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Bermuda News Media

Newspapers, magazines, cable, radio, television

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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) at e-mail exclusively for Bermuda Online

To refer by e-mail to this file use "bermuda-online.org/media" as your Subject

Radio broadcasting in Bermuda began in 1946, long before TV in 1956, see ). Radio talk shows are popular in Bermuda. In music, there is a "local content" requirement of at least two locally sung or locally orchestrated songs or pieces of music per hour.

Media below wishing to have their websites and email addresses shown below are welcome to contact us to arrange a reciprocal hyperlink (link), when they act in accordance with our Reciprocal Links policy.  

Media Council of Bermuda

It was agreed on June 9, 2010 and began on October 14, 2010 when local lawyer Christian Luthi was appointed to chair this eight-person council. It has two main goals to help resolve complaints against the media and to protect freedom of expression. The council was chosen by an independent selection committee. It is the first time Bermuda had an independent media council. It was promoted after then-Premier Ewart Brown, who wanted the press tamed, tabled legislation to form a Government appointed anti-press council. Local journalists and global press freedom campaigners claimed it would be politically biased and could infringe freedom of expression and volunteered to form an independent council. As a result Dr. Brown decided to take the proposed legislation off the table before Members of Parliament voted on it. At that time, some local politicians were opposed to true democracy and fundamental press freedoms. They were not aware, or omitted to mention, that voluntary press codes - not legislation made by and on behalf of their governments - apply in all the world's democracies. Unlike them, Bermuda does not have a "gutter" or "yellow" press so responsible Bermuda media saw no need to have a voluntary press code. 

Unlike Canada, USA, etc where freedom of the press is built to their constitutions or elsewhere into their constitutional rights, Bermuda has no such guaranteed press freedoms. The International Press Institute (IPI) warned the Government that its "deeply flawed" planned Media Council Act 2010 bill could damage Bermuda's reputation around the world. The global network of editors, media executives and journalists, based in Vienna, issued a statement in May 2010 arguing that the proposed council would be inherently biased, would infringe press freedom and could prevent the free flow of information. It urged the Government to withdraw the draft legislation and talk again to the Island's media industry about how it should be regulated. The warning followed opposition to the bill from other global press freedom organizations, including US-based Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the CPU (Commonwealth Press Union) Media Trust. The IPI said the Media Council Act 2010 could have a "detrimental impact" on the reputation of the Bermuda Government. The bill was tabled in Bermuda's House of Assembly on May 7, 2010 by then-Premier Ewart Brown but managed to avoid enactment after the Media Council of Bermuda was approved as a compromise. Had this not been done, six persons would have been appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the Premier, with just five further media representatives. The media  restraints the then-Premier wanted would have had a bias that jeopardizes not only the council's decision-making process but also any future code of practice for the media. Most worryingly, section 15 (3) (d) of the proposed act contained a powerful prior restraint clause that enabled the council to prevent the publication and broadcasting of 'any news, or comment on the news, that is the subject of the complaint. Due to the bias inherent within the council, this power could have been abused to prevent the free flow of information within Bermuda and might be used by complainants to prevent investigative journalism. The IPI, which works to safeguard press freedom, said the "controversial" media bill appeared to have "more in common with the media legislation of some of the repressive governments in Latin America, than with the First Amendment tradition of one of its close trading partners, the United States.

Bermuda's British Governor and the USA's Consul General were then both silent. Yet both have complete freedom of the press in their respective countries, endorsed by the the British Government and President Obama.  

See this dateline: 

Media Code of Practice

Suggested and approved in June 2010 by Bermuda's media shown below instead of a government-run entity.

Preamble

Members of the media have a duty to maintain the highest professional standards. The Code of Practice, which includes this preamble and the public interest exceptions in Section 1, sets the benchmark for ethical standards, protecting both the rights of the individual and the public's right to know. It is the cornerstone of the system of self-regulation to which the industry in Bermuda has made a binding commitment. Freedom of the press is indivisible from, and subject to, the same rights and duties as that of the individual and rests on the public's fundamental right to be informed and freely to receive and to disseminate opinions. The primary purpose of gathering and distributing news and opinion is to serve Bermuda by informing citizens and enabling them to make informed judgments on the issues of the time. The Code serves as a reference point for the public and also as an essential guide for journalists in Bermuda. It is vital that this Code be honored not only by the letter but also in spirit. It should not be interpreted so narrowly as to compromise its commitment to respect the rights of the individual, nor so broadly that it constitutes an unnecessary interference with freedom of expression or prevents publication in the public interest.

It is the responsibility of editors, publishers and managers to apply the Code to editorial material. They should ensure it is observed rigorously by all editorial staff and external contributors, including non-journalists.

Public enlightenment, as defined by the Society of Professional Journalists, is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. This is the guiding principle of this Code.

1. The Public Interest

There may be exceptions to the clauses below marked ** where they can be demonstrated to be in the public interest. The public interest includes, but is not confined to:

2. Accuracy

3. Opportunity to Reply

4. Privacy

5. Harassment

6. Intrusion into grief or shock

7. Children

8. Hospitals

9. Reporting of Crime

10. Clandestine devices and subterfuge

11. Discrimination

12. Incitement to Hatred

13. Financial/business journalism

14. Confidential sources

15. Witness payments in criminal trials and payment to criminals

The media shall not, under any circumstances, offer any payment for any story. (This does not preclude payments to freelance writers, photographers etc).

16. Headlines and captions

Headlines, sub-headings and captions, across all media, should accurately and fairly convey the substance or tone of the report or photo or footage to which they are related.

17. Photos & video footage

18. Public feedback

Selection and treatment of letters, and the choice of and air time given to talk show guests, are the prerogative of editors/news directors who are to be guided by fairness, balance, and public interest in the contributors' views.

19. Conflict of Interest

20. Editorial matters

21. Plagiarism, copyright & embargoes

22. User-generated online content

23. Social Networking Sites

24. Miscellaneous

25. Note

This Code of Practice is a living document and will be subject to change once it has been put into practice and its effectiveness evaluated. It will thereafter be revised annually, as circumstances demand. Changes can only be made with the collective authorization of its five original co-signatories or their successors.

Daily free and independent newspaper The Royal Gazette

The Royal Gazette

Bermuda's best value for money by far, costs Bda$ 1.00, less than many UK newspapers with far less content, plus has a full-content electronic Edition. Internationally praised and respected. Founded in 1828, Bermuda's only daily newspaper, publishing every day except Sunday and public holidays. With daily circulation of more than 16,000 copies, the newspaper reaches more than 90 percent of the adult market. It aims to cover the whole community fairly and accurately ands to act as an independent voice. It is not affiliated with any political party. Each day, it produces the following sections: Local news, Overseas news, Sport, Business, Lifestyle and Opinion. In addition, the newspaper produces weekly sections on Body and Soul (Tuesday), Personal Technology and Shipping (Wednesday) Youth (Thursday), Personal Finance, Religion and Weekender (Saturday). It also publishes two magazines: RG Magazine, a general interest colour supplement, and Bottom Line, a business magazine. These award-winning magazines come out in alternative months through the year. It started publishing an Internet edition in 1997 and upgrades its website regularly. It is owned by The Bermuda Press (Holdings) Ltd., which in addition to owning the Island's leading media group, also owns Bermuda Press Ltd., the leading commercial printer in Bermuda, office supplies companies and real estate.

Located at 2 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton HM-02, Bermuda. Mailing address: PO Box HM1025, Hamilton HMDX, Bermuda. Phone: 441-295-5881. Royal Gazette Editorial Fax: 441-292-2498
Emails:
Letters to the Editor: letters@royalgazette.bm
Local news: news@royalgazette.bm
News Desk: rgnewsdesk@royalgazette.bm
Business: business@royalgazette.bm
Sport: sport@royalgazette.bm
Lifestyle/Calendar: lifestyle@royalgazette.bm
For more information about contacting different Royal Gazette departments or individual members of staff, see Contact Us.

On January 21, 2008 The Royal Gazette launched a campaign to throw open the doors of Government and publicly-funded groups to give the people of Bermuda access to information that shapes their lives. A Right to Know: Giving People Power is all about helping the people of Bermuda find out what Government and other publicly funded bodies are doing on behalf of citizens, residents and taxpayers and how they are spending tax dollars. There have been pledges of support from around the Island and the world, with former Progressive Labour Party Premier Alex Scott one of the first on board. He said: "This is not an anti-government exercise. It's a pro-democracy vehicle for the public that we serve." A Right to Know calls for Premier Dr. Ewart Brown and his Government to return plans first introduced in 2003 by Mr. Scott for public access to information (PATI) to the top of the PLP's agenda. This newspaper asked to see a commitment in the 2008 Throne Speech delivered on February 1 to table a PATI bill in the House of Assembly this year. It also urged Government, on behalf of all consumers, to agree to open up to the public all quangos, boards and other publicly-funded bodies, including the Corporation of Hamilton, which has a $20 million annual budget. There are more than 100 such entities in Bermuda spending millions of dollars of taxpayers' money and all hold their meetings behind closed doors, with a only a couple releasing minutes to the public. The Royal Gazette believes that anyone should be allowed to attend these meetings if they wish and that minutes detailing what happens during them and the decisions taken which affect the people of Bermuda should be made publicly available. The final aim of A Right to Know is to persuade Government and other bodies that are paid for by the taxpayer to answer questions about their activities unless they have sound and irrefutable reasons not to, such as for national security purposes. Mr. Scott said Bermuda was ready for a public access to or freedom of information (FOI) law and a more open government, as the more than 70 countries around the world, including Cayman, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, the UK, Canada, the US and Ireland have done. Other community members supporting transparency include Anglican Bishop Ewan Ratteray, Bermuda National Trust director Jennifer Gray, teachers' union leader Mike Charles, former Opposition UBP leader Grant Gibbons, columnist and journalist Tom Vesey, lawyer Tim Marshall, environmentalist Stuart Hayward, businessmen Stephen Davidson and Nalton Brangman and US Consul Gregory Slayton. Mr. Slayton said the US's FOI laws had made a big difference in various obvious ways and he was all in favor of that for all in Bermuda, to make Government accountable and responsible to citizens and taxpayers. The National Freedom of Information Coalition (NFOIC) in the US is behind the initiative, as is the Carter Center, the human rights organisation founded by former American President Jimmy Carter which helped Jamaica implement its PATI law. Charles Davis, from NFOIC, said he had witnessed other small countries successfully bring in FOI. He said: "You have got a great case for reform here. In a small country a lot can happen with nobody knowing about it. The default is almost to be secretive. I think this is an excellent case for a new FOI law."

Because they are fully independent of the Bermuda Government, Royal Gazette reporters are regularly verbally attacked and belittled by politicians at press conferences and public events. It is the only developed country in the free world where this kind of constant government hostility towards the free press goes unchallenged; not good for Bermuda's image as a tourism resort and business center. Even in the United Kingdom, where the leading independent newspapers regularly police and often challenge the government, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his Cabinet, always conscious of the freedom of the press as a unique democratic right, have never ended government's advertising or stopped subscription deals with any newspaper. In complete contrast, the Cabinet of the Bermuda Government decided in March 2008 to end the Government's advertising and subscription deals with this newspaper, claiming it was a cost-saving measure. A press release at the time said: "The Cabinet determined it was not cost-effective or penetrative enough to rely heavily on print advertising in an electronically advanced community." However, despite repeated requests the methodology used has never been revealed. However it continues to place adverts with other, far less frequent print media and to select one of them, only a twice a week publication, as its Official Gazette, despite its much higher-to-government bidding cost. 

Other newspapers

History of Newspapers in order of date of first publication

Newspaper First Editor Dates operated
Bermuda Gazette J. Stockdale 1784-1831+
Royal Gazette (Weekly Gazette) Edmund Ward 1810-1816
The Gleaner Edmund Ward 1812-1813
Ladies Library C. R. Beach 1817-1818
The Bermudian Alex Holmes 1819-1823
The Royal Gazette D. R. & D. M. Lee 1828-present
The Bermudian  Benjamin Jenkins 1834-1878
Bermuda Herald William Martin 1844-1857
The Record Fisher & Dover 1849-1850
Advertiser Samuel Nelmes, Jr 1851-1854
Bermuda Mirror George A. Lee 1861-1872?
Bermuda Advocate W. J. S. Scobell 1863-1864?
Bermuda Chronicle W. J. S. Scobell. Another editor, briefly, was the English artist Edward K. James 1865-1871
Colonist & Daily News Charles Brady 1866-1920
Bermuda Times & Advocate Sam Parker, Jr. & Sons 1871-1883
Spirit of the Times George E. Lee 1872?
New Era or Home Journal A. L. Spedon 1881-1884+
Home & People's Journal John J. Parker 1882-1883
Bermuda Times or People's Journal John J. Parker & Sam Parker, Jr 1883-1890?
The People's Journal John J. Parker 1884-1902?
Bermuda Advertiser J. D and F. R. Bell 1894-1900?
Mid Ocean W. L. Toddings & W. K. Morrison 1899-1900, then see Bermuda Mid Ocean News below
Bermuda Recorder  J. Bushell 1899-1900
New Era (Rev. Monk bought out Mr Spedon's version of 1881-1884). Rev. Charles V. Monk 1901-1905
Knight Errant M. Sheldon-Williams 1904-1906
Bermuda Mid Ocean News Seaward S. Toddings

 

1911 - October 2009. Bought in 1960s by the Royal Gazette. Was a weekly (Friday) and sister newspaper of daily The Royal Gazette.
The Recorder Rev. C. A. Stewart 1925-1975. Bought by Sir John Swan in the early 1970s for 2 years. Then Ira Philip bought it, found it unprofitable and ended it
The Echo   1928-1934
The Islander Margaret R. Seon 1929?
The Bermuda Beacon Military monthly, published for the US Army's Fort Bell and Kindley Field by the US Army Engineers 1942-5
The Skyliner Military weekly, published in Bermuda for the USAF's Kindley Air Force Base (KAFB) by the KAFB Information Division 1955-1972
Tide-ings US Navy newspaper that covered the US naval bases in Bermuda 1955-1995. Copies were always sent to the US Consulate General
Fame June Augustus, mostly about local black business and cultural achievements and personalities 1962-1976
Bermuda Sun Martin Dier 1964-present
Workers Voice Reid Simmons 1971-present
Bermuda Now Bryan Darby 1980-1981
Bermuda Times K. Murray Brown 1987-1994

Newspapers from overseas

Available from local stores, but at very high prices, sometimes as much as 350% more than the domestic price in the country of origin. A Sunday English newspaper can now cost as much as $10 - far higher than in USA or Canada - and without most of the inserts included in Britain. Most daily newspapers are not available until later that day or at least a day later than their published dates, usually without some or all of the supplements, TV Guides, etc. They include the Miami Herald International Edition. 

Broadcasting Commissioners

Under the Broadcasting Commissioners Act 1953. See in alphabetical order under "Bermuda Government Boards." E-mail gtelecom@bdagov.bm.

Broadcasting regulations and stations

All commercial, no PBS or BBC equivalent

Broadcasting content on cable, radio and local television and political broadcasting are controlled by the Bermuda Government appointed Broadcasting Commissioners set up under the Broadcasting Commissioners Act 1953. They are answerable to a cabinet minister. They act as the Film Control Authority, under the Film/Control of Exhibition Act 1959. They also advise the Minister on matters concerning the Obscene Publications Act 1973.

The only periodic exception to the all-commercial content is when the Government Emergency Broadcasting Facility operates, during a storm or hurricane or when no commercial station can broadcast because power lines are down. The Bermuda Government does not hold an equity position in any of the broadcasting companies but awards contracts to them for certain programming.

On January 14, 1994 in Bermuda, new regulations were officially introduced affecting local radio and television stations. Enacted by the House of Assembly six months earlier, they required callers to identify themselves; stations to put into effect a seven-second delay in broadcasting such calls; as well as a ban on tobacco advertising; a ban on alcohol advertising (except beer and wine) between 6 am and 9 pm; the requirement for all such advertising to include the message "Excessive alcohol may be harmful to your health;" stations to produce a daily record of programs; regular publication of time schedules for programming; and the requirement that local television stations not broadcast any program which solicits funds from the public except by an approved and registered charity.

Magazines

Media not yet shown but wishing to be mentioned below will be mentioned/linked to gladly and shown as a Bermuda resource once they link to this site at http://www.bermuda-online.org and thereby show it as a Bermuda resource, See our Reciprocal Links policy. Currently, they include:

paragraphBermuda Insurance Journal. See http://www.rgbdahosting.com/epubs/Bermuda-Insurance-Journal-Fall-2012/#?page=10. Covering Bermuda's most important industry. 

paragraphBermuda Online.  Electronic format only. With its detailed and accurate 125+ web files on Bermuda, many of which are updated daily including all Public Holidays and weekends. 

Bermuda Online (BOL) banner

paragraphBottom Line. See http://www.royalgazette.com/section/magazines. Published by The Royal Gazette daily newspaper.  A news and features oriented quarterly business magazine, for locals and visitors. Given away with that newspaper.

Bottom Line business magazine

paragraphRG Magazine. Published by The Royal Gazette daily newspaper. A news and features oriented monthly, for locals and visitors. Free with daily newspaper.

RG Magazine, Bermuda

Radio and Television Stations

The Bermuda Broadcasting Company was the first continuous and remains the largest broadcasting company in Bermuda. Sometimes abbreviated locally as "BBC", it is not related to the BBC in the United Kingdom. It has been a commercial, for-profit broadcasting company since its beginning in the 1950s. The Bermuda Broadcasting Company owns radio stations and TV stations using the call letters "ZFB" and "ZBM". The ZBM callsign  in Bermuda - used since 1953 for an AM radio station, since 1962 for an FM radio station, and in 1958, for the first Bermudian television station, ZBM-TV, which gave Bermudians their own TV station after years of watching a TV channel intended for American servicemen stationed at Kindley Field.

Bermuda Broadcasting Company Ltd

Radio and TV.  4 Fort Hill Road, Prospect, Devonshire DV 02. Phone (441) 295-2828. Mailing address P. O. Box HM 452, Hamilton HM BX.

Bermuda Cablevision

Cable TV and cable broadband. Washington Mall, Hamilton, since May 2011. Phone (441) 292-5544. Fax: (441) 295-3023. There are monthly fees for HDTV service. Many channels plus cable Broadband.

DeFontes Broadcasting Company Ltd

Radio and TV. 24 Reid Street, Hamilton. Mailing address P. O. Box HM 1450, Hamilton HM FX. Phone (441) 292-0050. Fax (441) 295-1658.  TV studio, Ocean View Golf Course, Barkers Hill, Devonshire. Phone (441) 276-1111. Fax (441) 292-3375.

World on Wireless (WOW)

Wireless TV. Church Street, Washington Mall Phase 2. Hamilton HM 12. Phone 292-1969. Technical support 295-0154. Fax 292-1979.  Many channels.

paragraphAM Radio

paragraphFM Radio

Local electronic news stations rely heavily on the daily news published very early in the morning in the only Bermuda daily newspaper, The Royal Gazette, which broadcasts about 75 percent of all Bermuda news.

paragraphGovernment Emergency Broadcasting Facility

This goes on the air at 1610 kHz on the AM band only when all the commercial stations are unable to broadcast. The station provides music, emergency information and announcements. They are handled jointly by public relations officers within the Police Community Relations office and Government Information Services. In recent years, the station has fulfilled a useful role as an information source during island-wide power failures, especially during hurricanes. It is operated around the clock until any one of the commercial radio stations can resume service.

paragraphShort Wave Radio

Media below wishing to have their websites and email addresses shown below are welcome to contact the author, if they act in accordance with our Reciprocal Links policy. 

TV stations

DTV is not yet being planned for Bermuda. Media below wishing to have their websites and email addresses shown below are welcome to contact the author if they act in accordance with our Reciprocal Links policy.  Unlike in the United Kingdom, no annual TV license fee is payable by individuals or households. Bermuda uses the North American NTSC television broadcasting standard. Reception is island wide but much better in some areas than in others, when only using rabbit-ears as an aerial. There is no equivalent in Bermuda of UK-style Freeview TV. Bermuda TV stations do not follow the methodology in the United Kingdom and North America of presenters on morning TV shows from national stations such as BBC in the UK showing  pictures and leading stories from daily newspapers. 

paragraphFresh TV. Fresh Creations, Vision House, 44 Court Street, Hamilton, Bermuda HM12. Tel. (441) 295 9922, Fax (441) 295 4031.

paragraphCITV (Community Information Television). Government TV channel. Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton, HM 12. Phone (441) 292-5998 or email info@dci.gov.bm.

paragraphLookTV

paragraphOnionTV. Phone (441) 292-2688 or 292-20TV. P.O. Box 1585, Hamilton, Bermuda.

paragraphZFB TV. Bermuda Broadcasting Company Ltd. Channel 7. Affiliate of ABC, USA

paragraphZBM TV. Bermuda Broadcasting Company Ltd. Channel 9. Affiliate of CBS, USA

paragraphVSB TVDeFontes Broadcasting Company Ltd. Channel 11. Affiliate of NBC, USA

VSB Bermuda

Also available

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Last Updated: July 23, 2014.
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