Region Media Editorial Standards

Region Media serves our community through trusted, balanced journalism.

Strong, ethical and independent editorial policies drive Region Media. Our commitment is to have balanced, relevant local content, produced by professional journalists. Our primary commitment is to building communities at a local level.

Earning and retaining the trust of our readers is essential to Region Media’s mission. Our editorial standards uphold fundamental principles of accuracy and impartiality at all times.

The code originally formulated by the Australian Journalists’ Association Code of Ethics in 1994 is the accepted industry standard, and aligns with the Australian Press Council Standards of Practice.

Journalists employed by Region Media are bound by its rules to observe this Code of Ethics in their employment:

  • To report and interpret news with scrupulous honesty.
  • Not to suppress essential facts nor distort the truth by omission or wrong or improper emphasis.
  • To respect all confidences received by them in the course of their calling.
  • Not to allow personal interests to influence them in the discharge of their duties, nor to accept or offer any present, gift or consideration, or benefit or advantage of whatsoever kind that may have the effect of so benefiting them.
  • To use only fair and honest means to obtain news, pictures and documents.
  • Always to reveal their identity as a representative of the press before obtaining any personal interview for the purpose of using it for publication.
  • To do their utmost to maintain full confidence in the integrity and dignity of the calling of a journalist.

With reference to Region Media’s specific operations:

  • News stories must meet editorial standards for news reporting and cannot be influenced by commercial considerations at any time.
  • Opinion and analysis articles must be clearly identified as such and may include partner content.
  • Features are newsworthy content created by our journalists that may include partner content.
  • Supplied articles are partner content that should be clearly identified as such.
  • All business and partnership content must meet editorial standards.
  • Editorial standards apply across all platforms and all social media properties.

EDITORIAL STANDARDS

1. Independence, integrity and responsibility

The trust and respect of the community and the consequent engagement with our commercial partners depends on Region Media’s editorial independence and integrity.

The Group Editor has the ultimate editorial responsibility and their decision is final, although all decisions will be made in a consultative framework.

Content that is controversial or likely to have a major impact should be referred to the Group Editor for consideration of any editorial policy issues.

Editorial decisions should not be influenced by political, commercial or personal interests.

2. Accuracy

Region Media gathers and presents news that is accurate according to the recognised standards of objective journalism.

Opinion and analysis cannot be classified as inaccurate in the same way as news reporting. It must be clearly identified and not mixed with factual reporting.

Sources with relevant expertise may be relied on more heavily than those without, identified sources are preferable, first person accounts have higher value.

Where a source seeks anonymity, Region Media should not agree without first considering the source’s motive and any alternative attributable sources.

Factual reporting should query sources, qualify assertions with factual context and amend clearly incorrect statements. Material facts should be accurate and presented in context, rather than in a manner that could mislead readers.

Where Region Media becomes aware of a factual error or misleading content, it should be corrected immediately. That correction should be clearly indicated in the content.

3. Impartiality and diversity of perspectives

Region Media seeks to present a diverse, balanced and representative selection of stories and viewpoints from across our community.

Impartiality and balance does not require that every perspective receives equal time, nor that every stakeholder receives equal attention. Editorial judgements will be made on the value and newsworthiness of the perspectives.

No significant strand of thought or belief within the community should be knowingly excluded or disproportionately represented.

Region Media is committed to fundamental democratic principles including the rule of law, freedom of speech and religion, parliamentary democracy and equality of opportunity.

4. Fair and honest dealing

Fair and honest dealing is essential to maintaining trust with audiences and partners.

Participants should be aware that they are participating in media content and must be given the right to refuse. This refusal should be noted without inference.

Where allegations are made about a person or organisation, they should be given a fair opportunity to respond.

Sources must be respected and protected at all times. Journalists should not disclose their sources, particularly where revealing a source’s identity is likely to be damaging to them.

Content producers should not misrepresent another’s work as their own.

5. Privacy

Privacy is a reasonable expectation and intrusion into a person’s privacy must be reasonable or justified by public interest. However, the right to privacy is not absolute and does not necessarily justify removing content that is in the public interest.

There is no right not to be photographed in public. Unless a legal matter is suppressed, court hearings are public. Social media content is also public. Region Media commits to listening respectfully to privacy issues but reserves the right to make editorial judgements.

6. Harm and offence

Region Media produces a wide range of content that aims to accurately reflect our community’s news, issues and interests and to create vigorous public debate. Some audience members may be offended by our content from time to time.

Any content that is likely to harm, offend, or lead to risks for individual or public wellbeing and safety, must have a reasonable editorial purpose and should be clearly signalled so that readers can make informed choices.

If content inadvertently causes harm or offence, it can be referred for removal, but this step must be taken in consultation with the Group Editor.

Violence, tragedy or trauma must be handled sensitively. Content should avoid causing unnecessary distress and be sensitive to cultural practices when depicting or reporting on recent deaths.

Content should avoid the unjustified use of stereotypes or discriminatory content that could reasonably be interpreted as condoning or encouraging prejudice.

7. Public access and participation

Region Media provides multiple opportunities for individuals and organisations to engage with our platforms. Region Media takes editorial responsibility for its own content and expects those who participate also to exercise responsibility for their comments.

Region Media reserves full control over participation on our sites and will exercise oversight over participants’ contributions through, for example, appropriate moderation.

Region Media may decline to broadcast or publish, or may edit, remove, correct or clarify content generated by public participants that contains error or is otherwise false, misleading or harmful.

Region Media recognises that social and political activity, including robust debate, is a necessary and desirable aspect of a healthy democratic community.

8. Complaints handling

Region Media takes any reader complaints very seriously. Complaints in the first instance should be made to the reporter responsible. If an audience member is dissatisfied with the outcome, the complaint should be referred to the Group Editor.

In the event an audience member is still unhappy with the result, the matter may be referred to the Australian Press Council for review. The Australian Press Council is responsible for promoting good standards of media practice, community access to information of public interest, and freedom of expression through the media. It is the principal body responsible for responding to complaints about Australian newspapers, magazines and associated digital outlets.

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