This policy applies to the editorial employees (full, part time and casual) and contributors (contractors, consultants, freelance photographers, interns and volunteers) of Switzer Financial Group. Please adhere to our policy in order to maintain the reputation that we have earned for independent, transparent and accurate journalism. It is important to adhere to these guidelines as we move in a world that is so fast that it can be easy to substitute quantity for quality, which our brand embraces at all times.
1. Maintain accuracy
1.1 Take reasonable steps to ensure all editorial is accurate and not misleading.
1.2 As a writer or presenter, you are free to editorialise, campaign and take stances on issues provided you take reasonable steps to fulfil the requirements of 1.3 and 1.4.
1.3 Comment and opinion are acceptable in editorial to provide perspective or explain the significance of an issue, or to allow readers to recognise what our standpoint is on a matter.
1.4 However we do not knowingly publish inaccurate or misleading information and we should correct significant inaccuracies or misleading material once recognised as mistakes – see section 2.
1.5 Try always to present all sides of a story when reporting on disputes and take reasonable steps to contact adversely named parties.
1.6 Only use credible sources.
1.7 Don’t change direct quotations except to delete offensive language, protect against defamation or make minor changes for clarity.
1.8 Taking someone’s work and calling it your own i.e. plagiarism is theft.
1.9 Verify information sourced from social media for accuracy. Editors should be informed of images sourced from social media sites.
2. Fix any mistakes
2.1 Subject to legal advice, if published material is significantly inaccurate, promptly correct it or take other adequate remedial action.
3. Don’t engage in misrepresentation
3.1 Our audience has a right to reliable information and to not be misled.
3.2 Don’t use false names when representing Switzer Financial Group.
3.3 Do not obtain information, photographs or video by deception. We do not engage in covert activities.
3.4 Always seek permission either in words or at the beginning of the interview from the other party if you are wanting to tape a conversation/interview/video with them. Seek approval if recording is to be used as audio in any digital capacity. We do not engage in entrapment, nor is it lawful.
4. Confidential sources
4.1 Confidentiality to a source must be honoured but there could be consequences example e.g. , a judge may order the source to be identified and if you do not agree this could result in a conviction for contempt of court, with the consequence of being imprisoned or being sanctioned with a heavy fine.
5. Payment for information
5.1 Our policy is that we pay any professional contributor to write stories but we do not pay a third party for their story. We never use private investigators to uncover a story.
6. Conflict of interest
6.1 A conflict of interest arises when personal interests or divided loyalties interfere with the ability to make sound, objective business decisions on behalf of the company. Staff may join and participate in lawful political or community organisations or activities but must avoid potential conflicts of interest with our company.
6.2 Any employee wishing to perform paid or unpaid work for a rival media outlet must receive written approval in advance from the CEO. This forms part of the employee’s contract of employment.
7. Financial reporting
7.1 It is illegal for employees to make personal gain from financial information received in advance of general publication. It is illegal to pass this information to others.
7.2 Editorial employees must not report about shares, securities or companies in which they, their family or close friends have a financial interest without disclosing before publication that interest to the CEO.
7.3 Editorial employees should declare an interest to the CEO if they have traded or intend to trade, directly or indirectly, in shares or securities about which they have reported recently or intend to report on soon.
7.4 Editorial employees should not write about prospectuses before their lodgement without confirming relevant regulations including those of a stock exchange are not breached. As we are in the business of financial and business reporting we are STRICT on these rules.
8.1 Only the CEO is authorised to accept offers of free or discounted travel, accommodation etc for a publication.
8.2 The CEO has the right to decide whether to accept an offer, who should be assigned and whether a report is published as a consequence. These conditions must be made clear to whoever made the offer.
8.3 Employees must never solicit discount travel or accommodation for themselves; nor misrepresent their role to secure any form of travel discount or accommodation.
8.4 All international travel must be approved in advance by the CEO.
9. Personal gain, gifts
9.1 Employees must not request or accept any money, travel, goods, discounts, entertainment or inducements of any kind outside the normal scope of business hospitality.
9.2 Bribes are to be rejected promptly and the CEO should be informed immediately of any offer or request to pay a bribe, or other inappropriate payments.
9.3 Gifts of cash (any sum) are never acceptable.
9.4 Employees must never solicit or request any gift or benefit for themselves or anyone else in connection with their employment.
9.5 Employees must not accept gifts above a nominal value of $100. If a gift has more than a nominal value, it may only be accepted after approval of the CEO. The frequency, timing and nature of the gift must be considered.
10. Confidential Information
10.1 You must not disclose confidential information or commercially sensitive information about Switzer Financial Group, even if you no longer work for us, including (but not limited to):
This forms part of your contract of employment.
11. Interviews/requests for information or documentation in third party litigation
11.1 Switzer Financial Group expects employees to co-operate with authorities in investigations. But requests by police or other authorities for work-related interviews must be referred to the CEO.
11.2 No employee should speak in that capacity to another media organisation or at a public event without permission of the CEO.
12.1 Do not harass or try to intimidate people when seeking information or photographs.
12.2 Do not photograph or film people on private property without their consent unless it is in the public interest to do so. If asked by the resident to leave private property, do so promptly.
12.3 Do not persist unreasonably in telephoning, pursuing, questioning or door-stopping someone after an authorised person has asked you to stop.
13. Grief and distress
13.1 Always behave with sensitivity and courtesy toward the public. This stems back to our core values..
14.1 Do not make pejorative reference to a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, or physical or mental illness or disability. No details of a person’s race, nationality, colour, religion, marital status, sex, sexual preferences, or physical or mental illness or disability should be included in a report unless they are relevant.
15.0 Photographic enhancement and manipulation policy
15.1 Enhancement of photographs is acceptable. However, this should be limited to simple procedures to improve reproduction quality, ie auto enhancement.
15.2 Colour alteration, over sharpening and image manipulation is prohibited.
15.3 Freelance, occasional and on-the-spot contributors must give an undertaking in writing their images have not been altered. Except in special circumstances and on approval of the CEO.
15.4 Any image that has had the subject altered or added to should be clearly acknowledged in the caption as “Digitally Altered Image”.
15.5 Any special image that requires archiving and has been altered must be clearly marked to this effect before being archived and an original filed.
16.0 Other Obligations
16.1 Do not bring the reputation of Switzer Financial Group, your colleagues or masthead into disrepute.
16.2 Respect the confidences and sensitivities of your colleagues at all times.
16.3 Familiarise yourself with all of Switzer Financial Group’s employee conduct policies.
16.4 All employees are required to be neat and dressed appropriately for their particular job and should be aware of requirements of the Switzer Financial Group Dress Code.
16.5 Employees must protect company assets from theft, carelessness, waste and misuse and respect the property rights of others.
17.0 Breaches of policy
17.1 Complaints involving alleged breaches of this policy will be investigated by the CEO of the publication concerned, or an executive of equivalent status. Proven breaches will be dealt with in accordance with the company’s disciplinary procedures.
18.0 Complaints Policy
18.1 We have a comprehensive policy for handling and resolving complaints, which you can access here.
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