An association that represents many of South Africa’s online publishers has entered into discussions with the South African Press Council to explore the feasibility of a cross-platform news media code of ethics and voluntary editorial content regulatory system.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) South Africa — formerly known as the Direct Media and Marketing Association — said on Monday that the envisaged code will apply to news content across both print and online media.
“As a result of media convergence, with traditional and new media outlets all operating in the digital space, various news media industry bodies, including the South African National Editors’ Forum, the Press Council, the IAB and broadcast role players have, since last year, been in discussions about the need for a cross-media code of conduct,” the IAB said in a statement.
“The goal is to ensure that media outlets report in a fair and ethical manner that protects vulnerable groups, particularly children, and that people who feel aggrieved by news reporting on any platform would know where to turn.”
The IAB said there is “broad consensus” between it and the Press Council on the “fundamental principles underpinning a cross-platform code of ethics and regulatory system”.
“A dedicated working group has been established to determine what shape such a system could take. The working group has been assisted in this task by research into international precedents for cross-platform regulation conducted by the Media Policy and Democracy Project, a collaborative research project between the department of communication science at Unisa and the department of journalism, film and television at the University of Johannesburg.”
The working group is currently investigating the establishment of a voluntary regulatory regime across media platforms that will cover newsrooms’ editorial content, their social media activities and their handling of user-generated content on their platforms, the IAB said.
The Press Council currently deals with online publications of their print members, often in consultation with the IAB. The IAB has its own code, but lacks a formal complaints adjudication and content regulation infrastructure. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media
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