The NT Independent Charter of Editorial Standards

by | Apr 1, 2020 | Legal Requirements | 0 comments

The NT Independent adheres to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s Journalists’ Code of Ethics and the Australian Press Council guidelines and standards.

The NT Independent is underpinned by independence from government and corporate influence and the fundamental principle of the public’s right to free access to the public’s information, held in trust by the caretakers in government.

We believe a lack of transparency in the public service breeds corruption.

We are bound by the truth, honesty, respect, fairness, and giving a public voice to the less powerful and under-represented.

We are fearless investigators of power and the powerful but we are responsible and accountable to the public which we serve.

Our commitment will always be to our readers and the community we share.

And we continue to strive to be reflective of the independent spirit in the Northern Territory.

MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics

Journalists will educate themselves about ethics and apply the following standards:

  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.

Guidance Clause: 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.

Australian Press Council – Statement of General Principles

Publications are free to publish as they wish by reporting facts and expressing opinions, provided they take reasonable steps to comply with the following Principles and the Council’s other Standards of Practice:

Accuracy and clarity

  1. Ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading, and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion.
  2. Provide a correction or other adequate remedial action if published material is significantly inaccurate or misleading.

Fairness and balance

  1. Ensure that factual material is presented with reasonable fairness and balance, and that writers’ expressions of opinion are not based on significantly inaccurate factual material or omission of key facts.
  2. Ensure that where material refers adversely to a person, a fair opportunity is given for subsequent publication of a reply if that is reasonably necessary to address a possible breach of General Principle 3.

Privacy and avoidance of harm

  1. Avoid intruding on a person’s reasonable expectations of privacy, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
  2. Avoid causing or contributing materially to substantial offence, distress or prejudice, or a substantial risk to health or safety, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.

Integrity and transparency

  1. Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest.
  2. Ensure that conflicts of interests are avoided or adequately disclosed, and that they do not influence published material.

Corrections policy

The NT Independent strives to address errors in published material in a prompt and responsive manner. A correction, clarification or editor’s note is used to explain to the reader why something was wrong, what is correct and how the mistake occurred. The aim is to explain how an error occurred and why it needed to be corrected. The correction is published in the story and on social media.

Updating a report

Reports will need to be updated at times, as new information becomes available. When that occurs, the article is clearly labelled with the word “UPDATED” at the front of the article on the website and where applicable on social media. If a correction, clarification or an editor’s note is required, the article will be marked as updated.


If an article needs to be substantially corrected, it will be done promptly with an explanation provided to the reader in the story and on social media.


Clarifications will be made in an updated story where necessary, when a rewrite of a section is needed for clarity or if new comments or response are received.

Editor’s notes

Corrections, clarifications and updates that raise significant journalistic ethical matters might require an editor’s note to explain the issue. The editor will approve and write the editor’s note when warranted. The editor’s note is also sometimes used at the end of the article to explain the clarification or correction, but is typically not needed in an updated story.


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