Sir Cliff Richard, the BBC and the ethics of interviewing

By | 19th July 2018

The UK media are engaged in a feverish debate about the implications of the judgement in the civil action over breach of privacy between Sir Cliff Richard, the BBC and South Yorkshire Police (SYP)…However, the case also raises interesting issues about ethical standards in interviewing, which have implications beyond journalism.

Many aspects of the BBC’s conduct are rightly criticized in the judgement. However, it is important for qualitative researchers to defend their right to tease out information that their informants would only disclose to someone who already had insider knowledge. It may also be desirable for journalists and qualitative researchers to develop a common approach to the ethics of interviewing that can be more robustly asserted in cases of this kind.

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