Thursday, 6 May 2010

Don't Mention the 'E' word!!

If you tune in to any UK radio station today (particularly from abroad to hear about the General Election) you may think that we're a bunch of very untopical and disconnected people, hardly bothering to mention the election at all. Well, just so you know, the Ofcom Broadcasting Code (the UK broadcasting regulator) forbids all broadcasters to discuss the election on election day itself. There are all sorts of other election laws in the UK that relate to broadcasting. Here are the relevent bits of the Ofcom Code...

6.4 Discussion and analysis of election and referendum issues must finish when the poll opens. (This refers to the opening of actual polling stations. This rule does not apply to any poll conducted entirely by post.)

6.5 Broadcasters may not publish the results of any opinion poll on polling day itself until the election or referendum poll closes. (For European Parliamentary elections, this applies until all polls throughout the European Union have closed.)

As you can imagine, press and the internet and not so tightly regulated, so it's a bit of a free for all in that area, but all us responsible people (!) in TV and Radio try and abide by the rules. How very British of us! Good sense of fairplay and all that...

It's quite funny really. We're at the peak of election fever, you can't really talk about it other than mentioning that the polls are open!
I will be popping along to my local Polling Station later to cast my vote later. It seems quite quaint that it's in my village hall, next to the village pub about 100m away from my office, where I'm typing this blog from now! All very Enid Blyton and not very high tech / 2010 at all!

Fear not however if you're feeling starved of coverage. Come 10pm and there will be an explosion of 'Icelandic Volcano' proportions from all media outlets declaring that... well... we'll see!

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