Friday, 22 July 2011 9:39 AM

News Corp Scandal Brings Ethics Home for Pacific: PFF

Pacific Freedom Forum, Rarotonga, COOK ISLANDS -- Pacific journalists following the global coverage over the News Corp phone-hacking scandal are putting pressures on newsroom practice around ethics and conduct codes for journalists, says regional media monitoring body the Pacific Freedom Forum, PFF.

"The unravelling of the credibility of newsroom practice in the News Corp fallout should serve as a lesson for all of us in the media and a reminder that self-regulation needs to mean something more than a mere promise to behave." says PFF acting chair Monica Miller, of American Samoa.
While many news organisations across the region have codes of conduct and ethics guidelines, few have procedures for monitoring and dealing with breaches of self-regulation.
"As well as the need for stronger self-regulation, the latest resignations within the News Limited organisation and the historic appearance of Rupert Murdoch before the British Parliamentary select committee this week are a wake up call on relationships between journalists and the powerful in small island communities. This is fraught with complex issues and we note the need to support journalists to confirm that boundaries are a necessary part of the ethics in newsrooms -- and to clarify what those boundaries are," says Miller.
PFF has welcomed news of codes of ethics training in Vanuatu and last weekend in Fiji.
"These initiatives, developed in partnerships between senior journalists and the International Federation of Journalists, reveal that media colleagues are taking up the challenges over self regulation in tune with global events. The intentions of the Media Alliance of the Pacific -- of which PFF is a member, to develop a regional ethics code can only help spread advocacy and awareness of strong self regulation," she says.
"As the News Corp saga continues, we expect it will continue to highlight the gaps and challenges of regulating the media industry and support any call for updated and relevant research into the current state of Pacific media ownership and diversity of media outlets," says Miller.--ENDS

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