Media bosses yesterday submitted to government a Code of Practice that they have jointly agreed to adopt. And they have presented Premier Dr. Ewart Brown with a draft plan of how their voluntary Bermuda Media Council will work.
The move comes a little more than a week after the media pledged to establish a self-regulating body.
The Media Working Group, comprising Thaao Dill, programme director at Inter-Island Communications; Chris Lodge, news director at DeFontes Broadcasting Company; Tracey Neale, news director of Bermuda Broadcasting Company; Tony McWilliam, editor of the Bermuda Sun and Bill Zuill, editor of The Royal Gazette, submitted a signed copy of the code to the Cabinet Office.
The code, which sets out standards of professional conduct, will be the primary reference point for the council when handling complaints from the public.
It is based on a code used by the Press Complaints Commission in the U.K. and adopted in other countries around the world.
A joint media release stated: “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 and 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 and technology.”
The code will be posted on media websites and is printed in full on the page opposite. Media managers will continue to meet regularly over the coming weeks to “flesh out” their plan and ensure the Bermuda Media Council is set up by their self-imposed deadline of September 14. The task is being coordinated by Sun editor Tony McWilliam.
The joint statement says 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.
A Bermuda Media Council logo is being finalized and a website for the council is being set up.
The statement adds: “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.
“We welcome feedback as we move forward on this important enterprise.”
Media Working Group statement
Media Code of Practice