Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

Media Ethics & Regulation

ICM Professional Diploma Unit

What Are/Is Ethics?

  • Why do journalists need ethics and morals
  • Classical theories
  • Language of morals
  • Press freedom and democracy

Professional Morality and the Public Interest

  • Limits on journalists
  • Truth and accuracy
  • Privacy and media freedom
  • The good journalist
  • Impartiality and objectivity

Vulnerable Groups

  • The mentally ill
  • Elderly
  • Disabled
  • Victims of crimes, disasters etc.
  • Discrimination

Other vulnerable and special groups – and privacy

  • Celebrities
  • Politicians and public figures
  • Witnesses
  • Criminals and offenders


  • The Children Act
  • Interviewing and reporting
  • Filming and identification
  • Rights of children in international law
  • Children involved with social services

Ethics and Newsgathering – sources and confidentiality

  • Privacy and intrusion
  • History of privacy
  • Intrusion and harassment
  • Clandestine listening, secret filming
  • Sources and their protection
  • Payments to sources
  • Bribes, corruption and conflicts of interest
  • Suppression
  • On and off the record
  • Plagiarism
  • Misrepresentation

Taste and Decency/ Harm and Offence

  • Defining taste – what is good taste?
  • What is indecent?
  • Causing offence

Ethics and Regulation – Voluntary and Compulsory

  • How ethics inform regulation and production codes
  • Voluntary regulation – press complaints council
  • Statutory foundation of regulation
  • Other regulatory systems – local (national) and international regulatory codes

Voluntary codes (UK Models)

  • The Press Complaints Commission
  • New Irish Press Council
  • Self regulation
  • NUJ code of conduct
  • Local codes

Statutory Codes (UK Models)

  • Ofcom programme code
  • The Production Guide – Channel 4 Channel 5 producers
  • BBC producers guidelines
  • Local codes

Publishing Ethics

  • Plagiarism
  • Editing pictures
  • Manipulating visual images
  • Editing text and quotes
  • Headlines
  • Taste and decency
  • Conflicts of interest

Ethics and the Internet

  • In the internet – the wild frontier?
  • Ethical considerations online
  • Ethical, legal and regulatory constraints on use of the internet
  • Intellectual rights
  • Copyright

International Ethics and Regulation

  • Journalism ethics an international perspective
  • UN Declaration of Human Rights
  • European Community human rights law and regulations
  • European media regulation
  • Television without frontiers

Example Candidate Response Booklet

Example Candidate Response (ECR) Booklets are a source of crucial information for Centres and Candidates as they use real candidate responses. We ask Senior Examiners to comment on five or more responses in terms of why the mark was awarded with commentary about how to improve the answer (if necessary).

Recommended Reading

Main Text:

Journalism, Ethics and Regulation - Frost, C (2007) – (Pearson)

Law for Journalists -  Quinn, F (2007) – (Pearson)

Indicative Text:

Alternative Text and Further Reading:

Designing for Newspapers and Magazines - Frost, Chris (2003) - (Routledge)

Channel Four/Channel 5 (2008) The Producers Handbook

BBC Producers Guideline (2008) BBC 

NUJ Code of Conduct (revised 2008)

Ofcom Broadcasting Code (revised 2008)

U.S. Federal Communications Commission