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UK: ICO launches consultation on draft journalism code of practice

The Information Commissioner's Office ('ICO') announced, on 13 October 2021, within a blog post from Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner, that it had launched a public consultation on its draft journalism code of practice, building on the Data Protection and Journalist: A Guide for the Media published in 2014. In particular, the blog post outlines that the ICO is required to produce such a code under Section 124 of the Data Protection Act 2018 ('the Act'). Furthermore, the blog post clarifies that the code does not concern press conduct or standards in general, as covered by industry codes, noting that data protection law and the code will not hinder the activities of journalists in information the public, but that it aims to support media organisations and journalists in compliance with data protection law, notably the Act and the UK General Data Protection Regulation ('UK GDPR').

More specifically, the code outlines, among other things, which data protection requirements are covered by the broad special purposes exemption under the Act, for example where organisations are processing personal data for journalism, acting with a view to publication, reasonably believe publication is in the public interests, and reasonably believe that compliance with a data protection provision would be incompatible with journalism. 

In addition, the ICO seeks views on a draft economic impact assessment to aid in understand the practical impact of the code on organisations and individuals.

Comments may be submitted until 10 January 2022.

You can read the blog post here, the consultation page here, the code here, and the draft economic impact assessment here.