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By Keith Archibald Forbes (see About Us) exclusively for Bermuda Online
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.
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:
February 3, 1993: Progressive Labour Party MP Julian Hall calls for a press council to be formed to ensure journalistic responsibility, during a speech in the House of Assembly.
June 25, 1993: United Bermuda Party Cabinet Minister Ann Cartwright DeCouto tells the House of Assembly during a debate on the Broadcasting Commissioners Amendment Act that she favours a press council to handle complaints about unfair treatment by newspapers. National Liberal Party leader Gilbert Darrell asks why television and radio are singled out for regulation, when the press is "getting away with murder."
July 21, 1993: PLP leader Frederick Wade urges the creation of an "independent and non-partisan press council". He claims "most unpardonable attacks" are being aimed at MPs and public office candidates.
February 24, 1999: UBP Senator Maxwell Burgess suggests that a media council "which spoke to some sense of fair reporting" could be set up. PLP Senator Calvin Smith disagrees, arguing that freedom of the press is part of the democratic process. "The last thing we would look to see is increased control," says Sen. Smith. Independent senator Walwyn Hughes states: "We might have our disagreements and views on the media. But the last thing we need is to have our troubles and concerns addressed by the Government."
August 1999: PLP Telecommunications Minister Renee Webb floats the idea of a press council to investigate alleged abuses. UBP MPs pour scorn on the idea because it wouldn't cover TV and radio but would have representatives from "fringe" publications such as Bermuda Industrial Union's Workers' Voice.
July 2003: Ms Webb reiterates her call for a press council. She says that in 1999 she "met with the various editors of the newspapers and they all agreed it was a good idea but I don't think they really wanted it. If they were serious they would have done it."
The February 2008 edition of the PLP newsletter The Party Line states: "As the demand for transparency and fairness is apparently increasing, one would hope that the daily, which a large portion of a specific section of the community considers unfair, will advocate with similar vigor for a press council."
March 2008: Sixty-four percent of people responding to a poll commissioned by The Royal Gazette support the introduction of a press council to regulate newspapers.
July 9, 2008: The Premier says his plans for a media council are behind schedule but promises: "Our recommended press council model will be available for stakeholder consultation soon."
December 12, 2008: A letter from the media to Dr. Brown states: "We do not believe that a legislated media council along the lines proposed in the [Cabinet] paper before you is appropriate or necessary." The letter suggests a "self-regulating body without the interference, perceived or otherwise, of the Government, which legislation would inevitably suggest". It is signed by: Bill Craig, then CEO of Bermuda Broadcasting Company; PLP senator and radio host Thaao Dill, programme director of Inter-Island Communications; Chris Lodge, news director at DeFontes Broadcasting Company; Tony McWilliam, editor of the Bermuda Sun; and Bill Zuill, editor of The Royal Gazette.
March 8, 2010: Dr. Brown tells the House of Assembly that legislation "developed to create an independent media council, which will promote fairness, accuracy, accountability and journalistic integrity in the content and presentation of media coverage, including news reports, comment, articles and pictures" will soon be tabled.
May 6, 2010: The Premier calls a press conference to tell the media that a bill has been drawn up to create a media council to oversee a code of practice and complaints procedure for print and broadcast operations.
May 7, 2010: The Media Council Act 2010 is tabled in the House of Assembly.
Suggested and approved in June 2010 by Bermuda's media shown below instead of a government-run entity.
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.
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:
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
Letters to the Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Local news: email@example.com
News Desk: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
|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.
|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 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 to July 30, 2014|
|Workers Voice||Reid Simmons||1971-present|
|Bermuda Now||Bryan Darby||1980-1981|
|Bermuda Times||K. Murray Brown||1987-1994|
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.
Under the Broadcasting Commissioners Act 1953. See in alphabetical order under "Bermuda Government Boards." E-mail email@example.com.
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.
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:
Bermuda Insurance Journal. See http://www.rgbdahosting.com/epubs/Bermuda-Insurance-Journal-Fall-2012/#?page=10. Covering Bermuda's most important industry.
Bermuda 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.
Bottom 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.
RG Magazine. Published by The Royal Gazette daily newspaper. A news and features oriented monthly, for locals and visitors. Free with daily newspaper.
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.
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.
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.
Ceases after October 31, 2015.
Wireless TV. Church Street, Washington Mall Phase 2. Hamilton HM 12. Phone 292-1969. Technical support 295-0154. Fax 292-1979. Many channels.AM Radio
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.
Fresh TV. Fresh Creations, Vision House, 44 Court Street, Hamilton, Bermuda HM12. Tel. (441) 295 9922, Fax (441) 295 4031.
CITV (Community Information Television). Government TV channel. Global House, 43 Church Street, Hamilton, HM 12. Phone (441) 292-5998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OnionTV. Phone (441) 292-2688 or 292-20TV.P.O. Box 1585, Hamilton, Bermuda.
ZFB TV. Bermuda Broadcasting Company Ltd. Channel 7. Affiliate of ABC, USA
ZBM TV. Bermuda Broadcasting Company Ltd. Channel 9. Affiliate of CBS, USA.
October 10, 2015.
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