About the Commission
The Commission Members
News Releases & Annual
Codes of Guidance
Monitoring, research and reporting
The Broadcasting Standards Commission is the statutory body for both tandards and fairness in broadcasting. It is the only organisation within the regulatory framework of UK broadcasting to cover all television and radio, both terrestrial and satellite. This includes text, cable and digital services. It has three main tasks, as established by the Broadcasting Act, 1996. These are:
~ to produce codes of conduct relating to standards and fairness;
~ to consider and adjudicate on complaints;
~ to monitor, research and report on standards and fairness in broadcasting.
Codes of guidance
The codes on standards and fairness give guidance on good practice which all broadcasters and their regulators are required to reflect. Research and consultation provide the basis for these guidelines. You can download a copy of our codes of guidance by going to our Publications List.
Monitoring, researching and reporting
The Commission monitors the standards of UK and transfrontier broadcasting and, through a programme of independent research, reports on the attitudes of the public towards both standards and fairness issues. It may also reports directly to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on any issue arising from its work.
The Commission considers two types of complaints: standards and fairness. It has the power to require recordings of broadcast material and written statements. It may also hold hearings. Its decisions are published regularly and broadcasters must report any action they have taken as a result. Additionally, the Commission can require broadcasters to publish summaries of its decisions on-air and in a newspaper or magazine.
Anyone who has seen or heard a broadcast can make a complaint about the portrayal of violence, sex or other issues of taste and decency ( such as bad language ). In reaching its decision, the code and research are considered alongside the material and its context.
Only those people with a direct interest in a broadcast can complain of unfair treatment or unwarranted infringement of privacy. The Commissioners always study written exchanges of evidence and may hold a hearing with both the complainant and broadcaster present.
The Commission is accountable to Parliament and each year publishes a full report of its work. It is financed by Government and broadcasters and its accounts are subject to scrutiny by the National Audit Office.
Thirteen Commissioners are responsible for the work of the Commission, chaired by Lord Dubs of Battersea. All are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and serve part-time for a period of three to five years. Their work is supported by a full-time staff managed by the Director, Paul Bolt.