Editors of three national newspapers, The Times, Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, have written a joint letter to Michelle Donelan, the culture secretary, and Dominic Raab, the justice secretary. The letter warns that the new statutory code of practice for journalists being drawn up by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) could undermine "the very basis of journalism.” They're concerned data protection laws are being used to substitute libel laws and inhibit journalism.
In July, the ICO opened a public consultation relating to a statutory review under Section 178 of the Data Protection Act 2018 to understand how the media industry uses personal data. Then in September, the ICO opened a second consultation on the draft journalism code.
UPDATE: 211222 - In response, a blog article posted by the ICO characterised the editor's comments as a "misdirected criticism of journalism code" and reiterated its stated aim is to support journalists in meeting their statutory data protection obligations. The article highlights how the code "supports journalists to be able to inform the public and hold the powerful to account," but "as we saw at the Leveson Inquiry, there are occasions when journalists’ desire for stories overstep the mark."
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