Introducing Bermuda’s Media Council

Posted by on Oct 17, 2010 in Local News & Alerts | 0 comments

The eight members of the Media Council of Bermuda have been chosen.

Wendell Emery

They are: Christian Luthi (chairman), C. Wendell Emery (deputy chairman), Tom Vesey, Charles H. Webbe, Qian Dickinson, Kelly Francis, Rebecca Davies and Amanda Outerbridge.

They were chosen by a three-member Appointments Committee after public appeals for volunteers.

The Media Council has two main goals — to help resolve complaints against the media and to protect freedom of expression.

There will be a short induction process and within the next few weeks a date will be set for the formal inception of the council. It will not handle retroactive complaints and only stories printed, posted or broadcast after the start date will be heard.

The complaints procedure will be fully explained on the Media Council’s website which will go live soon, once all of its content has been finalized. Also, as the launch of the council draws nearer, media outlets will run stories to explain how the council will work.

It is important for us to emphasize that the Media Council’s role will be to serve the public by providing a service that will be quick, free of charge, easily accessible and independent.

We had planned a mid-September launch but the extensive preparatory work has required an extraordinary level of commitment and collaboration from all of those involved and despite some delays, we’re enthused about progress.

Three members of the council will represent the media, the other five — including the chairman and deputy chairman — are lay people with no current connections to the news media.

The media representatives will be obliged to excuse themselves from any council hearing that involves a complaint against the media outlet for which they work.

Background

Moves to establish the Media Council of Bermuda began in earnest in May of this year, in response to Premier Dr. Ewart Brown’s tabling, in the House of Assembly, of the Media Council Bill.

The bill, which proposed a statutory media council with a majority of members appointed by the Governor after consultation with the government — but paid for by the media — raised concerns about the prospect of political interference in the dissemination of news.

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