Welcome to the Code

Thank you for your interest in the JAWS Code of Ethics. Please follow the Code Guide on the right hand side of this page, to navigate your way through the Draft Code of Practice for Samoa. The best way to view all sections of the code is by returning to this page, as this is the only way to gain access to all sections. URL for this page: www.jawscode.blogspot.com
If you should need more information regarding any of the content on this Guide, please e-mail the JAWS Executive at jawsexec@yahoo.com or post a comment on this entry.


Cherelle S Jackson


Draft Code of Practice - Content

stage one report and recommendations

Ian Beales, Consultant
The Thomson Foundation



Draft Code of Practice for Samoa


Introduction 2
Stage One Report 3
Purpose & Principles of the Code 4
Key Recommendations 7
The draft Codes
General Media Code of Practice 8
Code of Broadcasting Practice 12
Code of Advertising Practice 16
Cinema, Videos and DVDs 19
List of people consulted 20



AFTER a period of intense mutual antipathy, a change of leadership in Samoa brought a thaw in relations between the Government and the independent media. At a celebration in August 2003 of the 25th anniversary of the Samoa Observer, the islands’ only seven-day-a-week newspaper, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, suggested the press should consider introducing a code of practice. In fact, such a code existed and was operational, having been adapted by the Journalists Association of Western Samoa (JAWS) from a U.S. model some years previously.
However, the executive of JAWS felt that it was indeed time that Samoa had its own, tailor-made Code and, possibly, a self-regulatory Media Council to adjudicate upon alleged breaches of it. JAWS therefore sought assistance from The Thomson Foundation and, with support from the Commonwealth Media Development Fund, I was invited to Samoa to undertake a consultancy.
The Thomson Foundation saw this is a two-part operation:
· Stage One: I should visit Samoa to establish whether there was support for a Code and what form it should take if it were to command wide industry and public respect. On my return I would draft a Code, reflecting Samoa’s needs and aspirations, which would be sent to all interested parties for consultation, and in the light of that, a final Code broadly acceptable to the industry would be adopted and introduced.
· Stage Two: If and when there was general agreement on a Code, I should return to Samoa to investigate the support for a self-regulatory Media Council and whether it was desirable, practical, workable, what form it would take, its remit, mode of operation, and possible funding.
In fact, it was necessary to revise this strategy slightly. The form a Code of Practice might take is dictated in part by whether or not there is some sort of adjudicatory body to support it. A Code that relies on the self-discipline of the media to follow its rules would need to be solely prescriptive. The existence of a Media Council, in which both the media and the public have a trust, enables a qualitative Code to be written which is less prescriptive and more interpretive, according to prevailing circumstances and standards.
To determine which kind of Code should be drafted, I therefore added to the brief of the Stage One visit the need to establish whether there was support in principle for an adjudicating Media Council, subject to general agreement on its form, composition, funding and remit.
I spent 13 days in Samoa, consulting widely with members of the media, Government and civil society, and gave a seminar presentation on the principles of self-regulation to a small, invited audience. I am extremely grateful for the time, patience and unfailing courtesy, wisdom and hospitality, which I received throughout my stay, and offer my warmest thanks to all those who contributed to it.

Ian Beales, January 2005

The Stage One Report

1. The media landscape: Samoa has an ancient, distinctive and proud culture that belies the nation’s size. Its customs and values - centred upon the extended family and the communal obligations of village life within the Matai system, and underpinned by intense religious belief and strict observance - are deeply ingrained. The Samoan way of life is widely revered and there appears to be a general consensus for protecting its most positive elements as the nation develops.
2. The media is broadly supportive of this, and it is reflected in tone and approach of coverage. Tensions sometimes arise when traditional concepts - such as the power and autonomy of village councils - are challenged in the name of transparency, freedom of the individual and freedom of expression. Media codes are essentially about establishing a proper balance between rights and responsibilities. Any credible Media Code for Samoa would need to emphasise that balance.
3. Complaints about the media generally, as mentioned to me anecdotally, tended to be related to issues of a perceived lack of professionalism, often due to poor training of journalists and other media practitioners. This is not uncommon in small national media industries, and is being addressed in Samoa by the establishment of a media training course at the Polytechnic College and, in best-practice offices by structured in-house training, including on externally validated courses. The existence of a workable and enforceable Code of Practice has been found in many countries to be a form of training, by being a constant reminder of the ground rules and raising standards.
4. The most common complaints mentioned concerned basic errors of detail, ignorance of the law, failure to confirm facts, corroborate allegations, or to observe the rules of journalistic confidence; and poor editing of articles or broadcasts. Fairness and balance were also issues raised in relation to editorial matters, and false or dubious claims in advertising material.
5. Broadcasting impartiality: The perceived lack of political impartiality of the State broadcaster SBC was frequently mentioned. There seemed to be wide support for the view that SBC’s political coverage lacked balance, giving disproportionate airtime to the Government view compared with that of the Opposition.
6. This appeared to be a source of concern to many, accepted with resignation by some, and accepted as the Government’s inherent right by others. Areas of concern also included an alleged lack of access to the station by local organisations because of the practice of charging for airtime unless the item appeared in a news programme, and clumsy editing of imported films to censor sex scenes.
7. Support for a Code: I found widespread support for a Media Code among Government, Opposition, civil society and – most significantly – among media practitioners themselves. No media figure I encountered was publicly opposed and most were strongly supportive. However, one or two key figures, despite repeated contact, were not available for discussion, possibly because they were not members of JAWS1, but maybe for other reasons. It would be safest to assume they remain to be convinced. It would also be necessary to establish support from all significant overseas publishers of Samoan newspapers and magazines, such as those produced in New Zealand.
8. The general view was that the Code should be comprehensive and embrace as much of the media spectrum as practical, including the print media, broadcasting, advertising and, if possible, cinema films and advertising, and DVDs and video recordings bought or hired for private viewing.

9. Support for a possible Media Council, while very positive, was less clear-cut. Although all media practitioners to whom I spoke were prepared to support it in principle, some significant concerns were registered. Most involved questions of its composition, remit and funding, which are not uncommon, especially in a small nation with limited resources. These difficulties are, with goodwill, usually overcome. The removal of such stumbling blocks would form a major part of the second stage of this project.
10. However, one very senior media figure questioned the political wisdom of the media pursuing self-regulation to such lengths while seriously anti-media legislation, such as Criminal Defamation and the Publishers and Printers Acts remained on the Statute book as a major threat to media freedom in general, and investigative journalism in particular. It is a very real concern and will need to be addressed.
11. Government response: This provides an unrivalled opportunity for the Government of Samoa to consolidate the improvement in relations with the media achieved in recent years. From the Prime Minister down, I was given every assurance that the Government supported media self-regulation and I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of that. It is, of course, quite within the Government’s power to respond positively to the industry’s initiative on the Code of Practice, by repealing punitive anti-media legislation.
12. I was given the clearest indication that the Government would be prepared to do that, if a credible and working Code were adopted. If it stood by that, the Government would, at a stroke, remove a major obstacle to the establishment of a media council.
13. The purpose of a Code of Practice is to create a voluntary framework in which the rights and responsibilities of the media can be properly balanced. It should define the responsibilities of the media and the rights of the public, and tell them what there are entitled to expect. No Code can work unless it commands the broad respect of both the media and the public it serves. Once agreement is reached within the industry, the Code creates a level playing field, by unifying the media around a single set of principles to which they can all subscribe. This prevents one media house from being disadvantaged against another.
14. The tone of the Code is important to its chance of success. Some codes are high-sounding and prescriptive, full of moral precepts. However experience suggests that these are often honoured more in the breach than in the practice and are particularly unsuitable in areas with a history of minimal professional training, where they are likely to be seen as lofty and irrelevant.
15. The most successful Codes are usually those which set out acceptable minimum standards rather than improbably high ideals, however noble or worthy. That has been a guiding factor in drafting this Media Code for Samoa.
16. A single self-regulatory system covering print media, broadcasting, advertising and films is an ambitious concept. In most larger modern democracies, the regulatory systems for each media branch are separate and each has its own distinct code of practice, reflecting the differing legal status – i.e. whether it is licensed or not - and consequent obligations to the audience.
17. But having four different regulatory systems is rarely an option for countries, such as Samoa, where the number of expected complaints is likely to be small, and the cost disproportionate. However, the needs of each branch of the media, while often similar, are also sometimes markedly different and the Code must reflect that.
18. I have therefore drafted a set of interlinked Codes, aimed at providing both general and specific rules and guidance, for each media branch:
· The General Media Code is a light-touch regime, whose rules and principles would apply across the whole media spectrum, with differing degrees of relevance. It would be the only Code applying to the press, whose readers are self-selecting.
· The Code of Broadcasting Practice, covering radio and television, is more stringent, since broadcasting is licensed and by accepted convention has special obligations both in editorial and advertising content to an audience that often does not have an individual choice of service provider and is therefore not entirely self-selected.
· The Code of Advertising Practice incorporates rules both for non-licensed outlets - such as newspapers, magazines, and cinema - and for licensed TV and radio.
· The Cinema and DVD Code, is currently drafted as an indicative, advisory Code only, since it requires a harmonisation of classifications that is outside the immediate scope of this project and would need support from non-media organisations, such as general retailers who might sell or hire Video and DVD recordings.
19. In drafting the Codes, I have drawn widely on the experience of other relevant self-regulatory regimes, including the UK Press Complaints Commission, the Australian, New Zealand and Indian Press Councils, the Press Complains Commission of Sri Lanka, the Media Codes of Fiji, of Kenya, and of Papua New Guinea; the Ofcom Broadcasting Codes and broadcast advertising Codes of the UK, the BBC’s producer guidelines, the UK Independent Television News compliance manual, the Australian Commercial Television Industry Code, the UK Radio Code, and UK, Australian and New Zealand advertising standards codes.
20. Although guidance and principles are traditionally stated separately from the rules in media codes, I have wherever practicable deliberately combined them to illustrate more clearly the meaning and intention.
21. THE GENERAL MEDIA CODE, as drafted, sets out the purpose and philosophy of the Code. It covers the broad range of media obligations of accuracy, fairness, opportunity to reply; protection of privacy; intrusion into grief; protection of children; dealing with sensitive social issues; use of subterfuge; suicide reporting; plagiarism; confidential sources; crime reporting; discrimination against individuals; conflict of interest, misuse of privileged information, inducements and gifts; and appropriate sensitivity for the Samoan culture.
22. From the outset, the Preamble introduces twin themes running through the Code:
· Protection of the rights both of the individual and of the public’s right to know, with the balance struck by a public interest defence being available throughout the linked Codes to a greater or lesser extent. This is the mechanism by which a breach of the Code might be justified, for example, by the need to expose crime or corruption.
· The obligation to follow the Code not only to the letter, but also in the spirit, which is a feature almost unique to a voluntary self-regulatory system and is designed to avoid legalistic disputes, especially if an adjudicatory Media Council were to be established.
23. THE BROADCASTING CODE places particular emphasis on impartiality and balance, and the need to prevent unnecessary or unexpected harm or offence, especially to vulnerable people or children.
24. The need for reasonable political balance is stressed, as is a guide to radio and TV coverage of elections. Rules are also included to prevent sponsors from exercising undue influence, and to prevent undisclosed promotions being used in programmes.
25. Preventing harm or offence: There are two principal ways of achieving this in broadcasting:
· The use of scheduling to ensure that potentially offensive or harmful material is not broadcast at a time when the most vulnerable or susceptible groups would be viewing or listening; and
· Issuing and broadcasting advance guidance, warning parents or susceptible viewers that the content of a specific programme may cause alarm or distress.
26. Scheduling is particularly efficient where it is possible to isolate the audience within certain key viewing times, for example by defining a Watershed - such as 9pm - before which only viewing suitable for children, or under parental supervision, can normally be broadcast.
27. Watersheds: While watersheds remain relevant – particularly with free-to-air TV - they are becoming less practical in the emerging international linear media landscape where access to on-demand broadcasting via satellite is less clearly time zoned. Also, there is no clear watershed for radio. Crucially, watersheds do not work very satisfactorily in communities, such as Samoa, where social custom is for the children often to stay up with the parents until late into the evening, normally the most appropriate time for adult TV.
28. Guidance: This leaves advance on-screen guidance as the most attractive option for preventing vulnerable viewers from being confronted by alarming, offensive or unsuitable material unexpectedly. A proper system of guidance enables adult viewers to be their own gatekeepers of what they watch, preventing unnecessary distress or offence, while maintaining access for adults and less susceptible people to a wide range of drama, controversial debate and artistic content.
29. This may be the better option for Samoa, especially if a common system of content- labelling standards can be devised – in conjunction with the Censor’s office - across TV, cinema films, and video and DVD. For this reason, I have not suggested a classification system related to time-zoning of programmes. Instead, I recommend that attempts be made to introduce a uniform content-labelling system, common to all relevant media.
30. Children’s broadcasting would still need to be strictly overseen. The Code makes full and specific allowance for this in both editorial programming and advertising. However, parents are, ultimately, the appropriate gatekeepers for their children. The inherent strength of good and standardised guidance is that it allows them to exercise parental responsibility with real authority; effectively, it allows them to introduce their own watershed, directly suited to their family’s needs.
31. THE ADVERTISING CODE, as drafted, covers the full spectrum of consumer concerns. It includes the need for advertising to be clearly distinguishable as such; the obligation for it not to be misleading, deceptive or exploitative, or to cause unnecessary fear or harm, or to endanger safety.
32. It provides clear guidance on portrayal of people or individuals in advertisements, protecting them from abuse; and the consumer from being misled, a theme that dominates this section of the Code.
33. Socially-sensitive advertising: An indicative draft has been included on potentially socially sensitive advertising, such as for alcohol, liquor, gambling and medicines. This would need to be checked against existing laws and current in-house rules, where they exist, and would need to be advisory-only until general agreement was reached.
34. There are special sections on the specific requirements for broadcast advertisements both for adults and children. These go further than for general retail advertising in other media, reflecting the need to meet the greater obligations on licensed broadcasters.
35. Responsibility for compliance in any adjudicatory system, such as a Media Council, would be shared by the originators of the advertisement and the media service provider publishing or broadcasting it. In reality, the principal responsibility would be on broadcasters and publishers since they – rather than general retailers or advertisers – would be party to the Media Council.
36. THE CINEMA AND VIDEO/DVD CODE would have similar problems because, while the cinema proprietors might be expected to sign up to a Media Code, electrical and other general retailers selling or hiring DVDs and video recordings would not, and there might be difficulties in securing voluntary compliance. It is also unlikely that there would be complaints other than that the labelling was inadequate or misleading.
37. The Code therefore remains an indicative advisory model, pending further discussion (see para 27 above) on setting up a common system of content labelling, which is strongly recommended.
1 Membership of Jaws should not be an issue: the organisation accepts it should not have ownership of a Code which would need the active support of all media outlets, whether members of JAWS or not.

Samoa Code of Media Practice

1. That the draft Codes are made available for wide consultation in Samoa, embracing representatives of all major media outlets, including those who were not available during my visit, as well as those with whom I had discussions.1
2. That the comments and suggestions be returned to The Thomson Foundation, so that I can make amendments, as appropriate.
3. That the final draft be considered and approved by all the interested parties in the Samoan media and be circulated widely for the information of government and civil society.
4. That the Government of Samoa should be invited to:
· Endorse the Code;
· Require all broadcasting service providers to adhere to it as part of their licence obligations; and to -
· Take steps to repeal both the Criminal Defamation Act and the Publishers and Printers Act as a matter of urgency.
5. That the media simultaneously takes a decision in favour of exploring the desirability, composition, funding and remit of a Media Council of Samoa, which could adjudicate on alleged breaches of the Code.
6. That at the same time a standing committee of the Samoa media, representing all major disciplines and including representative members who are not necessarily associated with JAWS, be formed to review the Code after the first year of operation, and then at least every two years, and revise it as appropriate.
7. That attempts be made to set up a system of common content-labelling for broadcasting, films and DVD and video recordings in conjunction with the media outlets and the censor’s office.
8. That there is consultation between media outlets on the advisory code for socially sensitive advertising, so that the indicative rules, as amended, may be consolidated into the general provisions of the Advertising Code.

1 A list of those with whom I had discussions is included in the Appendix on Page 20.

Draft General Media Code of Practice for Samoa

PREAMBLE (Indicative draft)1
THIS Code is a voluntary charter to balance the rights and responsibilities of the Samoan media in a free and democratic society. It upholds both the rights of the individual and the public’s right to know. It embraces the traditional values of the Samoan way of life and the duty to hold public institutions to account, consistent with freedom of expression and the public interest in exposing corruption and malpractice.
The Code sets the benchmark for the high professional standards which all members of the Samoan media have a duty to maintain. It is the cornerstone of the system of self-regulation to which the media has made a binding commitment.
It is essential to the success of an agreed, voluntary code that it be honoured not only to the letter but also in the full spirit. It should not be interpreted so narrowly as to compromise its commitment to respect the rights of the individual, nor so broadly that it constitutes an unnecessary interference with freedom of expression or prevents publication in the public interest.
Editors, producers, publishers and broadcasting station managers have ultimate responsibility for implementing the Code and should take care to ensure it is observed rigorously by all media staff and external contributors, including non-journalists and advertisers, in broadcasts, publications, films, advertisements and online or DVD versions.
1.1i The media must take all reasonable care not to publish or broadcast inaccurate, misleading or distorted material, including modified photographs or other visual images, and deceptive advertisements.
1.1ii A significant or material inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion, once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and - where appropriate - an apology published or broadcast.
1.1iii The media must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact in editorial output.
1.1iv Advertisements should be clearly distinguishable as such.
1.1v While newspapers and magazines are free to be partisan, broadcasters have a special duty of impartiality and balance.
1.1vi A publication or broadcaster must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for defamation to which it has been a party, unless an agreed settlement states otherwise, or an agreed statement is published.
1.2 Opportunity to Reply
1.2i A fair opportunity to reply to material inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for.

1.3i Private life: The media should take particular care to respect the private and family lives of individuals, their home, health, correspondence, and digital communications. Intrusions without consent would need to be demonstrably in the public interest.
1.3ii Children under 16 should be free from unnecessary intrusion. Material concerning a child’s private life should be published or broadcast only if there is some exceptional public interest other than the fame, notoriety or position of his or her family or guardian.
1.3iii Pictures: Individuals should not be photographed or filmed in public or private places where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, without their consent, unless in the public interest.
1.3iv Grief or shock: In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries and approaches must be made with sympathy and discretion and published or broadcast with due sensitivity. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings, such as inquests.
1.3v Harassment: Journalists or broadcasters must not engage in harassment or intimidation. Unless in the public interest, they should not persist in questioning, telephoning, pursuing or photographing individuals if asked to desist; or remain on their property when asked to leave.
1.4i Children’s welfare: A child under 16 must not be interviewed, filmed, or photographed on issues involving their own or another child’s welfare unless a custodial parent, guardian or similarly responsible adult consents.
1.4ii At school: Pupils must not be approached, filmed or photographed at school without the permission of the school authorities.
1.4iii In crime stories: The media should have particular regard for the potentially vulnerable position of children who are victims of, or who witness, crime. This should not restrict the right to report legal proceedings.
1.4iv in sex cases: The media must not, even if legally free to do so, identify children under 16 who are victims or witnesses in cases involving sex offences.
1.4v In incest cases: -
The child must not be identified.
The adult may be identified.
The word "incest" must not be used where a child victim might be identified.
Care must be taken that nothing in the report implies the relationship between the accused and the child.
1.4vi Payments: Minors should not be paid for material involving children’s welfare, nor parents or guardians for material about their children or wards, unless it is clearly in the child’s interest.
1.4vii TV and radio scheduling and films: Broadcasters and cinemas should take care to ensure that programmes or films scheduled for family audiences generally do not include language, images or content unsuitable for children. Where this is impractical, appropriate advance guidance must be given to allow parents to exercise appropriate control.
1.4viii Advertising material aimed at children should take particular care not to mislead them, disturb them by use of menacing images, encourage them into anti-social, aggressive or violent behaviour; or to compromise their own, or others’ safety; or to put undue pressure on parents to buy products.

1.5i Social issues: In dealing with issues of a culturally sensitive, shocking or emotionally painful, nature – such as atrocity, community unrest, violence, drug abuse, brutality, sadism, sexual salacity, or obscenity – the media should take care to present facts, opinions, and visual images with due sensitivity and discretion, subject to its duty to publish in the public interest.
1.5ii Reporting suicide: Care should be taken not to glorify or glamorise acts of suicide, and to avoid excessive detail of the method used, which might encourage imitative attempts.
1.5iii Clandestine devices and subterfuge: The media must not seek to obtain or publish material acquired by using misrepresentation or subterfuge, hidden cameras or clandestine listening devices; intercepting private or mobile telephone calls, messages or emails; or by the unauthorised removal of documents or photographs, unless in the public interest.
1.5iv Hospitals: Journalists or broadcasters must identify themselves and obtain permission from a responsible official before pursuing inquiries in non-public areas of hospitals or similar institutions.
1.5v Confidential sources: Journalists have a moral obligation to protect confidential sources of information, until that source authorises otherwise. However, all reasonable attempts should be made to corroborate a story from other, on-the-record sources. Where the sole source is a confidential informant, an individual or organisation featuring significantly in the report should generally be offered an opportunity to respond.
1.5vi Plagiarism: It is unacceptable for editors or broadcasters to use material from rival media outlets without consent or proper attribution.
1.5vii Competitions should be conducted fairly and without favouring individual contestants.

1.6i Identification: In reporting crime or criminal cases, the media should not, unless it is both legally permitted and in the public interest –
· Name or in any way identify, without consent, victims of sex crimes;
· Identify any child aged under 16 accused of a criminal offence;
· Identify without consent relatives or friends of a person accused or convicted of a crime, unless they are relevant to the story.
1.6ii Glorifying crime: News reports and entertainment programmes should avoid glorifying or glamorising crime, violence or seriously anti-social behaviour.
1.6iii Payments must not be made to criminals or their associates for material which glorifies crime in general or exploits a particular crime, unless the information is in the public interest - such as exposing crime or corruption - and cannot be obtained by other means.
1.6iv Witnesses in active or likely criminal proceedings must not be paid or offered payment for information until the trial is over, unless – exceptionally - there is an over-riding public interest in obtaining material and it cannot be obtained by other means. Payment must never be conditional on the trial verdict and should be disclosed in advance to both the prosecution and defence.

1.7i The media must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual’s race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
1.7ii Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability should be avoided unless relevant to the story.

1.8i Privileged information: Even if the law does not prohibit it, journalists should not use for their own profit material they receive ahead of its general publication, nor should they pass on such information for the profit of others.
1.8ii Inducements and gifts: Journalists and broadcasters should not accept any gift that abused the Samoan tradition of hospitality, by being intended – or likely to be perceived – as an inducement to influence their professional judgment.
1.8iii Personal interest: Where potential conflict arises over a journalist or broadcaster’s personal involvement in a story, because of family, village, financial or other close ties, he or she should disclose the interest to the editor, producer or publisher, so that the issue may be assigned, at the editor’s discretion, to a disinterested staff member.

1.9i The media should have due respect and sensitivity for Samoan culture, traditions, and values, consistent with upholding freedom of speech and conscience and subject to the media’s duty to hold all public institutions up to legitimate scrutiny in the public interest.
1.9ii Religious beliefs and institutions, while also subject to proper scrutiny, should be portrayed accurately, with due regard for the respect in which they are held by adherents. The gratuitous use of profane language in broadcasts or publications should be avoided.

1. 10i Exceptions to the rules of this Code may be allowed if they can be demonstrated to be in the public interest. This would include, for example:
· Detecting or exposing crime, corruption or serious impropriety or malpractice.
· Protecting public health and safety.
· Preventing the public from being misled by an action or statement of an individual or organisation.
· Upholding freedom of expression.

1.10ii The extent to which material is already in the public domain, or will become so, is a factor in deciding the public interest.
1.10iii Editors or broadcasters wishing to invoke the public interest must be prepared to demonstrate fully how the public interest was served.
1.10iv In cases involving children under 16; or victims of grief, shock, sexual assault or discrimination; or payments to witnesses in active criminal proceedings, editors and broadcasters must demonstrate an exceptional public interest to over-ride the normally paramount interest of the child or victim.

1 To be amended to include references to an adjudication process, following any agreement on the establishment of a Media Council or similar.

Draft Code of Practice for TV and radio

In addition to the provisions of the General Media Code of Practice, specific essential principles underpin the self-regulation of TV and radio in Samoa:
· The need for news or current affairs programmes to be presented with due accuracy and impartiality, and without political bias or in a way intended or likely to secure party-political advantage, or to give undue prominence to the views or opinions of the licence holder or service provider on matters of public policy.
· The need to avoid in programmes material that causes harm or unnecessary offence, or which is likely to encourage or incite crime or seriously anti-social behaviour, or to offend public feeling, taking into account generally accepted standards in Samoa, unless there is editorial justification or it is in the wider public interest.
· The need to avoid techniques likely to distress, harm, deceive or exploit people, by use of flashing lights, hypnosis, distorting images or by conveying subliminal messages, or in any way influencing the minds of viewers and listeners without them being fully aware of what has occurred.
Broadcasters should respect truth and human dignity and have due regard for susceptible groups. Where material is unsuitable for children or is likely to cause significant offence among the expected audience at the time of broadcast, clear guidance should be given to allow people – especially parents concerned for their children - to exercise appropriate and informed judgment.

2.1 ACCURACY, FAIRNESS and IMPARTIALITY (See also General Code)
2.1i Factual programmes concerning controversial political, industrial or public policy issues must ensure a wide range of significant, relevant views is fairly reported, and presented even-handedly, in a single broadcast or balanced over a series in a reasonable timescale.
2.1ii Presenters and journalists must not to compromise their impartiality by advocating products or giving undue prominence in programmes to their own views or political opinions.
2.1iii Reconstructions, or the use of actors or models to illustrate news reports, or of flashbacks and library pictures, or similar techniques, must be clearly identifiable as such.
2.1iv Interviews: Contributors to programmes and interviewees must be treated fairly and straightforwardly, and their contribution not distorted or misrepresented by editing or presentation. Wherever practical, they should be told the purpose of the interview, their role in the programme and the nature of other relevant contributions.
2.1v Subterfuge, secret filming or other deceptive practices to obtain interviews or footage should not be used or broadcast unless in the public interest. See general code.
2.1vi Non-factual programmes, such as drama or drama documentaries, must not portray facts or events in a way unfair to an identifiable individual or organisation.
2.1vii Individuals or organisations, against whom damaging allegations are made in pro-grammes, should normally be given a fair opportunity to respond.
2.1viii Competitions should be conducted fairly and without favouring individual contestants.

2.2 PRIVACY (See also General Code)
2.2i Broadcasters must have due regard for the privacy and human dignity of victims when covering public or private tragedy, disaster, war or civil disturbance, and there should be clear editorial justification for any material broadcast.
2.2ii Distress to survivors - or the immediate families of victims - of a tragedy, disaster or serious trauma should be kept to a minimum when preparing broadcasts and, where possible, they should be told in advance of any programme, reconstruction, analysis or drama in which they, or a close relative who has died, feature significantly.
2.3i Broadcasters must avoid causing unnecessary offence, harm or distress by the use of images, behaviour or language, subject to the duty to report in the public interest and to uphold freedom of thought and expression, including access to adult films, drama, humour or satire. Material which may cause offence, as judged by generally accepted standards, must be justified by context, appropriately labelled and scheduled for non-family viewing times.
2.3ii Distressing scenes, depicting death or trauma, close-ups of dead, dying or mutilated bodies, or of execution or torture, or serious violence against people and children, or death or cruelty to animals, should be broadcast only if there is a clear editorial justification, and then normally only after an appropriate warning to viewers or listeners.
2.3iii Violence: Broadcasts featuring strong visual or audio depictions of violence, including sexual violence, should be avoided unless justified editorially or, in a dramatic context, as necessary to the programme.
2.3iv Sex and nudity: The explicit portrayal of sex or sexual relationship, or nudity in a sexual context, must not be broadcast at a time when children or families are likely to be viewing or listening, without clear editorial justification and appropriate warning.
2.3v Offensive language must be avoided unless there is editorial justification, and very strong language should be broadcast only after appropriate warning to viewers or listeners.
2.3vi Inciting crime: Broadcast material must not incite or condone crime or serious anti-social behaviour. Demonstrations of criminal methods must not be broadcast without editorial justification, and in such cases detail should be limited to minimise the risk of imitation.
2.3vii Kidnap and hijacking: Special care must be taken not to broadcast information which is likely to be received by kidnappers or hijackers and put lives at risk or prejudice legitimate attempts to resolve the crisis.
2.3viii Imitative anti-social behaviour: Broadcasters should avoid glamorising harmful or anti-social behaviour - including suicide, illegal drugs, solvent abuse, vandalism, smoking and alcohol abuse - especially where they are likely to influence children or vulnerable people.
2.3ix Disturbing images: Care should be taken to filter out of broadcasts, wherever possible, flashing lights or other images potentially harmful to people affected by photo-sensitive epilepsy. Where this is impractical, appropriate warnings should be given to viewers.
2.3x Occult, exorcism and the paranormal: Care should be taken when featuring non-fictional demonstrations of the occult, exorcism, the paranormal and related practices to be factual and objective and to avoid giving life-changing advice.
2.3xi Hypnotism and subliminal techniques: Broadcasts must not affect the sub-conscious state of susceptible viewers or listeners by inducing hypnosis, or by the use of subliminal techniques to convey information at or below the threshold of normal awareness.
2.4 RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMES (See also General Code)
2.4i Broadcasters, while respecting an individual’s right to hold and practice religious and denominational views, must ensure that religious programmes do not misrepresent or discriminate against an individual’s beliefs or disparage another faith or denomination.

2.5 Sponsorship and undisclosed promotions
2.5i The content or scheduling of a programme must not be influenced by a sponsor in any way which affects, or appears to compromise, the broadcaster’s editorial independence.
2.5ii Sponsorship of news or current affairs programmes covering contentious public issues must be avoided, unless in discrete specialist sections, such as sport, weather, or business.
2.5iii Any reference to the sponsor within the programme should be incidental, non-promotional and have clear editorial justification.
2.5iv Sponsors should be chosen with care to ensure their products or services do not align with programme content in such a way as to make regular reference inevitable, or are otherwise inappropriate – i.e. alcohol or tobacco sponsorship of children’s programmes.
2.5v Product placement, except in clearly identifiable advertising breaks, is not permitted. Undue prominence must not be given to named brands or services, unless justified editorially.
2.5vi: Broadcasters must not charge for access to editorial programmes or allow undisclosed promotions. Where charges are made for editorial-style airtime, the broadcast should be clearly labelled as paid-for promotional or community-service material.
2.5vii Supplied video or recorded material from or on behalf of official bodies, commercial companies, or campaigning or promotional organisations should be broadcast only with editorial justification, and then clearly labelled as such.
2.6i Broadcasters must take care to ensure that viewers or listeners are not unexpectedly confronted by material that is likely to cause harm or offence to susceptible people.
2.6ii Programmes containing material which may offend or harm, according to generally accepted standards, should be clearly labelled and appropriate warnings given. Such content would normally include:
· Strong or profane language;
· Serious or sexual violence, sexual scenes or sexual nudity;
· Distressing visual or audio material, involving death, serious injury or tragedy;
· Humorous or satirical references to religion, or deeply-held cultural values;
· Material unsuitable for children, broadcast when they are likely to be affected.
2.6iii Guidance should be clear, consistent and standardised. Where practical, classification should be compatible with other relevant guidance, such as that of the Samoan Censor on films, or the labelling regimes of major foreign suppliers of broadcasting material to Samoa.
2.6iv Films banned by the censor should not be broadcast, except for brief illustrative clips, justified in the public interest - such as in a news report or debate on censorship.
2.6v Scheduling of programmes should avoid broadcasting material which may offend or harm during times of family viewing or listening. If the context – such as a harrowing news report – makes this impractical, the need to broadcast clear warnings is intensified.
2.6vi Adult-only TV programmes should not, as a general guide, be broadcast before 9.00pm. The transition from family viewing should be graduated, with no inappropriate trailers run before this threshold, nor an abrupt change to the most adult content immediately after.
2.6vii As Samoan social customs often lead to children being potential viewers much later than 9.00pm, warnings of unsuitable content should continue well after the threshold to allow parents to exercise appropriate control over their children’s viewing.

2.7I Broadcasts of election coverage must take particular care to show impartiality and balance throughout the election period, to ensure no party is given unfair advantage.
2.7ii Due weight must be given to the principal parties, and appropriate coverage to minority parties and to independent candidates with significant policies.
2.7iii When reporting on individual constituencies, the same opportunity to appear in a broadcast must be offered to candidates from each principal party, and others with significant current or past electoral support. However, a candidate cannot exercise a veto by withholding consent. A list of all candidates standing in the constituency should be broadcast.
2.7iv A politician invited to speak purely on general policy should not be offered the chance to make constituency points if rival candidates are not given a similar opportunity to do so.
2.8 broadcasting for children (See also General Code)
2.8i Special care must be taken by broadcasters to protect children and young people under 18 from material which might harm their moral, psychological or physical welfare.
2.8ii Programmes aimed at children under 16, or likely to be seen by them, must not glamorise or condone criminal, harmful or anti-social behaviour easily imitable by children, such as offensive language; drinking, smoking, or drug or solvent abuse; violence, vandalism and self-harm. Such material must not be broadcast when children are likely to be listening, without editorial justification and an appropriate warning.
2.8iii Particular care must be taken to avoid including distressing content in programmes intended for, or likely to be seen or heard by, children. Where this is unavoidable, such as in news reports involving tragedy or violence, appropriate warning should be given.
2.8iv Sexual material or nudity, unless having a clear educational purpose or other editorial justification, should not feature in children’s programmes. No such material should be broadcast when children are likely to be listening or viewing, without editorial justification and an appropriate warning.
2.8v Programmes portraying the paranormal, the occult and exorcism should not be broadcast when children are likely to be watching or listening, unless editorially justified.
2.8vi Children taking part in programmes must not be exploited, suffer unnecessary stress, be questioned beyond their normal knowledge or competence, or be put in moral, physical or psychological danger or otherwise harmed by their participation.

Draft Code of Advertising Practice for Samoa

In addition to the provisions of the General Media Code of Practice, specific essential principles underpin the self-regulation of cross-media advertising and marketing in Samoa:
· All advertising and marketing must comply with the laws of Samoa, be decent, honest and truthful, and should neither deceive nor mislead the consumer.
· Advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of responsibility to consumers and society and should not undermine public confidence in advertising, or bring it into disrepute.
· All advertising and marketing should respect the generally accepted principles of fair competition in business.
Responsibility for compliance with the voluntary obligations of the Code is shared by the advertiser or marketer and their agents, who must conform when preparing advertising, and by publishers, broadcasters and other media service providers who should not accept material that does not comply with the spirit or letter of the Code.
3.1 decent, honest and truthful
3.1i Recognition: Advertisements should be readily distinguishable as such in whatever form or medium they appear. Where they are likely to be confused with news or editorial matter, they should be clearly labelled as advertising.
3.1ii Offence: Advertising or marketing must not include material likely to cause widespread or serious offence, as judged against generally prevailing standards in Samoa, taking into account the context, medium, likely audience and product advertised. (See General Code).
3.1iii Exploitation: Advertisers must not exploit the consumers’ credulity, inexperience, lack of knowledge, or superstition.
3.1iv It is unacceptable to use sexual appeal in a gratuitous, degrading or exploitative way, solely to promote the sale of unrelated products.
3.1vi Deception: Advertisements should not contain material which - by statement or visual presentation, or by implication, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or other means - creates a false impression likely to mislead or deceive the consumer.
3.1vii Assertive opinion, including robust comment or obvious hyperbole about the merits of the product advertised, is acceptable where it is clearly presented as subjective and not as fact.

3.2i Advertising must not harm or exploit, personally or financially, vulnerable consumers. No advertising is acceptable from those who practise or advocate illegal or harmful behaviour.
3.2ii Distress: Advertisements should neither cause fear or distress without adequate justification, nor use alarming or horrific claims or images solely for dramatic effect.
3.2iii Legitimate fear: Where shocking images or material are used to promote genuinely remedial or therapeutic action, or to prevent harmful or imprudent behaviour, the alarm caused should be in due proportion to the risk.
3.2iv Dangerous or illegal practices which condone or encourage a disregard for safety should not feature in advertisements, unless justified on educational or social grounds.
3.2v Violence: No advertisement should contain material that condones, or is likely to encourage, violent or unacceptable anti-social behaviour.

3.3 PORTRAYAL, PRIVACY and ENDORSEMENTS (See also General Code)
3.3i Portrayal: Individuals should not be portrayed in advertisements in a way likely to expose them to widespread hostility, contempt, abuse or ridicule, or - taking into account prevailing community standards in Samoa - cause serious offence on the grounds of age, gender, race, ethnic or national origin; cultural, religious, political or ethical belief; sexual orientation, or mental or physical disability.
3.3ii People should not be stereotyped in a negative way likely to cause offence on the grounds of age, gender, race, colour, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation or mental or physical disability.
3.3iii Privacy: Unfair, adverse, or inaccurate, portrayal of identifiable people in advertisements is unacceptable, without consent.
3.3iv No advertisement should feature, without consent, any identifiable person or their property in a way likely to imply a genuine product endorsement.
3.3v Dead people: References to the recently dead should be made only with care and sensitivity to avoid unnecessary offence.
3.3vi Personal testimonials should be genuine and verifiable and related to the endorser’s direct experience of the product advertised.
3.3vii Scientific, governmental or professional research results, unless available from a public source, should not be used to imply endorsement without official consent.
3.3viii Fictitious testimonials must be readily identifiable as such.
3.3ix Children’s testimonials must not be used to endorse products.

3.4i Comparisons with competitors, such as on price or performance, must be based on valid and verifiable analysis of equivalent products on equal terms and not mislead the consumer.
3.4ii Advertisements should not denigrate or disparage rival products or unfairly attack or discredit competitors’ businesses.
3.4iii Imitative advertising, or marketing of imitative products which is likely to mislead or confuse consumers, or take unfair advantage of a rival’s brand or reputation, is unacceptable.
3.5i The words ‘guarantee’ or guaranteed’ or ‘warranty’ or ‘warranted’ should not be used in advertisements unless the terms of the guarantee are freely available to, and verifiable by, the consumer. Media organisations should establish this before accepting such advertising.
3.5ii Advertisements should not describe products or samples as ‘free’ unless they are supplied to the consumer at no extra cost, other than postage or carriage.
3.6i Particular care should be taken to fulfil the Code’s obligation to comply with the law and social responsibility in areas of special susceptibility, such as in advertising alcohol, tobacco, medicines or health products or services; gambling or lotteries; financial services; politics or public affairs; religion; and advertising aimed at children and young people.
3.6ii Alcohol advertising, where legally permitted, should not glamorise or encourage over-consumption; depict fast, aggressive or immoderate drinking; imply that liquor is therapeutic, essential to social acceptance, sexual success, or a sign of strong character; or place undue emphasis on alcoholic strength, and should not be targeted at children.
3.6iii Betting, gaming and lottery advertisements, where legally allowed, should not portray gambling as a solution to financial problems; or overstate prizes or the chance of winning, or be directed at children or young people under 18.
3.6iv Financial services advertising should not mislead by exaggerating likely gains and should give clear and realistic guidance on the risk to potential investments.
3.6v Health and medicinal advertising should not raise unrealistic expectations by making false or exaggerated claims for the efficacy of foods, remedies or treatments, vitamin or other dietary supplements, slimming aids or methods; or in any way encouraging people to experiment with medication, treatments, or regimes which may be inappropriate or harmful.
3.6vi Political and public affairs advertising, where permitted by law, should identify the advertiser, and should not incite violence or civil unrest, or – in the case of broadcasters – compromise the obligation to due impartiality.
3.6vii Religious, faith, or belief-related advertising should clearly identify the advertiser, and not express matters of faith or doctrine as unqualified fact, nor exploit vulnerable groups such as the bereaved, the sick, the elderly or impressionable young people,
3.6iii Tobacco advertising, where legally permitted, should not glamorise smoking as essential to social success or acceptance and should include appropriate warning of the health risks.
3.7i TV or radio advertisements should follow the relevant provisions of the Broadcasting Code of Practice, especially with regard to scheduling, to avoid causing unnecessary offence and to protect children and vulnerable groups,
3.7ii Product placement, or host selling by presenters in programmes is not acceptable.
3.8i TV and radio advertisements intended for children, or likely to be seen or heard by them, should follow the general provisions of the Broadcasting and Advertising Codes and those specific to protecting children from material which might cause psychological, physical or moral harm. They should take special care not to:
· Show violence or aggression, encourage anti-social behaviour, or depict children acting in an anti-social manner.
· Use menacing or disturbing themes likely to cause children unnecessary distress.
· Endanger health or safety by portraying children engaged in unsafe acts, consorting with strangers, or in unsuitable or unsafe situations; or by showing products used in an unsafe way; or by encouraging inappropriate health, hygiene or dietary habits.
· Exploit unfairly children’s natural credulity.
· Imply that without the advertised product children will be socially inferior or ridiculed, or that they are disloyal if they do not purchase products.
· Mislead children about the size, qualities, performance or price of products or understate the skill or additional resources needed to use a product successfully.
· Promote competitions that exaggerate the prizes or the chances of winning.
· Urge children to buy products direct without parental approval, or to exhort adults to buy products on their behalf.
· Encourage them to make purchases by mail, telephone or via the Internet without appropriate parental consent.
· Use children to endorse branded products or selling messages.
3.8ii Scheduling: Advertisements which are unsuitable for children, such as those promoting alcohol, or adult pursuits, should be scheduled for times when they are least likely to be viewing or listening.

Cinemas, films and DVD and video recordings

Draft indicative Code:
It is important than in public showing of films, or sale of DVDs or video recordings for private viewing, cinema owners or video or DVD retailers should follow the same general standards as the printing and broadcasting media to protect children or vulnerable groups in Samoa.
As cinemas and suppliers of recordings provide an on-demand service, any self-regulatory Code would need to protect the consumer from being misled by ensuring that the guidance and labelling at cinemas, or on video or DVD recording bought or hired for private viewing, was a fair, accurate and true representation of the entertainment content.
Complaints would then be solely on whether it was reasonable for the cinema-goer, or DVD or video consumer, to be offended, harmed or otherwise adversely affected by an entertainment they had voluntarily attended or paid for.

4.1i Cinema-goers or people buying or hiring video or DVD recordings for private use should not be unexpectedly confronted by material that is likely to cause harm or offence to susceptible people.
4.1ii Guidance to the content of cinema films for public showing, or recordings bought or hired for private viewing should be clear, consistent and standardised. Where practical, classification should be compatible with other relevant guidance, such as that of the Samoan Censor on films, or the labelling regimes of major foreign suppliers of films and video material to Samoa.
4.1iii Labelling of material which may offend or harm, according to generally accepted standards, should be particularly clear and appropriate warnings given. Such content would normally include:
· Strong or profane language;
· Serious or sexual violence, sexual scenes or sexual nudity;
· Distressing images involving death, serious injury or tragedy;
· Humorous or satirical references to religion, or deeply-held cultural values;
· Material unsuitable for children.
4.1iv Films banned by the censor should not be screened or hired.
4.1v Cinema advertising is covered by the provisions of the Code of Advertising Practice.