“Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.”
— Code of ethics, Society of Professional Journalists, US
Private Media code of conduct
Private Media journalists and contributors abide by the code of ethics developed by the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA). The code of ethics applies across all platforms, including social media.
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- Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Give a fair opportunity for reply.
- Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical or intellectual disability.
- Aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source where possible. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.
- Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence. Journalists and contributors will disclose share holdings where relevant.
- Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism. Do not improperly use a journalistic position for personal gain.
- Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.
- Ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews or information.
- Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
- Present pictures and sound that are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
- Do not plagiarise.
- Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.
- Fairly correct errors.
Basic values often need interpretation and sometimes come into conflict. Ethical journalism requires conscientious decision-making in context. Only substantial advancement of the public interest or risk of substantial harm to people allows any standard to be overridden.
Employees must not request or accept inducements of money, goods, discounts or hospitality of any kind outside the normal scope of business hospitality. Only the editor or a nominee is authorised to accept offers of free or discounted hospitality such as travel and accommodation on behalf of a publication.
Corrections and clarifications:
Private Media’s policy is to remove any inaccurate or defamatory material brought to our attention and publicly acknowledge and correct all our mistakes as soon as possible.
We correct mistakes in the original story on the website and then denote the change with a correction/clarification note at the bottom of the story. In some cases, we also run the correction in the comments section of the email edition the next day.
In addition, journalists have a duty to cooperate frankly and openly with the editor about any problems and to report errors to them. Freelancers are also bound by this duty.
Breaches of the code:
Where a journalist or contributor is found to have breached the Private Media code a range of actions could be taken, including further training, formal performance management or termination.
Lodging a complaint and handling of complaints:
In addition to our corrections and clarifications policy, Private Media has set up an adjudication panel to examine issues that a reader feels have not been resolved to their satisfaction.
The panel’s job is to look at the complaint objectively and ascertain the merits of the complaint. The panel consists of two editors and the publishing director of Private Media. Currently on the panel are Cara Waters, editor of SmartCompany, Jason Whittaker, editor of Crikey, and Sophie Black, editor in chief of Private Media.
All complaints should be made via this complaints form, which will then be forwarded to Private Media’s adjudication panel. Complaints will be investigated by the panel and managing editor of the site about which the complaint was made.
The complainant will be informed of the result of the investigation. The result may also be published on the publication’s website.