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Codes of ethics & codes of practice

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Michelle McAuslan

on 27 August 2018

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Transcript of Codes of ethics & codes of practice

Purpose of Code?

How was/is it developed or changed?

To Who / What does it apply ?

What does it cover?

How is it enforced? Sanctions?

Who is the 'regulator'? What oversight is there?

How is the code developed /reviewed

How are complaints made/dealt with?



Reporting Suicides
Self Regulation
News & Current Affairs
accuracy, fairness & independence / conflicts / bias
vilification / representation
content (eg 'community standards' or 'Classification')

what else does the code cover?
what does the code not cover?
Cash for Comment
media companies' internal codes
Advertising Codes
Public Relations Code
Gaming Codes
Gaming Ethics
Gaming Culture
Gaming Practice
some recent PR challenges:



VW emissions

Nivea _pure white is best....

Oscar Pistorius

Belle Gibson

politicians - use of personal rather than press photographers?

a thin line between propaganda & persuasion...
4. breaches of codes?
Hamster Decides
Chris Kenny
breach of privacy but in the public interest
documentary film-making
challenges include: ?
defining 'documentary' - different forms with different issues
is it closer to journalism or art? or is it something else/unique?
role and function?

reality? truth? deception or artistic 'licence'

relationships between film-maker/subject/topic
rights (free speech v privacy)
duty of care?
issues of "consent"
paying subjects, re-enactments, re-purposing material; 'filling in' material not otherwise available....
the social, political, economic impact of the documentary or the documentary process (failing to intervene?)
who's a journalist?
communications council (creatives)
AANA publishes determinations - gives guidance through these... http://www.adstandards.com.au/advertisingstandards/determinationsummaries
misleading & deceptive advertising
applies to claims by made
in the course of trade or commerce

apply to
•private, one-off sales, eg sale of a car through SMH ad;
•internal communications within an organisation, such as a company or government department;
•regulatory activity by government bodies;
•provision of information by government in a non-commercial context, for example, information about pension rights; or
•political statements.
provision of 'news' or provision of information by an information provider"

"free range eggs"
"environmentally friendly"
advertising & selling guide
Gamergate - is gaming journalism subject to the same standards of other journalism?
classification codes for games
relevant law: IP, Contract, Terms of Use; classification F2P; tech jail breaking; all the other law...
effectiveness of codes as means of regulation
effectiveness / purpose of codes - top down directive or bottom up cultural changes - which is more effective
criteria for evaluating codes - what does an ideal code like/operate like?
Why have a code? benefits/purpose/ challenges/limitations
Do we need more codes? Fewer codes?
Is it possible to have a single or universal code? (international federation of journalists? Photojournalists? Documentary filmmakers?) different concerns for different segments or different cultures? Is a media culture or organisational culture more important than an industry code or a personal code of ethics in ensuring ethical media practice?

thinking about codes... What are the key issues?
internet / social media /J-Twitts / apps
internet codes
terms of use
issues for journalists on twitter
oganisational policies on social media
Gaming sites

citizen journalists
http://nofibs.com.au/2013/08/10/mindful-ethics-for-election-bloggers-and-citizen-journalists/ mark pearson views on blogger's journalism - not all bloggers want to identify as journalists....
Ch 7: First Contact
breach of code ACMA wins court case
Channel Seven Brisbane Pty Ltd:

· did not breach clause 4.3.1 of the Code in relation to the reference to ‘stone age’;

· did not breach clause 4.3.1 of the Code in relation to the references ‘lost tribe’ and ‘lost world’;


breached clause 4.3.1 of the Code in relation to the statement ‘Here, we’re outside the protection of Brazilian law’;

· breached clause 4.3.1 of the Code in relation to the statements, ‘These lost tribes encourage the murder of disabled children’ and ‘The Suruwaha believe that children born with birth defects or born to a single mother are evil spirits and should be killed in the most gruesome way possible’;

· breached clause 1.9.6 of the Code; &
in relation to the manner in which the Suruwaha tribe was depicted,

the ACMA makes no finding in relation to the licensee’s compliance with clause 4.3.1
the then Radio code restricted the amount of advertising in radio programs to 18min/hour.

And for News & Current Affairs Programs required 'accuracy, distinguish news from comment, not mispresent/mislead


Commercial Radio Broadcasters, Code of Practice

Code 2 News and Current Affairs

The purpose of this code is to promote accuracy and fairness in news and current affairs programs

2.1 News programs must

(a) present news accurately

(c) distinguish news from comment

viewpoints must not be misrepresented in a misleading manner by giving wrong or improper emphasis, by editing out of context or by withholding relevant available facts –
like the fact that someone is paying you to not to criticise them

Code 3 – Advertising

Advertisements broadcast by a licensee must not be presented as news programs or other programs

Cash for Comment Inquiry

ABA’s Commercial Radio Inquiry: Final Report (‘Cash-for-Comment’) released in August 2000 =
12 months of investigation, costing taxpayers approx $1 million

found that the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice were not operating to provide ‘appropriate community safeguards’

The inquiry also found:

§The commercial agreements examined by the ABA have led to a substantial failure by licensees to comply with the standards of conduct required by Codes 2 and 3 and in the case of 2UE with the ‘political matter’ licence condition
§There appears to be a systemic failure to ensure the effective operation of self-regulation particularly in relation to current affairs programs including a lack of staff awareness of the Codes

in 2months in

- a further 13 breached by Laws
fined 2UE $360,000
(& also in
2014 - amended ad and discolosure standards to reduce burden on
broadcasters re compliance

‘This reform package strengthens protections for listeners while at the same time reducing the regulatory burden on industry,’

The ACMA’s reforms to the Disclosure Standard:

require disclosure of not only ‘presenter agreements’ (where the presenter has a commercial agreement with a sponsor) but also of some ‘licensee agreements’ (where the presenter has an interest in the licensee company, which in turn has a commercial agreement with a sponsor)

allow current affairs presenters more flexibility in how they identify sponsorship arrangements – rather than compelling them to use one of six current scripted statements

change the register and formal notifications process so that industry can keep online registers without the need for formal notices to the ACMA.

The ACMA has reformed the Advertising Standard by making it clear that advertising must be distinguishable from other program material at the time of broadcast, rather than later in a segment or program generally.

Finally, in both standards, the definition of 'consideration' has been broadened by including other beneficial and indirect benefits to better capture instances of paid advertising and commercial influence.

The ACMA revoked the Compliance Program Standard, which had required commercial radio licensees to undertake compliance education and audits.
"I am an entertainer - not a journalist.
I don't have a hook for ethics": John Laws
How did ‘cash-for-comment’ start?

§ Following a Media Watch program on ABCTV on 12 July 1999 the ABA began an inquiry to examine the allegations raised

§ Those allegations included that John Laws, previously an outspoken critic of banks in general, had begun to make positive comments about them because he had entered into a commercial agreement with the Australian Bankers Association

§ Further allegations surfaced about other ‘shock jocks’ – Allan Jones at 2UE, Howard Sattler at 6PR (Perth), Jeremy Cordeaux at 5DN (Adelaide) and presenters at 3AW (Melbourne)

Key rationale for intervention

The rationale for the ABA’s intervention was a public interest one – that the public has a legitimate right to expect that radio current affairs programs provide fair and accurate coverage
It was also considered that when information or current affairs commentary could be affected by contractual commitments that bind the licensee or the presenter, the public should be informed

The Investigation

Gathered a great deal of documentary material by way of ‘issuing notices’ (subpoenas) and through hearings
The first hearings, between July and November 1999 were conducted into 2UE/John Laws and Allan Jones, their commercial agreements and the impact on the content of programming
The panel found in that 2UE breached the Act five times by not properly identifying political matter, and the Codes 90 times (60 breaches of code 2/news and caff and 30 of code 3/advertising)

Public Interest Issues

The panel did not accept the submissions of either Mr Laws or Mr Jones that they did not appreciate that their contracts required them to behave in certain ways for the companies with whom had agreements
The panel considered it an essential element of fairness in the presentation of programs that in the absence of any explicit disclosure, a listener can assume there to be no commercial arrangements between presenters and persons/companies referred to in those programs - ‘disinterestedness’

Effects of Commercial Agreements

The panel considered that agreements can give rise to suggestions that an announcer is obliged to a third party, and
To perceptions that the content of broadcasts may be dictated by the commercial imperatives of third parties
It was found that presenters made favourable comments about their sponsors in the context of discussions on social, political or economic issues
This has serious implications for the credibility of all views expressed on radio

What Kinds of Agreements

Jones: Optus ($500,000 per year); Qantas; State Bank of New South Wales; Walsh Bay Finance Pty Ltd; Walker Corporation (these all related to on-air conduct)
Laws: Australian Bankers’ Association ($500,000 per year); Australian Trucking Association; Foxtel Management Pty Ltd; NRMA Ltd; Optus; Qantas; RAMS Home Loans Pty Ltd; Registered Clubs Association of NSW; Star City Entertainment Pty Ltd (these also illustrated a causal link between the existence of an agreement and on-air conduct)

Agreement with the Bankers Association

Between Laws and 2UE was worth $1.35 million
Included 150 ‘live reads’ by Laws over 40 weeks, to be broadcast over the 74 stations in the network, for a total fee $707,550 million
These ad spots were called ‘The Whole Story’…

2UE in Breach

The panel noted that the conduct of the presenters lead to a ‘substantial failure by 2UE to comply with the Codes’, and
Concluded that 2UE’s management systems were not adequate to prevent these breaches
As a result the ABA imposed two conditions on the licence of 2UE – one relating to disclosure and compliance, and the other, relating to distinguishing ads ‘from other program material’

These conditions became the 3 industry-wide standards

The 3 standards came into effect on 15 January 2001 and were renewed indefinitely on 2 April 2003: They are:

• The Broadcasting Services (Commercial Radio Current Affairs Disclosure) Standard 2000 – requires on-air and off-air disclosure of commercial agreements held by presenters

• The Broadcasting Services (Commercial Radio Compliance Program) Standard 2000 requires licensees to formulate, implement and maintain training and compliance programs

• The Broadcasting Services (Commercial Radio Advertising) Standard 2000 requires licensees to ensure that ads are clearly distinguished from other programming

Cash-for-comment ‘mark II’

On 04/ 12/2003 the ABA found 2UE failed to disclose Telstra and NRMA Insurance sponsorships on the Laws show (investigation commenced on 7/11/02)
These matters were eventually referred to the DPP for possible enforcement action, as breaches of the 2UE licence
In April 2004 the ABA released the findings of its investigation into 2GB/Jones, an investigation that was running in parallel to the 2UE investigation
It was found that alleged breaches of the Commercial Radio Standards/Codes of Practice could not be sustained, as Mr Jones’ equity arrangements in the Macquarie Radio Network (licensee of 2GB) were not a ‘commercial agreement’ for the purposes of the Disclosure Standard, and therefore no breaches were found

Media Watch intervenes

In late April 2004 Media Watch receives a copy of a leaked draft report of the Jones/2GB investigation
That report was at odds with the final report, and was highly critical of the tricked up sponsorship arrangements between Telstra and 2GB, concluding that there were breaches of the commercial radio codes (though not standards)…

Implications of commercial media cultures for audiences/consumers

Is it appropriate in a democracy for a corporation to seek to purchase covert rather than overt dissemination of its opinions?
Commercially-oriented journalism is becoming more populist: hybrid infotainment and magazine shows, tabloid news and talk shows, so-called reality and reconstruction of events shows (e.g. ACA or Today Tonight)
“These trends in …journalism arguably do not speak favourably for a reinvigoration of the civic ideal” (Dahlgren, 1998: 89)
By ‘civic ideal’ he’s referring to the involvement of citizens in civil and political society generally…he continues, ’cultural climates which systematically disinvite participation or power constellations which ensure that involvement is marginalized …will undermine democracy’s potential’ (p.90)
overview of Cash for Comment
cash for comment restrictions don't apply to social media, twitter, or other formats of native advertising or to advertising generally - only where it misleads as a '
' item on broadcasting (TV/Radio) and see MEAA codes for

MEAA - 'cash for comment' type provisions
1. Report and interpret honestly, ... disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts, or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply.

4. Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.

5. 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.

6. Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.

7. Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or stories.

8. Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. ...

4.3 In broadcasting
news and current affairs programs
, licensees:

4.3.1 must
present factual material accurately and represent viewpoints fairly,
having regard to the circumstances at the time of preparing and broadcasting the program; An assessment of whether the factual material is accurate is to be determined
in the context of the segment in its entirety

Compliance with Code

1.5 Licensees must seek to comply fully with the Code, but a failure to comply will not be a breach of the Code if that failure was due to:

...1.5.2 reasonable reliance on information supplied by another person.
Cash for Comment
Ad Standards Bureau Decision:

Advertiser Code of Ethics
Section 2.1: “Advertising or Marketing Communications shall not portray people or depict material in a way which
discriminates against or vilifies a person or section
of the community on account of...gender...”

Section 2.2: “Advertising or marketing communications should not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is
exploitative and degrading of any individual or group of people

Section 2.4: “Advertising or Marketing Communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity
with sensitivity to the relevant audience”
Is there a breach?
Holm (2007) Fascination:Viewer Friendly TV journalism, Routledge
no licence needed to be a PR practitioner -
what does PRIA
breaches/determinations not published
self regulation - no oversight, not enforceable
badge of 'professionalism'
ABC Code

Breach of Code can also give rise to legal action - defamation
rules of reddit
David Campbell outing
Royal Prank Call
High Court decision:
ABC News summary:
Crikey commentary:
ACMA Investigation Report:

responsibility/accountability (what is the extent of consequences broadcasters are responsible for? Who has the responsibility (presenters? Broadcasters? public? hospital?)
privacy - of the nurses called, of royalty? of the presenters once the story broke?
Surveillance Devices (secret recording)
public interest in regulation of broadcasting
powers of ACMA to impose sanctions
offences under Broadcasting Services Act
role of the court in oversight of administrative decisions (rights of the broadcaster)
is intention of presenters/broadcasters relevant (only a joke?)
Humanity principle (using people's misfortune as entertainment)
Consequentialism (rule vs Act; forseeable/unforseeable consequences?)
Virtue: what is the role of the presenter (not a journalist) - what is a 'virtuous presenter'?

TV codes of practice, breach
powers of ACMA
portrayal of 'others'
racism, vilification

'public interest'?
secret recording?
effectiveness of ACMA & Codes?
The “public interest’ is heard often in media discourse:

Aust Press Council General Principle 6: “Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.”

Is publication OF THIS photo ‘in the public interest’?
What do you think?

Front Page Daily Telegraph 21.8.14
some responses

“…The Council considers that the image was likely to cause substantial offence and distress to a significant number of people. This impact was due largely to the close proximity of the knife to Mr Foley’s neck and thus to what readers might have perceived as the actual beheading.
On the other hand, the Council agrees it is sometimes in the public interest for people to be exposed in a powerful way to realities which they may find upsetting but about which it is important that public opinion is well-informed. This applies especially to behaviour that, as in this case, is of an extreme kind with which they may not already be familiar and which has potentially far-reaching consequences. …”



some readers:
In response to a complaint to the Press Council about the Daily Telegraph front page:
The Australian’s editorial response to the press council, rejecting interference in what should/shouldn’t be published & where ….

“We will never accept that the Press Council or anyone else has any business telling us what we can and cannot publish on our front page. It is a direct challenge to editorial independence that should be rejected by every media outlet that takes press freedom seriously.”

in other words, it is in the public interest to have a free press…


the publisher
the press council

›note the rhetoric/actions of some outlets)

application of the codes:
who/what do the codes apply to?
what do they require/prohibit?
what is the process for making or developing the codes?
what is the process of handling complaints under the codes
are determinations published?
what sanctions/penalties are handed out?
who is the 'regulator' (independent? Funded? accountable or subject to appeal or oversight?)
how / when do codes and other laws overlap (eg vilification, privacy, false & misleading, defamation, revealing sources)

questions of reform?

News of the World - how useful was a code, and how useful has the new IPP been in the UK
Why haven't the
Finkelstein, Convergence
Reports recommendations been implemented?
3. the codes? No single regulator.
2. overview of codes & concerns
5. reform proposals?
Q & A
ABC Code; Charter; Editorial Policy

independence of ABC
role of ABC
ABC code
independent reviews
is this a news & current affairs program or 'entertaiment? Should different standards apply?
Leveson (UK)
Finkelstein (Aust)
Convergence Review (Digital)
Moss Report
aka 'Right to Know' campaign

too many regulations?

The Bridge
The Cove
Documentary Films?
Struggle Street
what does fairness & balance require in selecting views to be heard from the audience? in selecting the audience?
in editing views or responding to views from the audience?
Courier Mail

Evaluate the code
1. An
to complaint. Either the media institution or industry segment is open to people complaining, or they’re not. This requires
to the public, by promotion and explanation of its role and activities

2. Some
for the
media practitioner
to give an explanation, to give an account. It’s one thing to be open to complaints; it’s another thing if they disappear into the ether.

3. There must be some
mechanism for an accountability
(or determination) to be given – to the complainant or to the readers (audience) or the public more generally (not necessarily all three).

mechanisms for implementation
or enforcement of decisions

5. Where necessary, appropriate
. Sometimes fronting up in public for the error may be enough. With the correction comes the explanation for how it happened. [For legal redress (eg defamation) there are court processes]

6. And
& objectivity (of the rules or standards, of the process and the outcome of the process).
Chadwick in http://www.denismuller.com.au/documents/MullerPhD.pdf

7. clearly-specified objectives
8. an organisational structure involving suitable personnel
9. adequate ongoing funding (and, where relevant, transparency of funding)
10. periodic reviews of its performance, and

& evaluate the process:
timely, responsive, remedial, enforceable?
independence from govt?
Funded? by industry? govt?
1. Codes of ethics/ codes of practice in theory
lecture overview:

1. theory of codes

2. kinds of codes, how they compare, who and what they apply to & how they differ
(compare Journalists, Press Council, TV, Internet, PR & Advertising codes)

3. codes of ethics in practice

4. effectiveness of codes of practice as a means to ensure accountability/responsibility of the media.

5. proposals for reform (Leveson, Finkelstein)

core themes of this week's lecture:
‘freedom to practise journalism brings with it the obligation to be concerned with the ethical quality of the output’ (Belsey 1995: 93).

Codes cannot ensure ethical media practice, only media practitioners can. What practitioners can do, however, is think carefully about their roles and responsibility.

The question is what function codes play in this thinking about roles and responsibility.

The Society-Profession Nexus

Professionals strike a bargain with
: in return for autonomy or independence and privilege they assume obligations and responsibilities.

Members of a
are bound together by common aspirations, values, and training, and in varying degrees the professions “develop social and moral ties among their members who enter into a community of [common] purpose” (Frankel 1989: 110)

Professional Accountability

‘If the idea of a profession is to have any significance, then it must hinge on this notion that professionals make a bargain with society, in which they promise conscientiously to serve the public interest - even if to do so may, at times, be at their own expense’

Simon Longstaff (1995),The Ethics Centre,

The Function of Codes?

Enabling document: a compass
Source of public evaluation
Professional socialisation
Enhance profession’s reputation and public trust
Preserve entrenched professional biases
Deterrent to unethical behaviour
Support system

from Frankel 1989: 111-112

aspiration / idealism:
articulates profession's and public's ethical expectations

complaint handling mechanism

justification for 'self-regulation' rather than external regulation

Codes of Ethics & Stages of Moral Development

Many students in their ethical snapshot said 'following the rules is an important part of ethical decision making' ...

Neither legal compulsion nor voluntary codes of ethics is sufficient to ensure ethical practice. Most codes of ethics operate at a lower level of moral development than media professionals should aim for.

Key thinkers: psychologists Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg

Kohlberg posits six stages of moral development:

Stage 1. Behaviour based on

Stage 2. Behaviour Based on

Stage 3. Behaviour based on
pro-social motives
(what other people think)

Stage 4. Behaviour based on
rules, law, duty
(binding on all members of society)

Stage 5. Behaviour based on the
social contract (

Stage 6. Behaviour based on
Universal ethical principles
(Black and Barney 1985; also Patterson & Wilkins 2005: 301;Stephen Ward)


Commercial Radio



codes developed by
industry body, some public input
apply to members only
minimal or no sanctions
complaint dealt with by industry body
codes developed by industry body but registered with ACMA, public input invited
ACMA can deal with failure to develop code or complaint that code not complied with.
Complaint to licensee and ACMA steps in only if failure to comply with code or no code

TV & Radio also subject to Licence Conditions and Program Standards; compliance with code can be made a licence condition
print media owners
industry self regulation
- journalists
print media

[incl online or digital editions of print and some digital only eg Crikey, New Matilda]
licensees (stations)
use of public resource
power & influence
mobiles / apps / platforms
impossible to check every page
global reach
jurisdiction limits of law
(nobody knew what it would be and ....nobody knows how)
complaint driven
revised 2014
program standards
licence conditions & program standards
not every web page - & not eg print organisations online
MEAA - effectiveness?
The MEAA received 67 complaints & 5 appeals between 2000-2006, but could not deal with 34 of the complaints because they were to do with journalists who were not MEAA members - only 33 complaints were handled in five years, 6 per year!

The MEAA (Victoria)in ten years (1993–2002), just 23 complaints were received by the ethics panel of the Victorian branch.

MEAA National Secretary Chris Warren told the Independent Media Inquiry 2012 that since the revised code was adopted in 1999 only three members had been censured or rebuked and that no member had been expelled for almost four decades.

Pearson http://journlaw.com/2013/11/26/the-meaa-code-of-ethics-all-spin-and-no-stick/

Consider arguments for and against regulating the internet or usage by some people/groups etc

Eg terrorism and the internet
Protecting children
Free speech and the internet
Protecting Legacy media –
Net Neutrality
Protect concentration of power by “Byte Barons” of Silicon Valley

advertising codes...
APC Standards
Australian content min
Children's programs
Ad Time standards
(who are
of the MEAA)
100's of titles owned by just a few companies -look at the APC website

industry self regulation
complaint driven
freedom of the press/speech
4th estate
code developed by MEAA revised 1944, 1984, 1999 with some public input invited
complaints & adjudications NOT published; can adjudicate before or after hearing from complainant, journalist;
penalties /
A fine of up to $1000
Suspension of membership (up to 1 year)
Expulsion from membership.
Codes compared...
freedom of the press/speech
4th estate
code developed by APC (input from journos, public)
revised 2014
(more guidelines added)
complaints & adjudications published on APC web; can adjudicate before or after hearing from complainant, APC member;
negotiate an apology / retraction /correction
publication of adjudication
(complainant must waive right to legal action)
sue journalist if you have legal rights
breach of confidence?
adjudication must be published by APC member
Many press complaints ( about
& the print media
go to APC to deal with)

until 2014, complainant had to sign waiver of other legal rights (eg.defamation) before APC would deal with complaint
if the documentary is shown on a licenced broadcaster (g TV) then the licence conditions may apply to the licensee.
codes developed by industry but referenced in Broadcasting Services Act, public input invited, then registered with ACMA (codes: revised @ 5 years- new TV code 2015)
complaint of breach of code must 1st go to
only if no (adequate) response can ACMA deal with complaint

ACMA has power to:
hold investigation
impose licence condition
fine for breaches
develop / review of codes
revoke licence (rare!)
The Language of Codes:
Codes are ‘coded’ in a semiotic sense in different ways. Look at the code itself ...
Is it aspirational, educational, regulatory?
Are the clauses specific or general?
Is the language Negative (Proscriptive) (Red Light) and Positive (or aspirational) (or Green Light)
Does it provide
Does it encourage Moral Philosophy or Moralising.
Ownership: the use of ‘our’, 'we'?

terms of use for each platform
no consistency in approach
no clear or universal rules
not 'enforceable' by complainants
rules are often buried in layers of terms

Free TV Code (2015 - new code):
complaint driven
ACMA driven
Codes for TV:
The Code regulates content in accordance with community standards, assists viewers in making informed choices about their television viewing and provides effective procedures for receiving and handling viewer complaints. The Code covers the following key areas:

Classification of material.
All content other than news and sport is required to be classified and scheduled in timezones appropriate to that classification. Broadcasters provide on-screen classification information, including consumer advice for higher- classified programs;

Accuracy, fairness and respect for privacy in news and current affairs.
A range of provisions ensure appropriate standards in news and current affairs;

Time limits on non-program matter.
These balance the need to fund the thousands of hours of program material broadcast by each television station each year against the desire of viewers for a relatively uncluttered program presentation;

Classification and placement of commercials
; and

Complaints-handling by stations.

New Advisory codes:
Emergency Information Broadcasts
Portrayal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Portrayal of Cultural Diversity
Portrayal of People with Disabilities
Portrayal of Women and Men

have own Charters & Codes.

Codes must be notified to ACMA. Complaints go to ABC or SBS first and only if no (adequate) response or no code can ACMA step in.

free tv
Broadcasting Services Act 1992
does "aggressive" questioning = bias?
Honesty = accuracy (avoiding suppression, distortion); means of obtaining material; disclosure.

Independence = “disclosure of all essential facts”; “disclosure of conflicts of interest”; “disclosure of payment”.

Respect for the right of others = offer chance to respond; not placing unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics; respecting confidences; respecting grief & privacy; not plagiarising.

Fairness = correcting errors; opportunity for reply, fair opinion is not necesarily correct opinion but that it is based on ...


› Ackland, R. (2010). ‘Warnings may be old but we haven’t learnt the lessons’, Sydney Morning Herald, June 4. Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/warnings-may-be-old-but-we-havent-learnt-the- lessons-20100603-x58l.html#ixzz1N9gEyqlJ on May 23, 2011

› Baker, S. and Martinson, D. (2001). The TARES Test: Five Principles of Ethical Persuasion, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, Vol. 16, No. 2 & 3.

› Belsey, Andrew (1995), ‘Ethics, Law and the Quality of the Media’, in Brenda Almond (ed.), Introducing Applied Ethics,Oxford: Blackwell, pp.89-102.

› Belsey, A and Chadwick, R. (eds) (1992). Ethical Issues in Journalism and the Media. Routledge: London.

› Bertrand, Claud-Jean (2000) Media Ethics and Accountability Systems. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

› Deaver, F, (1990). On Defending Truth, Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 5 (3): 168-177. Delattre, Edwin J. (2011). Character and Cops: Ethics in Policing. Rowman & Littlefield.

› Frankel, Mark S. (1989) ‘Professional Codes: Why, How and with What Impact?’, Journal of Business Ethics, 32, 109-115.

› Frost, Chris. (2007) Journalism Ethics and Regulation. Second Edition. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education.

› Gordon-Smith, M. (2002). Media ethics after ‘Cash for Comment’. In S. Cunningham and G. Turner, The media and communications in Australia. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen and Unwin.

› Hodges, Louis W. (1986). ‘Defining Press Responsibility: A Functional Approach’, in Deni Elliot (ed.), Responsible Journalism, Beverly Hills, Sage, pp. 1-13.

› Hurst, J and White, S. (1994). Ethics and the Australian News Media. Macmillan Education Australia: Melbourne..

› Iggers, Jeremy. (1998) Good News, Bad News: Journalism Ethics and the Public Interest. Westview, Boulder, Colorado.

› Pearson, M. (2005), ‘Press body and union reunite’, The Australian, August 5, Media, p.7.

› Patterson, P and Wilkins, L. (2002). Media Ethics: Issues & Cases. 4th edition. McGraw-Hill Education: NY.

› Spence, Edward H., Andrew, Alexandra, Quinn, Aaron, and Anne Dunn. (2011) Media, Market and Morals. Wiley Blackwell.

› Tanner, S., Phillips, G., Smyth, C. and Tapsall, S. (2005), Journalism Ethics at Work, Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.

does not mean "don't mention race, gender etc:"
does not mean you can't get paid a wage or work for commercial media that must 'sell' stories/ads!
But declare 'interest' eg relationship to person, shares in company, member of organisation...

separation of editorial, advertising arms... indicate if paid to visit resort and do a review...
undercover or hidden cameras? See Public Interest"
guidance clause
photoshop? framing?
attribute! You will be caught.
the MEAA & APC codes do NOT apply to PR practitioners

although PR people can be a member of the MEAA
Code compliance is largely complaint-driven (from audience, public, [competitors] [politicians]).

The same story on different media can go through different complaint processes; and can be complained about differently or not complained about at all.

Regulators rarely, if ever, initiate complaints.
press council
internet & other platforms
3. “Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.”

4. “Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.”

6: “Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.”
10 months to deal with complaint: Oct '14 - Aug '15
complaint by transgender community (victim dec'd)
training, how to report transgender guideline adopted...
Kyle & Jackie O
Alan Jones
cash for comment
cronulla riots
Auburn Swimming pool
Lie Detector test
Magda Zubanski
Journalist a "fat slag"


ACMA reports

Press Council Adjudications:
News of the World
press needs independent oversight

single independent regulator
Cost of Leveson Inquiry £6m; News Corp spent $167m on legal fees

NotW most journalists & editors acquitted or charges dropped (A Coulson now employed as media/pr for much to the horror of his colleagues


Editorial (unsigned) in final edition of NotW: "Phones were hacked, and for that this newspaper is truly sorry... there is no justification for this appalling wrongdoing.”

Closure of NotW cost £240m; 200 people lost jobs;


Cost of running ACMA (2012/13) $ 126m
(read their annual report: they are busy)

APC $2m
(also busy, not just with complaints)


(union funded by members' subscription) (5300 members @ $.95- $30.00 = benefits eg insurance, training)

Commonwealth Budget – priorities??

(Won’t renew HR Disability Commissioner; adds a Free Speech Commissioner)

Get Real

Regulation: economic, political?
documentary filmmakers?
social media codes of ethics?

best practice?
– privacy policy



YouTube T
erms of Service & Privacy policies:

(privacy policy, developers terms of use; terms of service)



MEAA updated in 1996
photo journalists?
photo manipulation?

e-safety commissioner
privacy commissioner
Human Rights
Ad standards
ACCC (consumer)
ACMA: no power to investigate
60 Minutes
as no 'broadcast'
ACMA:Regulatory Concepts
social influencers?
focus is on 'consumer protection';
rather than aspirational code for advertisers
Kinds of regulation: Different Tools for different needs...

1. By
not regulating
eg Market Forces, More Speech, Consumer Choice (every person for themselves, buyer beware, 'choose' the best option for you; Vote with feet/wallet Turn On/Off); Social Norms/ group think / pressure on advertisers / Get Up / Likes / Comment pages) Can lead to public shaming, vigilante -ism; )

2. Institutional Control - (contempt of court or parliament) ....

3. Enforcement by individual with legal rights (eg defamation, privacy, copyright, vilification)
(pre-publication v post publication); onus/cost on individual;

4. Licensing - of services (or technology, ownership/control) -
independent regulator to min political interference?
In the PI to deliver desirable social or economic outcomes where the market may not deliver outcomes)
(eg NBN/Reach of technology;
2/3 Ownership limits; Cross Media limits, Foreign limits
licence conditions about use of service for law purposes, no "hypnotisim"; no tobacco ads, Programming responsive to community standards"; Must develop & register codes (News & Current affairs, Progammingtimes linked to Classification
licence conditions, licence renewal processes; suspension of licence
Anti-syphoning rules for PayTV

Licence conditions for TV/Radio - No Tobacco ads, Must have codes & complaints mechanism; program time linked to classification regime; responsive to 'community standards; Ad Time standards -- breach of code may result in breach of licence condition...

Some countries won't issue licence to operate eg Google in China, unless comply with conditions eg No Falun Gong, Tianmen Sq, the letter N, Winnie the Pooh; Facebook prohibited

5. Information / Warnings - eg some products eg alcohol ads; tobacco ads plain paper packaging; Electoral Ads, information, timing , placement

6. Classification - content, warnings, information (only classified material can be broadcast)
(informed choice)

, Guidelines or industry standards; sector or industry based; needs Complaint Handling Process (for breach of codes) - For News & current affairs (fairness & accuracy) Also deal inconsistently with how to do one's job, conflicts, confidentiality etc; privacy, vilification,

internal or external? .... (self individual, organisation or industry); ombudsman (APC) or Ethics Editor (The Guardian)
voluntary or enforceable? self regulation or co-regulation

8. Legislation; legal or statutory rights or restrictions - eg individual rights eg defamation, copyright OR , offences against the state: criminal offences (obscenity; harrasment, intimidation, use of carriage service in commission of offence, child porn; Surveillance Devices Act, )

Prohibition / Censorship / prior restraint - (prohibiting; pre-publication vetting) (Therapeutic Goods, Plain Paper; unclassified material; National Secrets)

Policing (breaches of criminal laws - child pornography, revenge porn, National Secrets, metadata?)

9. Contract/ agreement - common in controlling employment/relationships & eg copyright; issues of consent

Terms of Use
- common on digital platforms; Apps

11. Quotas (eg min number of minority, or content (Oz, kids, religion, personnel) - in contracts, licences

12. Collaboration? Wiki’s group edit - wiki thinking report abuse in commenting, public scrutiny

13. Algorithm
determines what is accessed, connected, seen ...
. 'the Black Box" F Pasquale
This is a useful list for you to know about. Find examples on Discussion Board CP's
who or what is regulated?
industry self regulation
- journalists
- print media organisations
-incl online
2 different codes!

freedom of the press
4th estate
diversity or convergence??
impossible to check every page
global reach
jurisdiction limits of law
Press Council
AANA, ACA - Advertising Codes
PRIA Public Relations Code

ABC TV/Radio
SBS TV/Radio

Commercial Radio
Commercial TV/Pay TV
Internet (ISP ICP)

Organisational codes of ethics (Age Charter of Editorial Independence)
Platform Terms of Use; Rules of Use (reddit; YouTube; Instagram; F'book; Google)
1. codes
2. laws
secret recordings
national secrecy
moral rights
3. other regulation
licence conditions (Commercial)
program standards
terms of use
market forces
corporate policy (privacy policy)
ownership & control
or platform
trade practices
consumer laws
foreign investment
Classification of all tv, radio, film literature, Games, music

tv / radio must comply with classification in broadcasting

criminal laws
why isn't there a single code?
reporting courts
responding to courts
appearing in courts
criticising courts
contempt of
Broadcasting Services Act
Film & Literature
creative commons
secret recordings
stealing information
use of secret government information
(nobody knew what it would be and ....nobody knows how)
who is regulated?
week 6
week 11
no licence required;
code for those who are MEAA members
some exemptions for journalists in laws (shield laws; metadata laws; political speech defence in defamation, 'news' defence under copyright & vilification ...)
Can Bloggers/Citizen Journalists rely on exceptions for 'journalists' or 'journalism
shield laws to protect sources,
s 7B(4) Privacy Act;
fair use provisions for 'news' under s42 Copyright Act?
not all bloggers want to identify as journalists ...
essential question: if you don't need a licence
who is a journalist,??
unregulated but still responsibile/accountable? -

Still accountable under general law
and still responsible / accountable - to shareholders, audiences, markets, bosses? - everyone else!
eg PR, advertising, celebrity, creatives, artists, film makers, writers,
Who should be responsible" Who should be accountable?

sender / receiver

pushed/ pulled information
(increasing laws on censorship of the terrorist information; child pornography)

users / audience unlicenced

Media Professionals/ practitioners
{eg Journalists, Advertisers, PR professionals - no licence required; industry codes of ethics

Print media industry/organisations - unlicenced; APC code of ethics

broadcasting industry/organisations - licenced (the licensee is responsible & accountable to the ACMA for compliance with licence conditions, standards & codes (but not the people on air)

internet service providers -
telecommunications carriers licenced
internet content providers unlicensed; codes

Everyone - (Licensees AND everyone publishing are still legally liable (accountable for breaches of the general law - eg defamation, copyright, contempt, vilification)

complaint driven
revised 2014
should there be
different regulation?
licence to broadcast
(TV, Radio, Pay TV, narrowcasting, datacasting)

licence conditions (BSA)
programs standards for TV/Radio
use of internet service to commit offence

child pornography

harassment online
not every web page - & not eg print organisations online
putting theory & practice together?
Consider arguments for and against regulating the internet or usage by some people/groups etc

Eg terrorism and the internet
Protecting children
Free speech and the internet
Protecting Legacy media –
Net Neutrality
Protect concentration of power by “Byte Barons” of Silicon Valley

program standards
Australian content min
Children's programs
Ad Time standards
Who's responsible?
Responsible for what ?
Who's Accountable?
Accountable to Whom?
If you are not sure if you accountable (eg for complying with a laws or regulations or code), take responsibility for finding out...

"Ignorance of the law is no excuse"
(see Andy Coulson judgement wk 1)
I take responsibility, but I am held accountable?
... responsibility can be shared, accountability cannot?
What am I responsible for, to whom am I accountable?
theory & practice?
(who are members of the MEAA)
100's of titles owned by just a few companies -look at the APC website
other laws
Public Relations
PRIA code
terms of use/service
(forms of self regulation)
Responsibility & Accountability
Cash for Comment: john laws "I'm not a journalist, i don't have a hook for ethics"
free tv
use of public resource
program standards
– privacy policy



YouTube T
erms of Service & Privacy policies:

(privacy policy, developers terms of use; terms of service)



news & current affairs
Ad Standards Board
Human Rights Commissioner
Privacy Commissioner
general law (defamation, copyright, contempt)

broadcasting + ACMA
self regulation
Greyhound Live Baiting
ABC Code
(Surveillance Devices Act
use by 3rd party - Lenah Game Meats)
Facebook and others hear loud calls for regulation - expect to see lots of 'codes' promulgated - 'we can best regulate ourselves....'
Governments often unwilling to commit the necessary $$ to fund a regulatory system.
influencer 'transparency' rules

based on notion of Cash for Comment
See ACMA Investigative concepts
how ACMA interprets
fair and accurate
taste and decency
2018 ACCC inquiry into digital platforms


Frank Pasquale
Jay rosen
London school of Economics Media Project
Internet Ethics

privacy / surveillance
hate speech
propaganda /transparency
Full transcript