The Independent Media Council was formed in 2012 to handle complaints by readers against funding bodies.
THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA COUNCIL GUIDELINES
Newspapers - West Australian Newspapers Ltd
The West Australian | The Weekend West
The Sunday Times
Countryman, Bunbury Herald, South Western Times, Busselton Dunsborough Times, Augusta Margaret River Times, Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Great Southern Herald, Albany Advertiser, The Extra, Harvey-Waroona Reporter, Narrogin Observer, Great Southern Herald, Kalgoorlie Miner, Goldfields Express, Sound Telegraph, Southern Telegraph, Geraldton Guardian, Midwest Times, Northern Guardian, Pilbara News, North West Telegraph, Broome Advertiser,
The Kimberley Echo
Online - West Australian Newspapers Ltd
thewest.com.au, health.thewest.com.au, perthnow.com.au
Magazines - Pacific Magazines Pty Limited
Better Homes and Gardens, Bike, Bride To Be, Diabetic Living, family circle, Famous, Girlfriend, Home Beautiful, In Style, K-Zone, Lexus, marie claire,
Men’s Health, New Idea, Practical Parenting, Prevention, SBS Feast, Take One, that’s life, Total Girl, Voyeur, Who, Women’s Health, Your Garden
FUNDING BODIES / PUBLISHERS / PUBLICATIONS
1. The Independent Media Council
The Independent Media Council (IMC) comprises three persons who together agree to discharge the functions set out below in the manner prescribed for the purposes stated and in order to achieve compliance with the IMC Code of Conduct and the Privacy Policies of its funding bodies.
2. The Inaugural Members
2.1 On 8 May 2012 Cheryl Edwardes, James McGinty and Chris Steytler agreed to be appointed as the inaugural members of the IMC;
2.2 The term of appointment of the inaugural members is for three years from 8 May 2012;
2.3 Members may at any time retire by notice in writing to the other members;
2.4 Should a member retire, become bankrupt, become of unsound mind, or become a person whose person or estate is liable to be dealt with under the law relating to mental health, he or she will cease to be a member.
2.5 Should a member retire or cease to be a member a new member will be appointed by the funding bodies from a list of candidates to be submitted by the existing members.
3. Purpose of the IMC
The purpose of the IMC is to promote freedom of speech through responsible and independent journalism and to facilitate the resolution of complaints made to it by members of the public about the print and online print media publications of the funding bodies.
4. Funding Bodies
4.1 The funding bodies of the IMC are publishers of print and/or online print media publications wherever published;
4.2 The inaugural funding body is Seven West Media Limited (SWM);
4.3 The related companies of SWM publish the print and online print media publications listed in Annexure 1;
4.5 Any funding body may cease to be a funding body by giving written notice to that effect to the IMC, provided that the funding body first discharges its funding obligations current at the date of the notice.
5. Code of Conduct
5.1 The IMC and the funding bodies will review from time to time the IMC Code of Conduct for the guidance of journalists and funding bodies and against which complaints from the public against funding bodies in relation to any publication of a funding body will be assessed;
5.2 The inaugural Code of Conduct of the IMC is attached as Annexure 2.
7. Functions of the IMC
The functions of the IMC are
7.1 The adjudication of complaints against published material in a print or online print publication of any funding body, if such a complaint cannot first be resolved by the Readers’ Editor of the publication of the funding body;
7.2 The review from time to time of the IMC Code of Conduct and the Privacy Policies of each funding body.
8. Powers of the IMC
In performing its function of dealing with complaints the IMC will have power to
(a) require publication of its determinations or of a specified part or parts thereof;
(b) specify the page or place of publication of a determination, on the understanding that this will be complied with as closely as is reasonably practicable;
(c) recommend the making of an apology; and
(d) recommend the withdrawal of an online print media publication.
9. Funding Bodies’ Obligations
9.1 Funding bodies will publish every determination required to be published by them by the IMC in the relevant publication and as nearly as is reasonably practicable on the page and/or in the place specified by the IMC;
9.2 Each determination is to be published, wherever practicable, in the next issue of the publication concerned;
9.3 Each funding body retains discretion whether or not to accept a recommendation for the making of an apology or the withdrawal of an online print media publication but where it declines to accept such a recommendation it will, if required to do so, publish the fact that the recommendation was made by the IMC;
9.4 Each of the funding bodies’ publications will carry regular statements (not less than weekly) and regular advertisements (not less than monthly) to the effect that complaints may be made to the Readers’ Editor of the publication, and, if not resolved, may be referred to the IMC, and that, alternatively, complaints may be made directly to the IMC;
9.4.1 SWM as the inaugural founding body will implement the establishment of a secure email address for the facilitation of complaints to the IMC and the establishment of a website for the IMC;
9.6 All funding bodies are to use their best endeavours to comply with the time limits specified in the processes of the IMC.
10. Processes of the IMC
10.1 All complaints must be in writing
10.2 Complaints will ordinarily be made to the Readers’ Editor appointed by each publication of the funding body but may be made directly to the IMC where a complainant insists on doing so;
10.3 Where a complaint is made directly to the IMC the IMC may deal with it or refuse to do so and refer it to the Readers’ Editor of the relevant publication of the funding body;
10.4 The Readers’ Editor will endeavour to resolve each complaint within two days;
10.5 Failing resolution within that period or such longer period as might be necessary (not exceeding seven days) the complaint will be referred to the IMC;
10.6 The IMC will endeavour to resolve the issue by conciliation within two days or such longer period as might be necessary, not exceeding seven days;
10.7 The IMC may ask for parties to attend for mediation or hearing;
10.8 If requested by a funding body to do so, the IMC may, but is not obliged to, require a waiver of any right to bring action against the publication in question as a condition of resolving the complaint. If a waiver is not granted the publication is not obliged to participate in the process;
10.9 Failing resolution by agreement, the IMC will issue a determination forthwith or, if either of the parties has not by then had a sufficient opportunity to be heard, after hearing from the parties in conference (including by video or telephone);
10.10 A quorum for the making of a determination shall be a minimum of two members but the IMC may perform its conciliation function by one member only.
11. Meetings, funding and honorariums
11.1 The funding bodies will share, in proportions to be agreed by them, the funding of the IMC;
11.2 The funding bodies will fund
(a) appropriate meeting and conference facilities for the IMC;
(b) appropriate secretarial and transcription facilities for the IMC;
(c) email and internet facilities secure to the IMC;
(d) the IMC website;
(e) other reasonable disbursements of the IMC such as mail, couriers, stationery and sustenance;
to the satisfaction of the IMC.
11.3 Until otherwise determined the IMC will meet at the offices of Messrs Holman Fenwick Willan;
11.4 Until otherwise determined the IMC members are to be paid an honorarium of $20,000 per annum.
Annexure 1: Publications of Seven West Media Limited
© Independent Media Council 2012