The Code Of Conduct And Ethics

1.1. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Information and Freedom of  Content Creation, Publication and Expression, whether in print,  in hypertext, in audio or video are basic elements of a democracy.  The ability to produce and distribute independent content is  among the most important rights in a democratic society. 

1.2. Content Creators have important functions in that they carry  information, debate and critical commentary on current affairs.  Content Creators are particularly responsible for allowing  different and independent views to be expressed. 

1.3. Content Creators shall protect the freedom of speech, the  freedom of Content Creation and the principle of access to any  and all information that pertains to the public. They cannot yield  to any pressure from anybody who might want to prevent open  debates, the free flow of information and free access to sources.  Agreements concerning exclusive event reporting shall not  preclude independent news reporting. 

1.4. It is the right of any Content Creator to carry information on  what goes on in society and to uncover and disclose matters,  which ought to be subjected to criticism. It is a Content Creator  obligation to shed critical light on how Content Creators including  individuals, the established press, media in general and  themselves exercise their role. 

1.5. As citizens and members of a free and democratic society  Content Creators have an obligation to to protect individuals and  groups against injustices or neglect, committed by public  authorities and institutions, private concerns, or others.

  1. Integrity and Responsibility 

2.1. The Content Creator carries personal and full responsibility  for the material contained in the publication, no matter the form. 

2.2. All Content Creators must guard their own integrity and  credibility in order to be free to act independently of any persons  or groups who – for ideological, economic or other reasons – might want to exercise an influence over editorial matters. 

2.3. When accepting commissions or offices, financial support,  gifts, preferential treatment or employment that create or could  be perceived as creating conflicts of interest or bias in relation to  content creation it is the obligation of the Content Creator to  make such relations known in such a way that those who access  the content are aware of potential conflicts or biases. Be open on  matters that could influence the Content Creator’s credibility as  an independent observer. 

2.4. Reject any attempt to break down the clear distinction  between advertisements and independent, unbiased content.  Advertisements intended to imitate or exploit an editorial  product, should be turned down, as should advertisements  undermining trust in the Content Creator’s integrity and the  independence of Content Creators in general. 

2.5. Never promise editorial favours in return for advertisements.  As an Independent Content Creator all materials should be  published as a result of editorial considerations alone. See to it  that the vital distinction between independent content creation  and commercial communication is being maintained when  publishing web links. 

2.6. When sponsorship or relationships to the subject matter  affect content creation, the Content Creator is no longer an  independent observer but an active participant in the subject 

matter. This must be communicated to those that access the  content in a clear and objective manner. 

  1. Content Creator Conduct and Relations with the Sources 

3.1. The source of information must, as a rule, be identified,  unless this conflicts with source protection or consideration for a  third party. 

3.2. Be critical in the choice of sources, and make sure that the  information provided is correct. It is good press practice to aim  for diversity and relevance in the choice of sources. If anonymous  sources are used, or the publication is offered exclusivity,  especially stringent requirements must be imposed on the critical  evaluation of the sources. Particular caution should be exercised  when dealing with information from anonymous sources,  information from sources offering exclusivity, and information  provided from sources in return for payment. 

3.3. The Content Creator should always clarify the terms on which  an interview is being carried out. This also pertains to adjacent  research. 

3.4. The protection of sources is a basic principle in a free society  and is a prerequisite for the ability of the Content Creators to fulfil  their duties towards society and ensure the access to essential  information. 

3.5. Do not divulge the name of a person who has provided  information on a confidential basis, unless consent has been  explicitly given by the person concerned. 

3.6. In consideration of the sources and the independence of  Content Creators, unpublished material as a main rule should not  be divulged to third parties.

3.7. It is the duty of Content Creators to report the intended  meaning in quotes from an interview. Direct quotes must be  accurate and interpretations must be stated as such. 

3.8. Changes of a given statement should be limited to corrections  of factual errors. The intended meaning of given statements must  be communicated as intended by the source. 

3.9. Proceed tactfully in journalistic research. In particular show  consideration for people who cannot be expected to be aware of  the effect that their statements may have. Never abuse the  emotions or feeling of other people, their ignorance or their lack  of judgment. Remember that people in shock or grief are more  vulnerable than others. 

  1. Publication Rules 

4.1. Make plain what is factual information and what is comment. 

4.2. Always respect a person’s character and identity, privacy,  race, nationality and belief. Never draw attention to personal or  private aspects if they are irrelevant. 

4.3. Make sure that headlines, introductions and leads do not go  beyond what is being related in the text. 

4.4. Always reveal your source when the information is quoted  from or based on other content creators including the general  media. 

4.5. In particular avoid presumption of guilt in crime and court  reporting. Make it evident that the question of guilt, whether  relating to somebody under suspicion, reported, accused or  charged, has not been decided until the sentence has legal  efficacy. It is a part of good press conduct to report the final result  of court proceedings, which have been reported earlier.

4.6. Always consider how reports on accidents and crime may  affect the victims and next-of-kin of both victims and the accused.  Do not identify victims or missing persons unless next-of-kin have  been informed. Show consideration towards people in grief or at  times of shock. 

4.7. Be cautious in the use of names and photographs and other  clear identifiers of persons in referring to contentious or  punishable matters. Special caution should be exercised when  reporting cases at the early stage of investigation, cases  concerning young offenders and cases in which an identifying  report may place an unreasonable burden on a third party.  Identification must be founded on a legitimate need for  information. It may, for instance, be legitimate to identify  someone where there is imminent danger of assault on  defenceless individuals, in the case of serious and repeated  crimes, if the identity or social position of the subject is patently  relevant to the case being reported on, or where identification  protects the innocent from exposure to unjustified suspicion. 

4.8. Reporting on children, it is considered good press conduct to  assess the implications that media focusing could cause in each  case. This also pertains when the person in charge or parent, has  agreed to exposure. As a general rule the identity of children  should not be disclosed in reports on family disputes or cases  under consideration by the childcare authorities or by the courts. 

4.9. When using photos, graphics, illustrations, video, audio or  any other type of content always credit the original creator. 

4.10. Exercise caution when using photos in any other context  than the original. 

4.11. Protect the credibility of the journalistic photograph. Photos  used as documentation must not be altered in a way that creates a 

false impression. Manipulated photos can only be accepted as  illustrations if it is evident that it in actual fact is a picture collage. 

4.12. The use of pictures must comply with the same requirements  of caution as for a written or oral presentation. 

4.13. Incorrect information must be corrected and, when called  for, an apology given, as soon as possible. 

4.14. Those who have been subjected to strong accusations shall, if  possible, have the opportunity to simultaneous reply as regards  factual information. Debates, criticism and dissemination of news  must not be hampered by parties being unwilling to make  comments or take part in the debate. 

4.15. Those who have been the subject of an attack shall have the  chance to reply at the earliest opportunity, unless the attack and  criticism are part of a running exchange of views. Any reply  should be of reasonable length, be pertinent to the matter and  seemly in its form. The reply can be refused if the party in  question has rejected, without an objective reason, an offer of  presenting a contemporaneous rejoinder on the same issue.  Replies and contributions to the debate should not be  accompanied by polemic editorial comment. 

4.16. Beware that digital publication pointers and links could  bring you to other electronic media that do not comply with the  Ethical Code. See to it that links to other media or publications  are clearly marked. It is considered good press conduct to inform  the users of interactive services on how the publication registers  you, and possibly exploits your use of the services.