- ACCURACY, BALANCE AND FAIRNESS
a) Newspapers and magazines, radio and television broadcasting organisations and journalists working for them should report and interpret news and current affairs honestly. They should aim to disclose all known relevant facts and should take care not to publish material which is inaccurate, misleading or distorted by wrong or improper emphasis or any other factor.
b) If a significant inaccuracy, misleading or distorted statement is published it must be corrected promptly with due prominence and, where appropriate, an apology.
c) Press and broadcasting media must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.
d) Newspapers and magazines are free to be partisan but broadcasting organisations are required to be impartial. Both have a duty to be balanced and fair in their treatment of news and current affairs and their dealings with members of the public.
e) Publishers and broadcasters should report fairly the result of any legal action brought against them and have an obligation to publish in full any critical adjudication made against them by the Media Council.
- OPPORTUNITY TO REPLY
Every press or broadcasting organisation has an obligation to give a fair opportunity to reply to any individual or organisation which the newspaper or broadcasting organisation itself attacks editorially.
a) Publication or broadcasting of information, including pictures, about the private lives or concerns of individuals without their consent is acceptable only if a serious legitimate public interest outweighs their normal human right to privacy.
b) Publishing such material or making inquiries about the private lives or concerns of individuals without consent is only justified where the material concerned ought to be published in the public interest, outweighing the normal human right of privacy.
c) 'In the public interest' is not synonymous with 'of interest to the public': the public interest relied upon to justify intrusion must be the serious and proper public interest and not mere curiosity. Entry into public life does not disqualify individuals from the right to privacy about their private affairs except where the circumstances of these are likely to affect their performance of, or fitness for, the public roles they hold or seek.
d) The overriding public interest relied upon in this and other clauses of the Code may include:
Detection or exposure of crime.
Protection of public health and safety.
Preventing the public from being seriously misled on an important matter by a public statement or action of an individual or institution.
- HARASSMENT AND PURSUIT
Journalists and broadcasters must not seek interviews, information or pictures by intimidation, harassment or persistent pursuit. Nor should they invade individuals' privacy by deception, eavesdropping or covert technological means (including the taking of pictures in private places by long lens photography). Information and picture-gathering by such methods can be justified only in very rare circumstances where the material sought ought to be published in the public interest and could not be obtained in any other way.
Journalists, press and broadcasting organisations should use straightforward means to obtain information and pictures, normally identifying themselves when doing so. Use of subterfuge (e.g. false identity or covert recording) can be justified only in rare circumstances when the material sought ought to be published in the public interest and could not be obtained in any other way. See 3(d).
a) Press and broadcasting media should avoid discriminatory or denigrating references to people's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation or preference, physical or mental disability or illness, or age.
b) They should not refer to a person's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, or physical or mental illness in a prejudicial or pejorative context except where it is strictly relevant to the matter reported or
c) adds significantly to readers', viewers' or listeners' understanding of that matter.
d) Media organisations should be sensitive to and particularly careful about the possible effects of discriminatory references to vulnerable minorities in prejudicial or pejorative contexts.
e) While press and broadcasting media are free to report and comment on all matters of public interest it is their duty not to publish material in a form likely to promote or encourage racial hatred or discord.
a) Generally, journalists and broadcasters should not interview or photograph a child under the age of 16 in the absence of, or without the consent of a parent or other adult responsible for the child.
b) Generally, children should not be approached by the media, interviewed or photographed at school without the permission of the school authorities.
c) Publication without consent of material about a child's private life cannot be justified solely by the fame, notoriety or position of his or her parents.
- VICTIMS IN SEXUAL CASES
a) Journalists and broadcasters should not normally identify victims of sexual assaults or publish material likely to contribute to their identification even when free by law to do so.
b) Journalists and broadcasters should not identify children under the age of 16 either as victims or witnesses in cases alleging sexual offences.
c) Reports of cases alleging sexual offences against a child may identify an adult concerned but must not identify the child, and must not include facts which imply a close relationship between an accused adult and a child victim. Where either party is identifiable, the word "incest" should not be used.
- SEXUAL RELATIONS AND CONDUCT
When reporting or portraying sexual activity and conduct, journalists, press and broadcasting organisations should be keenly aware of the danger of publishing material that affronts or offends public decency or the likely audience or readership. Particular regard should be paid to the context of publication and time of transmission.
Crime and anti-social behaviour, especially involving violence, should not be glamorised or reported, portrayed or detailed in a manner which on reasonable judgement would be likely to encourage or incite imitation or experiment. Editors, journalists and broadcasters should pay particular regard to the context, time of transmission and probable effect and the likely audience or readership of such items. Special attention should be paid to the likelihood of such material being read, seen or listened to by children.
- PAYMENTS FOR ARTICLES etc.
a) Payments or offers of payment must not be made, directly or through agents, to people engaged in or convicted of crime for information or articles related to their crimes, or for pictures whose value lies in their association with crime. Nor should such payments or offers be made to associates of persons engaged in or convicted of crime, including, their family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
b) No payment or offer of payment should be made, directly or indirectly, to any person known to be, or reasonably expected to be, a witness in criminal proceedings, for information or articles in connection with the proceedings until after their conclusion .
c) Payment or an offer of payment may very exceptionally be justified in the circumstances of a) or b) if information which ought to be published in the overriding public interest cannot be obtained by any other means. See 3(d).
- INNOCENT RELATIONS
Journalists, press and broadcasting organisations should generally avoid identifying relations of persons convicted or accused of crime unless the connection is directly relevant to the matter reported.
a) While all public institutions are properly subject to scrutiny, inquiry and comment, journalists, newspaper and broadcasting organisations should approach and refer to religious bodies in a balanced, fair and seemly manner, recognising the respect and reverence in which they, their representatives and their beliefs are likely to be held by adherents.
b) Journalists and broadcasters should avoid giving offence to believers of all faiths by casual, gratuitous and expletive references to deities, which are unnecessary or unjustified by the context.
c) Recognition of the need for sensitive and balanced treatment of religions and religious affairs is particularly necessary in a society of differing faiths.
- FIJIAN CHIEFLY AND OTHER ETHNIC INSTITUTIONS
While free to report and to comment in the public interest on Fijian chiefly institutions, traditions, affairs and other cultural matters, and on those of mother racial or ethnic groups, journalists and broadcasters should take particular care to deal with these subjects with sensitivity and appropriate respect.
- STRONG LANGUAGE
Journalists and broadcasters should avoid gratuitous use of strong swear words, obscene or blasphemous language in copy or broadcasts. Publication or broadcasting of these in direct form can be justified only in rare cases when it is essential to readers' or audiences' understanding of the story reported or the dramatic development of a programme. In such cases care must be taken in choosing the context and scheduling of the material concerned to avoid unnecessarily causing offence to its likely readers or audience.
- GRIEF AND BEREAVEMENT
Journalists, press and broadcasting organisations should respect personal grief, taking care to make any necessary approaches and inquiries with sensitivity and discretion.
Advertisements and advertiser-sponsored material must be clearly distinguishable from general editorial and programme matter, where necessary by being clearly labelled in print or on air "advertisement", "advertising feature" etc.
- PERSONAL INTEREST AND INFLUENCES
a) Journalists of all media should not allow personal or family interest to influence them in their professional duties.
b) They should not know themselves to be influenced by any consideration, gift or advantage offered to them, or by advertising or other commercial considerations.
- FINANCIAL JOURNALISM
a) Journalists and broadcasters should not use for their own or their families' profit, directly or indirectly, financial information received in their professional capacity in advance of its general publication.
b) They should not write or broadcast about shares or securities in which they or their families have an interest without disclosing the interest to their editor (or financial editor) and, where appropriate to their readers or audience.
c) They should not buy or sell shares or securities about which they have written recently or which they intend to write about in the near future.
- CONFIDENTIAL SOURCES
Journalists of all media have a moral obligation to protect confidential sources of information, and to respect confidences knowingly and willingly accepted in the course of their occupation.