The UK Information Commissioner’s Office has opened a public consultation on a proposed code of practice for the press (the “Consultation”). Pursuant to Section 51 of the UK Data Protection Act 1998 (the “DPA”), the ICO has the authority to issue industry codes of practice.

On November 29, 2012, Lord Justice Leveson published a report on his inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the UK press. The report included a number of recommended changes to the DPA and recommendations for the ICO, specifically calling on the ICO to consult with the media industry in the UK for purposes of developing good practice guidelines.

The Consultation, which relates to the general scope and content of the proposed press code of practice, will be followed by a full public consultation on the proposed draft of the code itself. The code will focus on providing guidance with regard to the DPA’s Section 32 exemption relating to journalism. The code will not impose any new legal duties on the press in the UK, rather it is aimed at promoting self-regulation and best practices.

To submit a response to the Consultation, visit the ICO’s consultation website. The Consultation closes on March 15, 2013.