Joint media statement
THURSDAY, JULY 8, 2010: A dozen media outlets are now behind the establishment of the self-regulating Bermuda Media Council.
The initiative was launched by our five entities — Inter-island Communications, DeFontes Broadcasting, Bermuda Broadcasting, the Bermuda Sun and The Royal Gazette.
We have been joined by Bernews, The Workers’ Voice, IslandStats.com, The Bermudian Publishing Co., Bermuda Network News, the blog site 21square.com and Bermudabiographies.bm — all of which have adopted or pledged to adopt, by the end of this month, a common Code of Practice.
The Code of Practice will be the primary reference point for the Bermuda Media Council when handling complaints from the public.
We’re delighted with the level of cooperation within the industry and will continue to reach out to other media outlets to encourage them to come on board.
In another development, veteran journalist Meredith Ebbin has been appointed Executive Officer for the media council. She will be the point person for complaints from the public.
Ms Ebbin, now semi-retired, runs the Bermudabiographies.bm website and worked as a print journalist for more than 30 years. She is renowned for scrupulousness in reporting and her experience and credibility make her ideal for the role.
A three-member Appointments Committee, the primary role of which will be to select members of the media council, has been formed. The media council will have five lay members (including a chairman) with no connection to the media and three members nominated by the media, one each to represent print, broadcast and web-only.
The Appointments Committee is chaired by Venous Memari, an attorney and former chairperson of the Human Rights Commission. Currently, her practice encompasses administrative and public law, and mediation.
Her colleagues on the committee are Myra Virgil and Leopold Mills.
Dr. Virgil is Programme Executive (Bermuda) of The Atlantic Philanthropies and the former Director of Human Affairs for the Bermuda Government, which encompasses the Human Rights Commission, the former CURE Commission, Consumer Affairs and the National Office for Seniors and the Physically Challenged.
Mr. Mills is a former radio and television broadcaster both here and in the British Virgin Islands, a former Secretary to The Cabinet and Head of The Civil Service and currently Legal Aid counsel in The Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Office.
In the coming weeks the Appointments Committee will reach out to the public, through advertisements, for unpaid volunteers to sit on the media council.
It’s important for us to emphasize at this juncture that the Bermuda Media Council’s role will be to serve the public, by providing a forum through which they can resolve complaints against the media. The process will be quick, easily accessible and independent.
Finally, work continues apace on assembling content for the Bermuda Media Council website, through which users will be able to access the Code of Practice, the complaints procedure, reports on adjudications and contact information.
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, The Royal Gazette