The ICO exists to empower you through information.

Data protection law

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). Together, these laws form the UK’s data protection regime. Where relevant, the guidance also refers to each law separately.

Personal data

Data that relates to a living individual who can be identified, or who is identifiable, from that data. For more information, see the “What is personal data?” section of our Guide to the GDPR

The special purposes

This term is used in the DPA 2018 to refer to the following purposes for processing personal data:

  • Journalism.
  • Academic purposes.
  • Artistic purposes.
  • Literary purposes.

The guidance focuses on the use of personal data for journalism but some of the advice is also relevant to the other special purposes.

Media organisation

An organisation whose activities consist of, or include, journalism.


A media organisation that publishes written journalistic material. This includes printed material such as newspapers or magazines, online news, or a combination of the two.


A media organisation broadcasting television, radio or video-on-demand content.