Media Group Presents Code Of Practice To Gov

June 8, 2010

The Media Group consisting of representatives from Inter-Island Communications, DeFontes Broadcasting Co, Bermuda Broadcasting Co, Bermuda Sun and the Royal Gazette submitted to government a Code of Practice today [June 8].

The group previously pledged to have a self-regulated Media Council up and running by September 14, 2010, and to jointly sign and adopt a Code of Practice by June 8, 2010 [today]. Admitting that they ‘dropped the ball’ on the formation of a media council previously, the group says that their move is in response to the Government’s proposed Media Council Bill [here: 12 page PDF] about which they stated “substantial government representation on the council, raises concerns about the prospect of political interference in the dissemination of news.”

Their full statement follows below:

Today we submitted to government a Code of Practice that we have all signed and adopted.

The code will be posted on our websites and printed in the Bermuda Sun and The Royal Gazette.

We also presented to the Premier a draft plan that covers the functions, aims and membership structure of the Bermuda Media Council. The main role of the council will be to serve members of the public who have complaints about the media, while protecting freedom of expression.

Our action today follows a pledge made on May 27 to move forward on our commitment to establishing a self-regulating media council.

Our plan is very much a work in progress and we — that is, the Media Working Group — will meet regularly to flesh it out and ensure that the council is up and running by our self-imposed deadline of September 14, 2010.

Progress is being made on other fronts, too; a Bermuda Media Council logo is being finalized and work has already begun on a website for the council.

All of this work has involved a high level of commitment and collaboration by the media and we’re enthused and confident about achieving our goal.

Our Code of Practice will be the primary reference point for the Bermuda Media Council when handling complaints from the public. The foundation for our code is the one used by the Press Complaints Commission in the U.K. and adopted in other countries around the world.

In the course of closely reviewing and amending the code to heighten its relevance in Bermuda, we have reached out to online news providers/bloggers/magazines for their input. The feedback has been helpful and the best of it has been incorporated into the code.

Having worked meticulously through the code together, we’re in agreement that the final version is a cogent, thoughtful and useful document. But most important, it upholds the principles of press freedom.

It should also be noted that the code is a ‘living’ document and will be subject to change once it has been put into practice and its effectiveness evaluated. Thereafter it will be revised annually, to keep pace with changing circumstances/technology.

We welcome feedback as we move forward on this important enterprise.

Thaao Dill, Inter-Island Communications

Chris Lodge, DeFontes Broadcasting Co.

Tracey Neale, Bermuda Broadcasting Co.

Tony McWilliam, Bermuda Sun

Bill Zuill, Royal Gazette

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Comments (3)

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  1. Kevin says:

    Will Bernews be signing the Code of Conduct? Actually, as you appear to be the #1 online site, are you on the Media Council?

  2. Mohawk says:

    I am curious, why did this media outlet not sign on?

  3. bernews says:

    Simply put; We did not sign on as we were not invited to, nor provided the final draft of the code that you see placed on other sites.