Election 24

General election 2024: What can and can’t be reported?

It’s election day in the UK. As millions of people head to the polls, the media is waiting in anticipation.

But, what can and can’t be reported by the media?

What can’t be reported?

Broadcast regulator Ofcom says “discussion and analysis of election and referendum issues must finish when the poll opens.”

This means that no political broadcasts can occur between 7am and 10pm today.

Ofcom guidance also states that results of any opinion polls must not be broadcast on polling day before the close of the polls.  

It is actually illegal to publish a survey or exit poll when polls are open, so any results of these will be published after 10pm today. 

What can be reported? 

Dogs. Dogs outside polling stations are under a mandatory order of reporting under UK morality guidelines. 

Being one of the few things that can be reported, it’s not a surprise #DogsAtPollingStations is already trending in the UK on X. 

Although Ofcom restricts political broadcasts, political figures can be broadcast attending their local polling station to vote. 

Newspapers and magazines are not under the same restrictions as broadcasters, so they may include a more political agenda than is seen on TV or radio today. 

Whilst newspapers have already gone to print, online stories may include political material today. Many newspapers choose to endorse certain parties or candidates.

There are also no restrictions on social media, so campaign material may still be found today on these platforms. 

However, the BBC’s editorial guidelines state it will not be publishing campaign material across any of its platforms today, including social media.

Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm today.

Feature Image: Mancunian Matters

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