Staying on air - part 1

How to avoid getting your TV or radio programme pulled. A non-commercial perspective on how to avoid those legal or editorial pitfalls which could result in you having to scrap or retake material or even find yourself in trouble with your editor, the press or even the courts. In the first of two podcasts, we give tips on avoiding the legal and editorial pitfalls of defamation and dealing with contributors.

BBC Editorial Policy's Su Pennington, programme lawyer Clare Hoban and producer and journalist Maire Devine join Paul Buller to offer a guide to not getting your TV or radio programme pulled.

"You have to do your homework." – Maire Devine

Clare gives the definitions of honest comment and libel and defamation and the panel talk about dealing with contributors.

They cover how to deal with colourful views, from the defamatory to the fantastical and how to deal with it in both live and pre-recorded form. Anonymity - why and when you should anonymise contributors? And if your contributor has a criminal charge how do you avoid being within contempt of court?

They all emphasise the importance of planning and getting help early in the process as well as note taking and gathering evidence as you research a programme.

Maire Devine is an experienced producer of television and radio programmes with a background in current affairs and news. She’s currently the planning editor for Radio 4’s consumer affairs programme, You and Yours.

Su Pennington is head of Editorial Policy for factual programmes at the BBC and head of editorial standards for the BBC Academy. She advises production teams on how to interpret the BBC's Editorial Guidelines and on industry regulation.

Clare Hoban is a duty lawyer for the BBC. She specialises in defamation, privacy and contempt law and advises on BBC radio, television and internet content including drama, comedy, current affairs and news reporting.