As well as conforming to relevant provisions of the General Media Code of Ethics and Practice to which they are committed, broadcasters and broadcasting organisations preparing and presenting programmes should comply with the following principles and practice:
- TASTE AND DECENCY
Recognise currently accepted general standards of decency and taste in language and behaviour, bearing in mind the context in which the language and behaviour occur (including humour, satire and drama) and the timing of transmission and likely audience of the programme.
- IMPARTIALITY AND BALANCE
Show fairness at all times, and show impartiality and balance in any programme, series of programmes or in broadly related programmes over a reasonable period of time when dealing with political matters, current affairs, and controversial questions.
- DECEPTIVE PRACTICES
Abstain from use of any deceptive programme, practice or technique (including transmission of "reconstructions" or library pictures, film and recordings which are not clearly identifiable as such) which may diminish viewers' and listeners' confidence in the integrity of broadcasting.
Interviews for radio and television must be arranged, conducted, and edited fairly and honestly. Potential interviewees are entitled to know in advance the format, subject and purpose of their interview, whether it will be transmitted live or recorded, whether it may be edited, and whether only part of it may be used, or it may not be used at all.
They are also entitled to know in advance the identity and roles of other people likely to be interviewed at the same time or on the same subject for the same programme.
The presentation and editing of an interview must not distort or misrepresent the views of the interviewee or give a false impression of dialogue or the pretence that a recorded interview is being transmitted live.
Violence shown graphically or realistically indicated by sound must be justifiable in its context and intensity as being necessary to the programme.
Violence combined with sexuality should not be transmitted in a manner designed to titillate its audience. Explicit detail and prolonged focus on sexually violent contact must be avoided. See also Clause 12.
- DISTRESSING MATERIAL
Editors, producers and broadcasters of news, current affairs and documentary programmes should take particular care in deciding whether the inclusion of graphic detail and intensity of violent or distressing material is warranted by its relevance and aid to public understanding of the subject.
Special consideration must be given to possible transmission of particularly disturbing images including:
a) torture or ill-treatment of people or animals
b) close-ups of dead or mutilated bodies
c) images of people in extreme pain, or on the point of death
d) violence or ill-treatment of children.
- WARNING OF DISTURBING OR OFFENSIVE MATERIAL
Warning should be broadcast before or at the beginning of any programme containing language or pictures which are likely to be disturbing or offensive to normal viewers or listeners bearing in mind the time of transmission, channel or wavelength and the likely audience.
- DANGEROUS AND ANTI-SOCIAL DETAIL
Detailed pictures or information about methods of suicide and hanging, the making of explosive or incendiary devices, or illicit use of drugs or solvents should not be transmitted in a way which might encourage or instruct such actions.
- CRIME AND DISORDER
Programmes likely to promote civil insurrection or encourage crime or public disorder must not be broadcast.
- HIJACKING AND KIDNAPPING
No information should be published or broadcast which is likely to endanger lives in, or prejudice attempts to deal with, a hijack or kidnapping.
- ALARM, HYPNOTISM AND SUBLIMINAL PERCEPTION
Refrain from broadcasting any programme, which, when considered whole:
a) simulates news or events in sound or pictures in such a way as to mislead or alarm its audience
b) depicts the process of putting a subject into a hypnotic state or is designed to induce a hypnotic state in its audience
c) uses 'subliminal perception' or any similar technique to try to convey information by transmission of messages below or near the threshold of normal awareness, or
d) in an ostensibly factual programme depicts or demonstrates exorcism, psychic or occult practices other than as the subject of a legitimate investigation.
Cartoons, particularly when likely to be seen by children, should not include excessive violence especially when they feature human characters and follow realistic story lines as opposed to obviously fantastic or farcical themes. ( See also Clause 5. )
- SUPPLIED MATERIAL
Where a strong, editorial reason warrants the inclusion in any programme of video or other recorded material supplied by or on behalf of official bodies, commercial companies or campaigning organisations, its source should be clearly labelled on air in sound or vision.
- PRODUCT PLACEMENT AND REFERENCE
Television and radio advertisements should normally be confined to paid-for advertising time. Undue prominence should not be given in news, factual or entertainment programmes to commercial products or services. Their appearance or reference to them should be strictly limited by the editorial requirements of the programme. Where appearance or reference is justified on editorial grounds it should be given no more prominence than the editorial consideration warrants.
In news, factual and entertainment programmes, commercial products should not generally be identified by brand names or, where avoidable, shown in close-up or with displayed logos, brand names or symbols.
- COMPETITION FAIR DEALING
Ensure that in programmes there is no collusion between broadcasters and contestants which results in the favouring of any contestant over others.
CODE OF ETHICS AND PRACTICE
FOR BROADCAST ADVERTISEMENTS
Broadcasting (television and radio) advertising must be legal, decent, honest and truthful.
Advertisements must comply with the laws of Fiji and must be rejected by broadcasting organisations if they do not.
- SPIRIT OF CODE
Broadcasting organisations are responsible for ensuring that advertisements comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Broadcast Advertisements and for rejecting them if they do not do so.
Advertisements must be clearly distinguishable from news, editorial and other programmes. In cases which leave any room for doubt, they must be labelled as advertisements on air in sound or vision.
They must not contain material in sound or vision likely to deceive or mislead audiences about any product or service, directly or by implication, by inclusion, omission, ambiguity, or false or misleading comparison.
- TASTE AND DECENCY
They should not include material which is offensive to prevailing general standards of taste and decency, or likely to prejudice respect for human dignity among its audience bearing in mind the manner and time of transmission.
Advertisements should not portray individuals or groups in a manner likely to expose them to violence, exploitation, hatred, contempt, abuse, denigration, ridicule or discrimination.
- DISCRIMINATORY EXPLOITATION
Advertisements may legitimately be aimed at particular audiences of specialised sections of the population but they must not seek to exploit or denigrate race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or preference, or cultural, political or religious beliefs.
- SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
They should not employ sexual appeal which exploits or degrades individuals or groups to promote the sale of goods or services. Women should not be portrayed irrelevantly in advertisements in attempts to use sexual appeal to draw attention to unrelated products.
- THREATENING SITUATIONS
Advertisements should not portray people in physically or sexually threatening situations other than relevantly for educational purposes or to promote products intended to increase safety or security.
They must not support or encourage the unjustifiable use of violence or appear to do so.
- TRUST, SUPERSTITION AND FEAR
They should not abuse the trust of consumers or audiences, or exploit their lack of experience or knowledge, exploit superstitions, or play on fears without justification.
Advertisements should not disparage or denigrate identifiable competitors or other products.
Comparisons with competing products, e.g. of price, durability or quality, must not be misleading, must be fair, and must be based on facts which can be substantiated. Before accepting or transmitting an advertisement which makes comparisons, account should be taken of the relevant code of practice of the commercial broadcasting organisation concerned.
Advertisements must not include or refer to testimonial or endorsements unless these are genuine, not misleading, and relate directly to the endorser's personal experience. Testimonials by children should not be used.
- INCLUSION OF LIVING PEOPLE
Advertisements should not refer to or depict any living, person, directly or inferentially, in a way which implies his or her endorsement of a product or service without his or her prior written permission.
The identity of any advertiser whose advertisement deals with a matter of public controversy should be made clear on air in sound or vision.
FIJI'S CHIEFLY INSTITUTIONS Advertisements must not contain material likely to lower public esteem for Fiji's chiefly institutions or other ethnic cultural institutions which are similarly revered.
- PROHIBITED MATTER OR MESSAGES. RACIAL HATRED, RELIGIOUS OFFENCE, INSURRECTION, PARTY POLITICS
Advertisements should not be accepted or transmitted if their effect is likely to:
a) incite racial hatred discrimination or discord
b) cause offence to adherents of any major religion
c) promote civil insurrection
d) solicit support for any political party or view other than in accordance with any future legislation, regulation or generally agreed provision for political advertising.
- ADVERTISEMENTS AND CHILDREN
The possible effects and impact of advertisements which are aimed at children depict or refer to them or are transmitted during or immediately before or after programmes principally intended for children must be considered with great care. Before their acceptance or transmission account must be taken of the Code for Broadcast Advertising to Children and the relevant guidelines and internal codes of individual commercial broadcasting organisations.
- ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, ROAD SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS
Similarly, account must be taken of the relevant internal code of practice of the broadcasting organisation concerned before accepting or transmitting advertisements dealing with alcohol tobacco or financial services involving road safety or which make environmental claims.
USE OF THE WORDS 'GUARANTEE' AND 'FREE'
Special care should be taken before allowing the use in an advertisement of words such as:
a) 'guarantee' 'guaranteed' 'warranty' or 'warranted' . The broadcasting organisation must be satisfied that the full terms of any guarantee etc. referred to are either expressed or available for inspection and
b) 'free' products and samples should not be described as 'free' unless they are supplied at no cost or no extra cost except that of postage or carriage.
THE MEDIA COUNCIL CODE FOR
BROADCAST ADVERTISING TO CHILDREN
While complying with the Media Council's General Code of Ethics and Practice for Broadcast Advertisements, broadcasting organisations and advertisers on their services are required to observe the following articles of practice in respect of advertisements aimed at children, i.e. viewers aged 14 years or under, to which Article 20 Advertisements and Children in the General Broadcast Code also relates.
a) Violence or aggression should not be portrayed in advertisements aimed at children.
b) Advertisements should not contain menacing, or horrific themes, pictures or sounds likely to disturb children.
c) They should not encourage anti-social behaviour or children behaving anti-socially.
d)Advertisements should not urge children to ask parents to buy particular products.
e) Advertisements should not suggest that a child who does not own or have the product advertised will be inferior or be regarded as inferior.
a) Unless specifically advertising, safety, advertisements should not contain any oral or graphic representation of children taking part in unsafe acts or in unsafe situations, or encourage them to consort with strangers or to enter strange or hazardous places.
b) Unless specifically advertising safety, advertisements should not show products being used unsafely or dangerously, or products which would be unsafe if used by children without supervision.
c) Advertisements should not depict realistic toy weapons, which could be confused with real weapons.
a) Care should be taken that advertisements are not ambiguous and do not mislead children about the size, value, nature, durability or performance of the product advertised.
b) Advertisements should make clear when additional items (e.g. batteries, paint or costumes) are needed to use the product or produce the effect shown.
c) The fact that a product must be assembled should be made clear, and where relevant the source of power and method of operation should be indicated.
d) Advertisements must not understate the degree of skill required to use a product. The skill required to obtain results shown or indicated must be attainable by an average child in the age range for which the product is intended.
If price is mentioned, the complete price of the product should be shown, preferably in sound and vision. Advertisements should indicate clearly the cost of an initial item and of any additional items to be purchased separately.
Rules of any competition referred to should be clearly stated. The value of prizes and the chances of winning must not be exaggerated.
- HOST SELLING
Children's programmes must not contain 'host selling,', i.e. where a programme presenter or host endorses or promotes products to children