Events

ECMBA Code of Conduct

Eastern Cape Muslim Broadcasting Association t/a Radio IFM

Code of Ethics

(revised October 2013)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Background
Clause 1 General Programming
Clause 2 Human Rights
Clause 3 Sex-Role Stereotyping
Clause 4 Children’s Programs
Clause 5 News
Clause 6 Full, Fair and Proper Presentation
Clause 7 Controversial Public Issues
Clause 8 Religious Programming
Clause 9 Radio Broadcasting
Clause 10 Viewer Advisories
Clause 12 Contests and Promotions
Clause 13 Advertising (General Principles)
Clause 14 Advertising (Details)
Clause 15 Prohibition of Subliminal Devices
Clause 16 Community Activities
Clause 17 Education
Clause 18 Employees
Appendix A Viewer Advisories

Background

Allah (SWT) teaches us in Surah Al Hujurat  the manners of conduct in the following Ayaats/verses:

‘O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest ye harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what ye have done”. Surah 49:6

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a Better Protector to both. So follow not the lusts (of your hearts) lest you avoid justice; and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do”. Surah 4:135

“The Believers are but a single Brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear Allah, that ye may receive Mercy”. Surah 49:10

“O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it…But fear Allah: For Allah is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful”. Surah 49:12

This Code of Ethics must be read with the following documents of Radio IFM, which are available upon request  :-

  • I C A S A – Independent Communications Authority of South Africa – Extracts from Regulations regarding the Code of Conduct for Broadcasting Service Licensees issued in terms of Section 54 of the Electronic Communications Act No 36 of 2005
  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa – Extracts from Chapter 2 of the Bill of Rights

The purpose of this Code of Ethics is to document the realization by Board Members, Staff, Ulema, producers, presenters, technicians, advertisers, and all volunteers of the station (“broadcasters”), that, as an integral part in the media of communications, their first responsibility is to the radio listeners for the dissemination of information and news, the supply of a variety of entertainment programming to meet the various tastes of listeners and viewers, and the necessity for ethical standards in dealing with the listeners, advertisers and their agencies.

It is recognized that the most valuable asset of a broadcaster is public respect, which must be earned and can be maintained only by adherence to the highest possible standards of public service and integrity.

The electronic form of publication known as community radio broadcasting is a highly competitive business devoted to provision of service to the public in all its interests – business, political, recreational, informational, cultural and educational.

Revenues from advertising make possible broadcasting and make all types of programmes available to the people including news, information, education, and entertainment. Each broadcaster is responsible for the success of the station. This responsibility can only be met by bringing influence to bear upon all who have a hand in the production of programs including staff, sponsors, producers of live and recorded programs, advertising agencies and talent agencies.

Clause 1 – General Programming

Recognizing the varied tastes of the public it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to so program the station, that, as far as possible, all groups of listeners and viewers shall have from these, some part of the programming devoted to their special likes and desires.

Clause 2 – Human Rights

Recognizing that every person has the right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability.

Clause 3 – Sex-Role Stereotyping

Recognizing that stereotyping images can and do have a negative effect, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to exhibit, to the best of their ability, a conscious sensitivity to the problems related to sex-role stereotyping, by refraining from exploitation and by the reflection of the intellectual and emotional equality of both sexes in programming.

Clause 4 – Children’s Programs

(1) Recognizing that programs designed specifically for children reach impressionable minds and influence social attitudes and aptitudes, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to provide the closest possible supervision in the selection and control of material, characterizations and plot.
(2) Nothing in the foregoing shall mean that the vigour and vitality common to children’s imaginations and love of adventure should be removed. It does mean that such programs should be based upon sound social concepts and presented with a superior degree of craftsmanship, and that these programs should reflect the moral and ethical standards of contemporary Muslim society and encourage pro-social behaviour and attitudes. Broadcasters should encourage parents to select from the richness of broadcasting fare the best programs to be brought to the attention of their children.
(3) Broadcasters shall refrain from the promotion of violence in children’s programming.

Clause 5 – News

(1) It shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to ensure that news shall be represented with accuracy and without bias. Broadcasters shall satisfy themselves that the arrangements made for obtaining news ensure this result. They shall also ensure that news broadcasts are not editorial.
(2) News shall not be selected for the purpose of furthering or hindering either side of any controversial public issue, nor shall it be formulated on the basis of the beliefs, opinions or desires of management, the editor or others engaged in its preparation or delivery. The fundamental purpose of news dissemination in a democracy is to enable people to know what is happening, and to understand events so that they may form their own conclusions.
(3) Nothing in the foregoing shall be understood as preventing broadcasters from analyzing and elucidating news so long as such analysis or comment is clearly labeled as such and kept distinct from regular news presentations. Broadcasters are also entitled to provide editorial opinion, which shall be clearly labeled as such and kept entirely distinct from regular broadcasts of news or analysis.

Clause 6 – Full, Fair and Proper Presentation

It is recognized that the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, lectures, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of each broadcaster. This principle shall apply to all radio programming, whether it relates to news, public affairs, magazine, talk, call-in, interview or other broadcasting formats in which news, opinion, comment or editorial may be expressed by broadcaster employees, their invited guests or callers.

Clause 7 – Controversial Public Issues

Recognizing in a democracy the necessity of presenting all sides of a public issue, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters to treat fairly all subjects of a controversial nature. Time shall be allotted with due regard to all the other elements of balanced program schedules, and the degree of public interest in the questions presented. Recognizing that healthy controversy is essential to the maintenance of democratic institutions, broadcasters will endeavour to encourage the presentation of news and opinion on any controversy which contains an element of the public interest.

Clause 8 – Religious Programming

Broadcasters should endeavour to make available to the community adequate opportunity for presentation of religious messages and should also endeavour to assist in all ways open to them the furtherance of religious activities in the community. Recognizing the purpose of the religious broadcast to be that of promoting the spiritual harmony and understanding of humanity and of administering broadly to the varied religious needs of the community, it shall be the responsibility of each broadcaster to ensure that its religious broadcasts, which reach persons of all creeds and races simultaneously, shall not be used to convey attacks upon another race or religion.

Clause 9 – Radio Broadcasting

Recognizing that radio is a local medium and, consequently, reflective of local community standards, programming broadcast shall take into consideration the generally recognized access to programming content available in the market, the demographic composition of the station’s audience, and the station’s format. Within this context, particular care shall be taken by radio broadcasters to ensure that programming on their stations does not contain:

(a) Gratuitous violence in any form, or otherwise sanction, promote or glamorize violence;
(b) Unduly sexually explicit material; and/or
(c) Unduly coarse and offensive language.

 

Clause 10 – Viewer Advisories

To assist consumers in making their viewing choices, when programming includes mature subject matter with coarse or offensive language, or other material susceptible of offending viewers, broadcasters shall provide a viewer advisory at the beginning of, and after every commercial break during the programming,

Clause 11 – Contests and Promotions

All on-air contests and promotions shall be conceived and conducted fairly and legitimately and particular care shall be taken to ensure that they are not misleading, potentially dangerous or likely to give rise to a public inconvenience or disturbance and that any prizes offered or promises made are what they are represented to be.

Clause 12 – Advertising (General Principles)

(a) Recognizing the service that commercial sponsors render to listeners and viewers in making known to them the goods and services available in their communities and realizing that the story of such goods and services goes into the intimacy of the home, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters and their sales representatives to work with advertisers and agencies in improving the technique of telling the advertising story so that these shall be simple, truthful and believable, and shall not offend prevailing community standards of tolerability.
(b) Advertising is to be made most effective not only by the use of an appropriate selling message but by earning the most favourable reaction of the public to the sponsor by providing the best possible programming. Nothing in the foregoing shall prevent the dramatization of the use, value or attractiveness of products and services. While appropriate legislation protects the public from false and exaggerated claims for drugs, proprietary medicines and foods, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters and their sales representatives to work with the advertisers of these products and the advertising agencies to ensure that their value and use are told in words that are not offensive. Recognizing also that advertising appeals or commentaries by any advertiser that cast reflection upon the operation of a competitor or other industry or business are destructive of public confidence, it shall be the responsibility of broadcasters, so far as it lies within their power to do so, to prevent such advertising appeals or commentaries from being broadcast.

Clause 13 – Advertising (Details)

(a) Broadcasters recognize that they are responsible for the acceptability of advertising material they broadcast. All commercials must conform to applicable laws and regulations.
(b) Broadcasters shall ensure that advertising material within a newscast is clearly distinguishable from the news information adjacent to it. To this end, any commercial message broadcast within a newscast should not be read by the newsreader.
(c) Broadcasters shall ensure that there is no influence by advertisers, or the perception of such influence, on the reporting of news or public affairs, which must be accurate, balanced, and objective, with fairness and integrity being the paramount considerations governing its reporting.

Clause 14 – Community Activities

It shall be the responsibility of each broadcaster to serve to the utmost of its ability the interests of the community and to identify itself actively with worthwhile community activities.

Clause 15 – Education

While recognizing that all programs possess, by their very nature, some educational value, broadcasters will do all in their power to make specific educational efforts as useful and entertaining as possible. To that end, they will continue to use their time and facilities and to cooperate with appropriate educational groups in an attempt to augment the educational and cultural influences of school, institutions of higher learning, the home and other institutions devoted to education and culture. When practical, advantage should be taken of opportunities to consult such institutions on what suitable material is available and how it may best be presented. Where practical, factual material for public enlightenment should be included by broadcasters, advertisers and their agencies.

Clause 16 – Employees

(a) ECMBA shall endeavour to secure the highest calibre of persons who are qualified for and suitable to the duties for which each is hired. Every attempt shall be made to make service in the broadcasting industry an attractive and permanent career, permitting employees to contribute through their manner of living and personal achievements to the station’s prestige in the community. Each employee shall receive, in addition to minimum guarantees provided by applicable legislation, fair remuneration and treatment in accordance with the standards prevailing in the particular community at any time. The general intent of this section is realization that any industry is most often judged by the type of employees it attracts, the manner in which they conduct themselves and are able to live and the opinion of the industry for which they work. Recognizing this as a valuable asset, the broadcaster will do everything possible to maintain and further the best type of staff relations.
(b) ECMBA should refer to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and the Labour Relations Act for the rules and policies relating to employment  issues.

 Appendix A – Viewer Advisories

Broadcasters may preface their advisories with the following:

“As a member of the ECMBA, we are providing this advisory to assist our viewers in making their program choices”

The following are examples of advisories. They are provided as a guide to assist broadcasters in fulfilling their obligations to the Code of Ethics, to ensure their viewers are provided with adequate information in making their program selection. Each broadcaster is encouraged to develop and implement advisories which are suitable for its market and which will ensure that its programming is broadcast to a suitable audience.

“The following program contains coarse language and is not suitable for younger children.”

“The following program contains sexually explicit material intended for adult audiences. Listener discretion is advised.”

“The following program contains violence, and coarse language. Listener discretion is advised.”

“The following program deals with mature subject matter and is intended for adult audiences. Listener discretion is advised.”