Principles and ethics

The Newspaper Works advocates for a press that operates without government interference and the freedom of expression of the individual. We work with a number of local and global organisations to protect journalist rights and access.

Principles and ethics

Campaign for Press Freedom Never Stops

These include the global association, WAN-IFRA, the London-based News Media Coalition and the local organisation, Right To Know, which embraces TV and radio news organisation.

The Newspaper Works actively participates in the Code of Practice for Sports News Reporting, with its chief executive holding the position of code secretary under the chairmanship of Kevan Gosper AC.

The role of the code is to enhance the working relationships of newspaper publishing companies and sports administrators in Australia.

Advocacy for freedom of the press extends to state governments on issues such as so-called Shield and Whistleblower laws. Six of nine government jurisdictions in Australia have Shield laws, designed to protect journalists’ privilege, or deny forcible disclosure of confidential sources. The Newspaper Works supports Whistleblower laws that are designed to allow individuals to speak out on issues of public concern without reprisal from their employer or society at large.

Representation on these issue has been made in private and in many public forums. These include the 2011 Media Inquiry, conducted on behalf of the then Labor government by Justice Finkelstein.

The Sports Rights Campaign

Australian publishers have faced in the past decade increasing restrictions on publishing content on major sports events, largely in exchange of media accreditations. Attempts to curtail reporting of sports events have come at a time of increasing pressure to attract sponsorship dollars and a significant expansion of digital media on mobile platforms.

To help ensure access rights to sports events by the press, a Code of Practice for Sports News Reporting was developed in 2010 by news organisations and sports administrators with the assistance of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Its objective

…to ensure that media organisations are able to access sporting events for the purposes of gathering news content for news reporting.

The chair of the Code Committee, Mr Gosper, represents the International Olympic Committee. The secretary is Mr Mark Hollands, chief executive of The Newspaper Works.

Founder signatories for sport are:

  • Australian Football League
  • Australian Rugby Union
  • Cricket Australia
  • National Rugby League
  • Tennis Australia

Founder news organisation signatories are:

  • Agence France-Presse (AFP),
  • Australian Associated Press (AAP),
  • Getty Images,
  • Fairfax Media
  • News Corp Australia

These organisations sit on the code committee. A number of other local organisations are also signatories, including Football Australia. International news titles have also taken advantage of the domestic code to fortify their coverage of Australia’s domestic sports events, including Test Cricket and the Australian Open.

Senate Inquiry that preceded the Code

The code’s creation came from a Senate hearing on the threat of a breakdown in media accreditation talks between individual sports administrators and individual newspaper publishers and agencies, such as AAP and Getty Images.

The Senate Committee Inquiry into the Reporting of Sports News in the Digital Media Environment recommended in part

stakeholders negotiate media access to sporting events based on the principle that all bona fide journalists, including photojournalists and news agencies, should be able to access sporting events regardless of their technological platform

The Code makes an annual report to Parliament and is generally accepted to have works for the best interests of both sports administrators and news publishers.

Since the Code was created, a number of sports organisations, such as the AFL, have invested heavily in generating content and attracting audiences through digital publishing. News organisations have never objected to this, stating their positions has never been to restrict competition to their own services, only gain access to events in the public domain.

Press Freedom – Global declarations

A number of formal declarations have been made over the years to fortify the ongoing campaign for press freedom. These include:

Declaration of Table Mountain (2007) & Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Pluralistic African Press (1991)

The Declaration of Table Mountain (Cape Town, 2007):

“In country after country, the African press is crippled by a panoply of repressive measures from jailing and persecution of journalists to the widespread scourge of ‘insult laws’ and criminal defamation which are used, ruthlessly, by government to prevent critical appraisal of their performance and to deprive the public from information about their misdemeanours”.

“Press freedom remains a key to the establishment of good governance and

durable economic, political, social and cultural development, prosperity and peace . . . and to fight against corruption, famine, poverty, violence, conflict, disease and lack of education.”

Declaration on Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa (2002)

A decade after the landmark Windhoek Declaration came the 2002 Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa, adopted by the African Commission on Human Rights and People’s Rights and the African Union.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 19)

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”.