COMPLAINTS HANDLING POLICY
Purpose: To outline our legal requirements relating to complaint handling.
screenhub abides by the principles of the Australian Press Council and the MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics, which are reiterated at the end of this section for clarity and transparency.
1. We acknowledge the rights of our readers, members and the broader Australian arts sector to make complaints in writing about inaccurate, misleading or unethical commentary on screenhub. A written complaint or response can be a letter or email.
2. We will make every reasonable effort to resolve complaints, except where a complaint is clearly frivolous, without sufficient grounds or not made in good faith.
3. We will ensure that:
(a) Complaints will be received by a responsible person in normal office hours and receipt is acknowledged in writing.
(b) Complaints will be conscientiously considered, investigated if necessary, and responded to substantively as soon as possible.
(c) Complaints about editorial content will be investigated by the Editorial Team Leader. If the complaint concerns work written by the Editorial Team Leader, complaints will be investigated by the CEO.
(d) Complaints will be responded to in writing within 60 days of receipt.
(e) If the complainant is unhappy with the resolution of their complaint, screenhub will refer to the complainant to the MEAA’s National Ethic Committee.
4. A responsible screenhub staff member will maintain a record of complaints and responses for at least two years from the date of the complaint.
5. The record of complaints and responses will be made available to MEAA’s National Ethic Committee upon request.
Australian Press Council Statement of General Principles
THE FOLLOWING GENERAL PRINCIPLES APPLY TO MATERIAL PUBLISHED ON OR AFTER 1 AUGUST 2014.
Publications are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:
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.
MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics
Respect for truth and the public’s right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Journalists search, disclose, record, question, entertain, comment and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be responsible and accountable.
MEAA members engaged in journalism commit themselves to:
- Respect for the rights of others
Journalists will educate themselves about ethics and apply the following standards:
- 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.