Code of conduct

The Fifth Estate strives to provide the best public interest journalism possible in our core area of interest – sustainability in the built environment –with a special focus on how business, political, social and environmental factors influence outcomes.

We aim to do this as fairly, accurately and honestly as possible and welcome editorial contributions from all sources as long as they adhere to policies and core mission.

The Fifth Estate expects our journalists and contributors to abide by the Code of Ethics developed by the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance (MEAA) as follows:

  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 our utmost to achieve fair correction of errors.
  13. 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.

Corrections and complaints

Corrections, clarifications and amplifications

The Fifth Estate will correct any errors of a factual or defamatory nature as soon as possible and note material changes at the bottom of the story, or more prominently if needs be.

We will always strive to give a timely opportunity for readers to respond to views expressed by our journalist or contributors.

Breaches of the Code of Conduct

Any breaches of the Code of the Conduct will first be dealt with by the editor who will seek the agreement of the journalist or contributor and any aggrieved party to rectification action. Refusal to participate in any corrective action deemed fair by the editor will trigger any action deemed necessary by the editor.

The Fifth Estate will also refer to standards published by the Australian Press Council to guide any actions in relation to breaches of the code or other editorial issues.

If none of these actions are acceptable to aggrieved party or parties, consultation with agreed independent advisors will be sought and their decisions adhered to.

Corrections or complaints can be addressed directly to editorial@thefifthestate.com.au or by using online form below:

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