadcasts (RCBs). While D.Orgs are responsible for the content of the broadcasts, they are required to observe the following guidelines, which have been agreed between the broadcasters and will be applied equally to all D.Orgs. They are designed to reconcile the editorial standards of the broadcasters and their audiences' expectations with the freedom of D.Orgs to convey their political messages, and to ensure that these are met on all outlets.
All broadcasts must observe the law - for example, on copyright, libel, contempt, obscenity, incitement to racial hatred or violence.
All broadcasts must comply with the Ofcom Broadcasting Code , and the provisions of the BBC Editorial Guidelines, that relate to harm and offence (Chapter 5 of the BBC Editorial Guidelines) and fairness and privacy (Chapters 6 & 7 of the BBC Editorial Guidelines), having regard to the political context of the broadcast.
Subject to the matters set out above, accuracy is the responsibility of the D.Org making the broadcasts.
The D.Org responsible for the broadcast will indemnify the broadcaster for all legal or regulatory actions resulting from the contents of the referendum broadcast.
Impartiality is achieved over the series of RCBs as a whole, according to the designation of the Electoral Commission. There is, of course, no obligation on the D.Orgs to achieve impartiality within each broadcast.
Third Party Footage & Images
Subject to the Rules of Coverage for the respective institutions, extracts of recordings from proceedings in the Westminster Parliament, the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly of Wales, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the London Assembly may be used featuring a speech or extract by a member supporting that D.Org, where that member’s consent has been obtained. Wide shots of the chambers of the National Assembly of Wales, Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly are allowed, but wide shots of Westminster are not.
Extracts from party conference speeches featuring a supporter of the D.Org and with the speaker's consent may be used and can be bought in the normal way from the broadcasters.
Archive or news clips of members of any other D.Org should not be included. This applies to both visual and audio material alike. Undistorted stills are allowed.
No member of the public should be featured prominently or in an identifiable manner in a broadcast, without that person's explicit consent. This includes the use of all footage (including archive or “stock” shots) where individuals are identifiable, to make or illustrate a specific political point or policy, or to suggest that such persons support that particular point or policy. Broadcasters may require the D Org to produce confirmation of that consent.
Other Content Issues
Shots which include broadcasters in vision or in voice are not permissible.
The use of actors in a broadcast must be made clear to the audience if there is any possibility that the audience could be confused or misled by their appearance. The same applies to reconstructions.
D.Orgs must consult with individual broadcasters at least one week before transmission if they are planning to use any phone or text numbers. No revenue-generating telephone numbers are to be used in a broadcast. Appeals for members of the audience to contact the designated organisation at the end of the broadcast by telephone, e-mail etc are allowed but direct appeals for funds as in, “Have your credit cards handy”, are not.
RCBs which closely mimic the format of established programmes on any channel, particularly news programmes, run the risk of misleading the audience and therefore they must be clearly labelled throughout.
Straight news footage featuring prominent supporters of the D.Org making the RCB may be purchased from broadcasters in the usual way but clips which identify the programme in which they featured, on screen logos, theme music or the voice or face of a presenter/reporter will not be allowed, nor will footage featuring supporters from the opposing D.Org.
Broadcasts should be delivered via digital file following the common technical standards agreed by the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and ITV for these broadcasters (except S4C). Broadcasts for other broadcasters ( S4C) should be delivered on digi-beta tapes.
Broadcasts should be in widescreen format (16x9 full height anamorphic). The sound should be in stereo. The broadcast master material should be delivered together with two DVD copies to each broadcaster carrying the broadcast. Delivery requirements and addresses should be checked directly with each of the broadcasters individually.
The digital files or tapes, transcripts and details of any music used must be delivered by 10am three working days prior to transmission. Broadcasts scheduled to be transmitted on a Monday must be delivered no later than 10am the preceding Wednesday. Please note, Bank Holidays are not a working day.
See the websites of the individual broadcasters for full technical specifications:
For BBC TV:
For technical specifications , please see ‘Technical Standards for Delivery of Television Programmes to BBC’ (please note in particular Section 4, ‘File Delivery Requirements’). This document is available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guidelines/dq/contents/television.shtml (see ‘Television Delivery to Network Programmes’).