The domain name <JournalistComplaints.com> was registered on the 8th July 2011, that is, two days before the ‘News of the World’ mobile phone-hacking scandal first broke in the Australian media. So, the answer is no. The registration of this domain name and the events in the UK are unrelated.
Question 9: What motivated the construction of this website?
The impetus to build this website can be traced back to some very stressful media experiences my wife, my family and I experienced some years ago.
In each instance, I believed that there was no justification for some of the media practices that occurred. I felt angry, frustrated, distressed and powerless against the media machine and the detrimental effect it was having on us all. Legal redress was possible, but it was always too risky, expensive, stressful and time consuming. In addition, I just didn’t have the energy to do anything other than to try and survive each media onslaught and manage each situation, as best as I could.
To this day I, and many others, remain guarded when interacting with journalists because of their potential to humiliate, hurt and embarrass, their ability to distort the meaning of our actions and statements and because there is little, if any, real public accountability for what they may do.
Nevertheless, I am also of the view that journalism is an important profession, worthy of the publics' respect and trust. This website is my attempt to bring about some reconciliation between these two views and I hope it will be seen in this light.
Question 10: What is the Australian Journalists Code of Ethics?
Of all the various codes of conduct and practice that apply to journalists, the most widely known is the Australian Journalists Code of Ethics. While this code only applies to journalist members of the MEAA and is open to interpretation, it is nevertheless widely regarded as the "corner stone" of ethical and professional journalistic behaviour. It states:
"Respect for truth and the public's right to information are fundamental principles of journalism. Journalists describe society to itself. They convey information, ideas and opinions, a privileged role. They search, disclose, record, question, entertain, suggest and remember. They inform citizens and animate democracy. They give a practical form to freedom of expression. Many journalists work in private enterprise, but all have these public responsibilities. They scrutinise power, but also exercise it, and should be accountable. Accountability engenders trust. Without trust, journalists do not fulfil their public responsibilities. Alliance members engaged in journalism commit themselves to:
Respect for the rights of others
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit, to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence.
5. 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.
6. Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.
7. Do your utmost to ensure disclosure of any direct or indirect payment made for interviews, pictures, information or stories.
8. Use fair, responsible and honest means to obtain material. Identify yourself and your employer before obtaining any interview for publication or broadcast. Never exploit a person’s vulnerability or ignorance of media practice.
9. Present pictures and sound which are true and accurate. Any manipulation likely to mislead should be disclosed.
10. Do not plagiarise.
11. Respect private grief and personal privacy. Journalists have the right to resist compulsion to intrude.
12. Do your utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.
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."