Ethical And Legal Constraints Within The Media Sector

Ethical and legal constraints are vast, here I discuss some that are relevant to and within the media sector.

Ethical And Legal Constraints Relevant To Media Sector


Ethical problems in the media is often being publicly correct to the current common moral principles. It also relates to the standard of welfare given to both the industry and it’s products.

Race relations Act 1984

We’ve come a long way from movies such as “Songs of the South” (that Disney tried to semi-successfully bury in their somewhat shady passed, of raciest and sexist themes) where audiences didn’t blink at bigotry then but there is a reason it was never re-released.

The Race Relations Act 1984 and it was established by our parliament to prevent discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. It is applicable to the employment sector, education and public functions and the media.

Libel Law 

Libel Law futures Race Relations only this states that there be no slander or defamation aimed at one particular, individual or group. This will stop media outlets from misrepresenting or smearing real people or organisations outside of satire.



Copyright (“©“) is applied to literary, artistic, musical and filmography works as well as sound and typography arrangements. It allows for the creators to maintain rights in ownership to their work and prohibits unauthorised actions using said works from third parties. Legal action can be taken for any infringement or plagiarism.


Trademarks (“TM” or “®”) is very similar to Copyright only it applies to a sign, design which is identified with companies and for that reason are often remarked as “service marks”. Words can also be Trademarked, for example DC and Marvel have a joint Trademark on “Superheroes”.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (“IP”) refers to intangible property such as patents (designs), and both Trademarks and Copyrights.

Codes of Practice

Codes of Practice is set guidelines for how people work in different industries should behave, that is approved by the Secretary of State and put into place before Parliament. However though the Code may be used as evidence for legal proceedings it does not have to be imposed by employers.


Section 39 of the 2010 Act and in Northern Ireland under article 6 of the 1997 Order: employers –

  • “cannot discriminate against potential or an existing worker because of race (2010 Act) or on racial grounds (1997 Order). Race and racial grounds include colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins”. The discrimination can be either direct or indirect.


  • “You must also not subject a job applicant or worker to harassment.

    Harassment is unwanted conduct related to age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation that violates someone’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.
    Harassment also includes unwanted conduct of a sexual nature which violates someone’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.”


  • “Take reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and of others who may be affected by what they do or do not do”.


  • “Not misuse any equipment that is provided for safety purposes (eg fire extinguishers or safety goggles)”.


For regulations in the media sector, click here.


Ethical/ constraints in the media/ 2/ 3

Codes of Practice for Employers



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