Editorial Conduct of Conduct

This policy is to be followed by all Vision Times Media Australia’s editorial staff and applies to all Vision Times Media Australia’s mastheads, both print and digital.

Editorial staff includes full-time, part-time, fixed-term and casual employees and also contractors, contributors, consultants, freelance photographers, interns and volunteers.

Vision Times Media Australia is committed to the following principles:

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

All editorial staff is to follow the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s Journalistic Code of Ethics.

All editorial staff will:

  1. 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.

1.1. Always try to tell all sides of the story when reporting on disputes and with such stories, reasonable steps should be taken to contact adversely named parties.

1.2. Direct quotations should not be altered except to delete offensive language, protect against defamation, or to make minor changes for clarity.

1.3. Information from social media must be verified before being used in any reports.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.

3.1. Journalists should only rely on credible sources.

  1. Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.

4.1. Payment should not be made for interviews or information. If a request for payment or other reward or compensation is made, agreement must not be given without the approval of the Chief Editor.

4.2. Editorial staff must not request or accept any money, travel, goods, discounts, entertainment or inducements of any kind outside the normal scope of business hospitality. If any of the above is accepted, a conflict of interest must be declared (see clause 5) and be made known to the Chief Editor or direct line manager.

  1. 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.
  1. Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.
  1. Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or stories.

7.1. All paid editorials and campaigns must be labelled as such.

  1. Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and Vision China Times Australia before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
  1. Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.

9.1. Enhancement of photographs is acceptable. However, this should be limited to simple procedures to improve reproduction quality.

9.2. Copyright permitting, any pictures cropped, altered or enhanced for artistic purposes must be clearly labelled as such together with the author/s of the original picture/s.

  1. Do not plagiarise.

10.1. At all times, proper credit must be given to the source of any information used in written articles.

10.2. Staff must not reproduce other people’s material without attribution, other than in exceptional circumstances – for example where the source cannot be identified — and only with permission of the chief editor. The source of published material obtained from another organisation should be acknowledged, including quotes taken from other newspaper articles. By lines should be carried only on material that is substantially the work of the by lined journalist. If an article contains a significant amount of agency copy then the agency should be credited.

  1. Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.

11.1. No one should be placed under the pressure to be photographed or interviewed. Those who are grieving or bereaved must be respected.

  1. Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.

12.1. If significant mistakes or errors in reporting come to the attention of the editorial team, immediate steps must be taken to correct the mistake as soon as possible.

12.2. If the publication has already been printed, the amendment must be denoted in the next edition. For digital articles, the amendment must be made immediately online with a clarification/correction note below the actual article.

12.3. All editorial staff has a duty to report any mistakes and/or errors or claims of bias and/or defamation to the Chief Editor as soon as it comes to their attention.

  1. Privacy

13.1. All individuals, including public figures, have a right to privacy. But public figures necessarily sacrifice their right to privacy, where public scrutiny is in the public interest.

13.2. Publication of sensitive personal information — such as taxation details, Family Court records and health and welfare matters — may be prohibited by law.

13.3. Editorial staff will be expected to justify intrusions into any individual’s private life without consent.

13.4. Do not photograph or film people on private property without their consent unless it is in the public interest to do so. If asked by the resident to leave private property, do so promptly.

  1. Hospitals, other facilities

14.1. Do not go into non-public areas of hospitals, welfare institutions, funeral parlours, churches etc, without either identifying yourself to relevant authorities or without permission of the people affected or their intermediaries unless appropriate prior approval has been obtained from the Chief Editor.

  1. Children (under 18 years of age)

15.1. Children should not be prompted in interviews, or offered inducements to cooperate.

15.2. Do not identify children in crime and court reports without state specific legal advice.

15.3. Do not approach children inside schools without the permission of a school authority.

15.4. Photos of children cannot be taken from any identifiable angles without permission from a parent or legal guardian.

  1. Content restrictions

16.1. Do not reveal graphic details of a suspected suicide or graphic details of the method and location of a suicide unless the public interest in doing so clearly outweighs the risk, if any, of causing further suicides.

16.2. Do not sensationalise, glamorise or trivialise suicides, gambling and drug addiction. Adopt sensitivity and moderation in news gathering and in any contact with those who might be affected. Where possible, include in such reports the contact number of support groups where people with problems may seek help.

16.3. Do not report recipes for drug manufacture details of distribution or descriptions of the use of other harmful substances unless justified by public interest considerations or at the request of authorities.

16.4. Do not include any graphic content of violence that is not acceptable to a reasonable person.

16.5. Adult content (18+) must not be included in any articles.

Guidance Clause

Basic values often need interpretation and sometimes come into conflict. Ethical journalism requires conscientious decision-making in context. Only substantial advancement of the public interest or risk of substantial harm to people allows any standard to be overridden.

Breaches of the code

Complaints involving alleged breaches of this policy will be investigated by the Chief Editor. Where an editorial staff is found to have breached this code, a range of actions could be taken, including further training, formal performance management or termination.

Complaints procedure

All readers of Vision China Times’ print and digital publications are encouraged to alert us to factual errors, complaints or any other tips to help improve future coverage by emailing: [email protected]  or calling (02) 9283 9224.