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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

ICO: second consultation launched on draft data and journalism code

ICO: second consultation launched on draft data and journalism code


The code has been streamlined following a first consultation

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a second consultation on a draft code of practice about using personal data for journalism.

The code provides practical guidance on how to comply with legal requirements and good practice when using personal data for journalism. It is a statutory code under section 124 of the Data Protection Act 2018.

Following a first consultation that ended in January 2022, the ICO considered feedback received from the media and other stakeholders. As a result, it significantly reduced the length and overall complexity of the code by:

  • moving background information to supporting reference notes;
  • distinguishing clearly between legal requirements and good practice by explaining what must, should or could be done to comply;
  • developing quick reference guides to use – 10 tips for journalists and the code ‘at a glance’;
  • making the code more user-friendly with plainer language and explanations so it’s helpful to a broader audience; and
  • providing greater clarity on the practical application of various areas of data protection where sought.

ICO’s head of assurance, Chris Taylor, said: “We have engaged with the media industry and journalists for the past few months, including holding workshops and considering the feedback they sent us through the first consultation.

“The insight gathered has been very valuable to us when updating the code and putting together new resources, and we are now seeking your views on them. Ultimately, we want to provide practical tools and guidance for anyone using persona data for journalism, so your feedback is crucial to achieve this.”

Although the focus of the second consultation is the code itself, the ICO has also sought views on the associated documents:

  • Supporting reference notes for the code
  • The code ‘at a glance’
  • 10 data protection tips for day-to-day journalism
  • Updated impact assessment

The ICO has encouraged interested parties to get in touch, including anyone involved in the media industry or who uses personal data for journalism, such as media organisations, journalists, photographers and private investigators. The ICO is also keen to hear a wide range of views, including those of regulators, civil society, campaign groups, lawyers, academics, and members of the public.

Responses may be submitted through the ICO website until 16 November 2022.