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ACFID releases new guidance on ethical decision-making frameworks for communications

Jun 28, 2019 | ACFID News

ACFID has released new guidance to help current and aspiring members develop an ethical decision-making framework for communications. The guidance is available free via the online Good Practice Toolkit and can be downloaded as a PDF.

ACFID members are required to have an ethical decision-making framework (EDMF) for communications under commitments 6.2 and 8.1 in the ACFID Code of Conduct. Its purpose is to help organisations make decisions about the images, messages and stories used in its public materials. An EDMF outlines which key ethical issues should be considered and when, who should be involved in the decision-making and what to do if a decision can’t be reached immediately.

Speaking about the new guidance ACFID’s Director of Effectiveness and Engagement, Jocelyn Condon, said:

“The release of this guidance is an important milestone in a journey of workshops and conversations ACFID has taken with our members over many years around the use of images and messages, including in the revision of our sector’s Code. ACFID’s members are acutely aware of the impact of their public communications content and this guidance aims to help them ensure their decision-making processes are ethical and consistent.”

Included in the guidance is a wealth of information on EDMFs and steps for organisations to follow when developing their own. It also contains example content that organisations can adapt to suit their operations. In reflecting on the process of developing the guidance, communications consultant, Jill Farrar, said:

“Ethics has always been important for iNGOs, particularly in the area of communications. However, in recent years, marketing and communications staff have found their jobs becoming further complicated due to rapid developments in smartphone technology, mobile internet and social media. More stories are being produced and there are more channels to manage – and once a story is published, it’s out there for good.

“I hope the new EDMF guidance helps iNGOs to widen their knowledge of ethical dilemmas and ethical ‘grey areas’ related to communications and create ways to explore and address them. Ultimately, it should make it easier for iNGOs to take strong, swift decisions, with the confidence they’re protecting, respecting and empowering the people affected by the stories they publish.”

To find out more, explore the guidance in the Good Practice Toolkit .

If you have any questions or feedback please contact the Code team at [email protected]. We are also interested in hearing from members who are using the guidance to develop or review their EDMF.