Code of conduct

screenhub Code of Conduct

screenhub expects all its staff writers, freelancers and volunteer contributors to adhere to the following journalistic principles:

Accuracy and clarity

1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.

2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.

Fairness and balance

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.

Privacy and avoidance of harm

5. Avoid intruding on a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

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.

Integrity and transparency

7. Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

8. Ensure that conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed, and that they do not influence published material.

screenhub also expects its staff writers, freelancers and volunteer contributors to adhere to the journalistic principles of the Journalistic Code of Ethics developed by the MEAA.

Ethical Journalism

Our writers will strive for:

  • Honesty
  • Fairness
  • Independence
  • Respect for the rights of others

screenhub expects its writers to educate themselves about ethics and apply the following journalistic standards, as developed by the MEAA:

  • Report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and 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.
  • Do not place unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics, including race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, family relationships, religious belief, or physical or intellectual disability.
  • Aim to attribute information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances.
  • Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.
  • 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.
  • Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.
  • Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or stories.
  • Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
  • Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
  • Do not plagiarise.
  • Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.
  • Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.

Special Conditions in Relation to a Trade or Community Publication

1. We acknowledge that many people who we interview and discuss are not public figures. They do not seek to be in our publication and derive little or no benefit from it. This means we rarely use the hard-hitting practices of our mainstream colleagues who can expect subjects to be skilled at defending themselves and alert to the risks.

2. We will take particular care to ensure that subjects know when they are on the record, and we will avoid painting them in a hostile light. We will often supply text to them so they can prepare themselves and correct errors of fact.

3. We will encourage comments on our stories, and provide substantial opportunities for discussion and reply.

Corrections and clarifications

screenhub’s policy is to remove any defamatory or inaccurate content brought to our attention as soon as possible and correct any errors as soon as possible.

Where necessary, we denote the change with a correction/clarification note at the bottom of the story, and on any social media accompanying the article in question.

Minor spelling mistakes and other amendments will be corrected but not accompanied by a statement of clarification.

In addition, journalists have a duty to cooperate frankly and openly with the Editorial team Leader about any problems and to report errors to them. Freelancers are also bound by this duty.

Personal gain

Employees must not request or accept inducements of money, goods, discounts or hospitality of any kind outside the normal scope of business hospitality. Only the CEO is authorised to accept offers of free or discounted hospitality such as travel and accommodation on behalf of a publication. All such items must also be added to the existing screenhub gifts register.

Breaches of the code

Where a writer or contributor is found to have breached screenhub’s code of conduct, actions taken can include additional training, formal performance management, or termination.

Complaints

Readers wishing to complain about the accuracy, fairness or ethics of an article or writer are referred to screenhub’s formal complaints process.