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19/12/2003

New codes process for independent producers announced by Ofcom

Ofcom, the UK’s new communications regulator, has published new guidance that broadcasters will need to comply with when they commission programmes from independent producers.
It follows a recommendation by the ITC about the draft codes already prepared by the broadcasters.
From January, every public service broadcaster, including the BBC, will be required to have a code of practice, which will guarantee clarity and transparency in their dealings with independent producers.
Earlier this year, Tessa Jowell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, asked the regulators in a joint initiative to take forward work on the development of codes of practice following the submission of the ITC’s Programme Supply Market Review.
In particular, the Secretary of State supported the introduction of binding Codes of Practice governing the principles that broadcasters would apply when agreeing terms for commissioning programmes from independent producers. The ITC, Ofcom, broadcasters and the independent production sector have worked to complete this process by the end of 2003. The final part of the process will be the formal approval of the codes the broadcasters have submitted, which Ofcom will do when it has the powers to do so in the New Year.
Patricia Hodgson, Chief Executive of the ITC, said: “This has been a very constructive process and all parties have worked hard to make improvements in the way codes are drawn up. The new codes will provide an important protection of independent producers, increasing their control of rights in the intellectual property they create.”
Stephen Carter, Chief Executive of Ofcom, said: “The codes will ensure more opportunities for independent programme-makers to flourish economically and creatively.”
The guidance can be viewed at: http://www.ofcom.org.uk/codes_guidelines/indies/index.htm.
(GB)
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