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Standard E3 states that election programmes may not include ‘material which denigrates a political party or candidate’ (with ‘denigrate’ defined as devaluing the reputation of the political party or candidate). To ensure this standard does not capture situations it is not meant to (eg where a party’s or candidate’s reputation is devalued by virtue of legitimate political criticism of their policies/perspectives) do you consider there is a need to either:
- define denigration so that it is limited to purposeful or intentional devaluing of reputations (eg ‘denigrate’ is defined as ‘attempting to devalue’ the reputation of a party/candidate); or
- include a reasonableness standard (such that denigration is assessed by reference to the view of ‘the reasonable person’)?
Alternatively, do you consider that guidelines E3b and E3c adequately deal with this issue? They:
- require a ‘high level of condemnation, often with an element of malice or nastiness’ for a finding of denigration
- clarify that the standard is not intended to prevent the broadcast of material that is factual, a genuine expression of serious comment, analysis, opinion or advocacy or legitimate humour or satire.
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