Section 19: Accountability



Ofcom has certain powers to regulate the BBC's licence fee funded television and radio services aimed at audiences in the UK, but not the World Service which is grant-in-aid funded.  Ofcom's Broadcasting Code applies in the following areas:

  • Protection of under-18s
  • Harm and Offence
  • Avoidance of inciting crime or disorder
  • Responsible approach to religious content
  • Prohibition of use of images of very brief duration
  • Fairness
  • Privacy.

The Editorial Guidelines reflect the provisions of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code in these areas.


In addition, the BBC's commercial services (whether broadcasting to the UK, or from the UK to our international audiences) must comply with the whole of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

(See Appendix 1: Ofcom Broadcasting Code)


Where Ofcom finds a breach of the privacy or fairness sections of its Code, it may require the BBC to broadcast a statement of its findings.  Where Ofcom considers that the Code has been breached "seriously, deliberately, repeatedly, or recklessly", it can impose sanctions, which range from a requirement to broadcast a correction or statement of finding to a fine of no more than £250,000.